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Young Roger
(Laws P8; Roud 680)
Ollie Conway
Mullagh

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Ollie Conway and JJ Lenihan

Young Roger the miller came courting of late
A farmer’s young daughter called beautiful Kate.
She had for her fortune many fine things;
She had for her fortune gold, diamonds and rings;
She had for her fortune a neat plot of ground;
She had for her fortune, she had for her fortune, five hundred pounds.

The money and supper were both laid down,
It was a grand sight to see five hundred pounds.
The sight of the money and beauty likewise,
Tickled his fancy and dazzled his eyes.
Saying, ‘Now that your daughter and money are great,
‘Tis now I won’t have her, ‘tis now I won’t have her without the grey mare.

The money and supper were taken out of sight.
Likewise Katy’s own heart’s delight.
Young Roger was taken and kicked out the door,
Ordered not to come there any more.
‘Twas then he did tear his long yellow hair
Saying , ‘I wish had never, I wish I had never spoke of the grey mare.’

Six months later it happened to pass
That Roger the miller met his own lass.
‘I think I don’t know you madam’, said he.
‘I’m the same way with you, kind sir,’ said she.
‘A man of your complexion with long yellow hair,
Once came a-courting, once came a-courting my father’s grey mare.’

‘‘Twasn’t a-courting the grey mare I came,
But you my jewel called Katy by name.’
‘Thinking my father would never dispute
In giving the grey mare to you to boot.’
‘Oh to think that he’d loose such a beautiful son,
‘Tis now I am sorry, ‘tis now I am sorry for what I have done.’

‘Now for your sorrow I’ve little regard.
There are plenty fine men in this town to be had.
If you got the grey mare you’d be married to me,
Now you have neither the grey mare or me.
The price of the grey mare was ever so great,
So fare thee well Roger, fare thee well Roger, ‘tis a mournful case.’

“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

Young Roger sung by Micho Murrihy


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