Reaphook and Sickle

Leggi in italiano

The time of the wheat harvest varies according to the latitudes: in the South as for example in southern Italy it starts to harvest already in June, while in Piedmont in July and in the Northern countries as for the Islands of Great Britain, in August.
Once the harvest season could last about a month with the laborers that moved on foot, from farm to farm with tools for their work on their shoulders and a little bundle with their few things: they went in groups for little family, men and women, and for many girls that was the occasion to make new friends and maybe find the lover.

George Hemming Mason - The Harvest Moon

Harvest songs are common throughout Europe and are mostly religious-ritualistic, but the songs have disappeared because with the mechanization (and the chemistry) of agriculture the peasant world has thinned out: today in the countryside it is no longer sung!

JOLLY COUNTRY

The song of the harvest I have chosen today, titled “Reaphook and Sickle“, comes from the English tradition: it is a “jolly” song that paints in exciting tones and describes what was actually a hard work as if it were a dance tour. Other times and resources, other mentality, but in my opinion it is important to restore dignity to the work of the earth, as a true vocation, in which one lives in close contact with nature and its times.

coltivazione sinergicaNo longer isolated and bounded in its own field as in the past, taking advantage of traditional methods or natural “philosophies” such as what is now called synergistic agriculture, that anyone with a little land available can experiment to make a synergetic vegetable garden ( it seems a paradox of terms to talk about natural agriculture but it works great) .. and find a bit of “jollyness” ..

Eliza Carthy from Holy Heathens and the Old Green Man 2007


I
Come you lads and lasses,
together we will go
All in the golden cornfield
our courage for to show.
With the reaping hook and sickle
so well we clear the land,
And the farmer says,
“Hoorah, me boys,
here’s liquor at your command.”
II
It’s in the time of haying
our partners we do take,
Along with lads and lasses
the hay timing to make.
There’s joining round in harmony
and roundness to be seen,
And when it’s gone
we’ll take your girls
to dance Jack on the green(1).
III
It’s in the time of harvest
so cheerfully we’ll go,
Then some we’ll reap
and some we’ll sickle
and some we’ll size to mow.
But now at end
we’re free for home,
we haven’t far to go,
We’re on our way to Robin Hood’s Bay (2) to welcome harvest home.
IV
Now harvest’s done and ended
and the corn all safe from harm,
And all that’s left to do, me boys,
is thresh it in the barn.
Here’s a health to all the farmers, likewise the women and men,
And we wish you health and happiness till harvest comes again.
NOTES
1)
Jack in the Green was a popular mask of the English May, from the Middle Ages and until the Victorian era, which fell into disuse at the end of the nineteenth century.
2) Robin Hood’s Bay is a county in North Yorkshire, England.

 

Albion Country Band from Battle of the Field 1976

I
Now come all you lads and lasses
and together let us go
Into some pleasant cornfield
our courage for to show.
CHORUS
With the good old leathern bottle

and the beer it shall be brown.
We’ll reap and scrape together
until Bright Phoebus does go down.
II
With the reaphook and the sickle,
oh so well we clear the land,
And the farmer cries,
“Well done, my lads,
here’s liquor at your command.”
III
Now by daybreak in the morning
when the larks begin to sing
And the echo of the harmony
make all the crows to ring
IV
Then in comes lovely Nancy
the corn all for to lay,
She is a charming creature
and I must begin her praise:
For she gathers it, she binds it,
and she rolls it in her arms,
She carries it to the waggoners
to fill the farmer’s barns.
V
Well now harvest’s done and ended
and the corn secure from harm,
Before it goes to market, lads,
we must thresh it in the barn.
VI
Now here’s a health to all you farmers
and likewise to all you men,
I wish you health and happiness
till harvest comes again.

LINK
https://mainlynorfolk.info/guvnor/songs/reaphookandsickle.html

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