O, who will shoe your pretty little foot, when I am gone away? Who will spread their cloak over mud puddles deep, so that you may safely tread? And who will wipe your tears from your fair maiden face, when I am many a league away?
Who, with garlands and boughs in tow, shall adorn your maypole so tall? And who, with scythe so sharp, shall trim our cottage green?
But I must to horse, to join the Queen's noble few. Weep not when I go off to soldiery, but remember me always as thine. Yet I worry still, what will become of my maiden fair?
For who will shoe your pretty little foot, when I am gone away? Let it be not Philip of Exeter, for he a rogue and sirrah be. And God forbid, Sir Walter of Pumsbury, with his comfects and airs.
Who will fix the thatch on our roof, in the place where it is bare? And the chimney needs cleaning, for the hearth is as black as night. A chimney-sweep you must hire then, from the village he must come. But he had best not shoe your pretty little foot, when I am gone away.
And remember, O lady fair, to write me much, to pick up the quill every day. For methinks of you every hour, and I wish to know your ways.
Only your maid-in-waiting may adjust your farthingale, and dress your hair so nice. And eschew the raggle-taggle gypsies and their merrymaking ways, when to your door they come. Do not give them pipkins, and lock up my mead, then they shall go away.
And if I hear of any minnesingers within a league of our home, them with my broadsword I shall clout.
Dear lady, I apologize much. With me be not cross. I am under a hogshead of stress, what with the battle approaching, and the winter wheat not yet sown.
Perhaps if you were to shoe your own pretty little foot, it would a way out of this be. Or perhaps you could keep your shoes on, all night and all day long. Then no one else may shoe your pretty little foot, while I am gone away.
But that implies I cannot serve and provide for my mistress true. So do not shoe your pretty little foot. Perhaps I could ask Tarquin, the village eunuch, if he would do the deed.
You see, dear mistress, how very vexed I am with this. How my collar does sag, and my doublet is worn and my codpiece out of place. For who will shoe your pretty little foot, when I am gone away? Bring forth my pipe and bowl, and pour me a goblet of sack, so that I may ponder this further.