Rolling in the Dew
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


Information
Lyrics
Cecil Sharp collected this from a book of nursery rhymes by J. O. Halliwell (1842). He noted, but had not verified, that there was a version with "strawberry leaves" rather than "dabbling in the dew" that makes milkmaids fair in a 1719 edition of Mother Goose Melodies for Children. The tune was popular throughout England.

There is another version, with slight melody variations and with more "proper" lyrics - Dabbling in the Dew.

The theme of the song dates back to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Variants and alternate titles include Where are you going to, my pretty maid?, Kind Hearted Nancy, Roving in the Dew and The Milkmaid's Song.

O where are you going,
my sweet and pretty fair maid?
With your red rosy cheeks
and your curly black hair?

O I'm a-going a-milking,
kind sir, she answered me
For it's rolling in the dew
Makes the milkmaids so fair.


O shall I go along with you,
my sweet and pretty fair maid?
With your red rosy cheeks
and your curly black hair?

Why surely you can please yourself,
kind sir, she answered me
For it's rolling in the dew
makes the milkmaids so fair.


Supposing I should lay you down,
my sweet and pretty fair maid?
With your red rosy cheeks
and your curly black hair?

Then you'd have to pick me up again
kind sir, she answered me
For it's rolling in the dew
makes the milkmaids so fair.


Supposing I should dirt your gown
my sweet and pretty fair maid?
With your red rosy cheeks
and your curly black hair?

Why surely it would wash again
kind sir, she answered me
For it's rolling in the dew
makes the milkmaids so fair.


Supposing you should be with child,
my sweet and pretty fair maid?
With your red rosy cheeks
and your curly black hair?

Then you would be the father of it
kind sir, she answered me
For it's rolling in the dew
makes the milkmaids so fair.


What would you do for linen,
my sweet and pretty fair maid?
With your red rosy cheeks
and your curly black hair?

My father he's a linen-draper,
kind sir, she answered me
For it's rolling in the dew
makes the milkmaids so fair.


What would you do for a cradle
my sweet and pretty fair maid?
With your red rosy cheeks
and your curly black hair?

Why my brother he's a basket maker,
kind sir, she answered me
For it's rolling in the dew
makes the milkmaids so fair.


Supposing I should go to sea,
my sweet and pretty fair maid?
With your red rosy cheeks
and your curly black hair?

Then I would follow after you
kind sir, she answered me
For it's rolling in the dew
makes the milkmaids so fair.


Supposing I sould jump overboard
my sweet and pretty fair maid?
With your red rosy cheeks
and your curly black hair?

Then the devil would jump after you
kind sir, she answered me
For it's rolling in the dew
makes the milkmaids so fair.


From Folksongs of Britain and Ireland
See Bibliography for full information.