“The Shepherd's Lament”


A (shepherd) and a young girl meet on a May morning. He wishes to marry, but she is too young and wishes to work as a servant. After she has left to go into the lady's service, he writes to ask her intent. She says that she never intended to marry him


This song consists almost entirely of floating material, with "The Green Bushes" being perhaps the largest single source (they also have some thematic similarities). But the result, in Huntington's opinion and my own, is a distinct song.

I don't know of any other pure versions, but it has so many traditional elements that I decided to include it in the Index. - RBW

Cross references

  • cf. "The Green Bushes [Laws P2]" (theme, floating lyrics)


  1. Huntington-Whalemen, pp. 227-228, "The Shepherd's Lament" (1 text)
  2. BI, SWMS227


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1767 (Journal from the Vaughn)