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Young Roger
(Laws P8; Roud 680)
Micho Murrihy
Mount Scott, Mullagh
Recorded in singer’s home, July 1979

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

[Young Roger the miller came courting of late]
A rich farmer’s daughter had a beautiful place.
She had to her portion gold diamonds and rings,
She had to her portion a good many fine things,
She had to her portion a neat spot of ground,
She had to her portion, she had to her portion, five hundred pounds.

When then her and money were both laid down
It was a great sight to see five hundred pounds.
The sight of the money and beauty likewise,
It tickled his fancy and dazzled his eyes.
Saying, ‘I own I won’t have you that’s handsome and fair.
But I own I won’t have her without the grey mare.’

So Roger was taken and kicked out the door,
And then he was ordered to come there no more.
In a year or two after as it came to pass,
Now Roger he met with this very same lass.
‘I think I do know you my jewel,’ said he.
‘I am the same way with you kind sir,’ said she,
‘‘Twas a man of your complexion with long yellow hair,
That once came a-courting, that once came a-courting my father’s grey mare.’

‘It was not a-courting the grey mare I came,
But you my dear jewel, called Katy by name.
Thinking your father would never dispute,
In giving his daughter a grey mare to boot.
Before he would lose such a dutiful son.
But ‘tis now I am sorry, ‘tis now I am sorry, for what I have done.’

‘Oh as for your sorrow I’ve little regard;
There’s many a man in this town to be had.
If you got the grey mare you would marry me,
But now you have neither, the grey mare nor me.
The price of the grey mare was never so great;
So fare-thee-well Roger, so fare-thee-well Roger, no mourn for Kate.’


“This tale of an argument over the details of a marriage dowry settlement almost certainly originated in England where it appeared on broadsides there under titles such as ‘Young Roger Esquire’ and ‘The Farmer’s Grey Mare’ at the beginning of the 19th century, though it was seldom found in the oral tradition there. Clare seems to have been the only place in Ireland to have had it, with the exception of one version housed at the ‘Ulster Folk and Transport Museum’ in County Down. English versions have a sting in the tail with a final verse telling how the rejected suitor gets his revenge by telling his once intended that she is the loser because he is far richer that her father anyway.”
Jim Carroll

See also:
Young Roger sung by Ollie Conway


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