> Folk Music > Songs > Grey Goose and Gander

Grey Goose and Gander

[ Roud 1094 ; Ballad Index KiTu071 ; Mudcat 57507 ; trad.]

Mary &Nigel Hudleston: Songs of the Ridings Frank Kidson: Traditional Tunes

Folly Bridge sang The Grey Goose and the Gander in 1991 on their WildGoose cassette All in the Same Tune. Claire Lloyd noted:

A nonsense song from the North of England, and the source of the name of the first Folly Bridge recording. Frank Kidson included it in his 1891 collection and commented:

Many years ago, this used to be a favourite song round about Leeds, though a very silly one. It must claim the indulgence of the reader more upon the merit of the air than that of the words. Before railways and cheap trips acted like general diffusers of London music hall songs, such like ditties in country districts were common in the kitchens of quiet public houses, and were in general the exclusive copyright of the old fogies who gathered there. The air is from an old manuscript collection of airs in my possession. It appeared in a series of articles upon old tunes contributed by me to the Leeds Mercury Weekly Supplement; otherwise, it has not been in print so far as I am aware. I need scarcely say that this delightful production would be sung only after a certain degree of conviviality had been reached.

Former Witch of Elswick, Fay Hield learned Grey Goose and Gander from Mary and Nigel Hudleston's book Songs of the Ridings: The Yorkshire Musical Museum; they collected it from Bert Dobson of Todmorden. Fay sang it in 2010 on her first solo CD, Looking Glass. She and her partner Jon Boden also sang it as the 25 November 2010 entry of Jon's project A Folk Song a Day.

Doug Eunson and Sarah Matthews sang The Grey Goose and the Gander in 2016 on their CD Song and Laughter. They noted:

New words to this traditional nonsense song written for Doug's Grandfather's 100th birthday in June 2014.

Bryony Griffith and Alice Jones sang The Grey Goose and Gander, with a different chorus than that of Folly Bridge and Fay Hield, in 2022 on their album of Yorkshire songs, A Year Too Late and a Month Too Soon. They noted:

First learnt from Hudieston's Songs of the Ridings, collected from Bert Dobson of Todmorden on the Yorkshire/Lancashire border. It also appears in Frank Kidson's Traditional Tunes where he comments: “I need scarcely say that this delightful production would be sung only after a certain stage of conviviality had been reached”! But this tune and the beery chorus come from another version in Kidson's English Peasant Songs. Bryony found the verse about the shepherd on a Mudcat Café post citing coracle maker Peter Faulkner from Shropshire as the source. She managed to get in touch with him and discovered that he had written that verse and another about a waggoner that we weren't aware of at the time of recording. (“For the storm said the waggoner, I care not one jot, when I’m up on my wagon all snug in my smock”). Peter learnt the Bert Dobson version from his friend Fred Hamer's 1973 book Green Groves but thought it a shame there were so few verses, so wrote the extra ones Apologies to Peter as the folk process has already altered his original lyrics from “he would not swap his lot” to “he would not change his life”! Apologies also to any vegetarians for the rabbit verse.

Lyrics

Folly Bridge sing The Grey Goose and the Gander

Oh the grey goose and the gander went over yonder hill,
And the grey goose went barefoot for fear of being seen.
For fear of being seen, my boys, by the light of the moon,
𝄆 Rise early tomorrow morning all in the same tune. 𝄇

Well the gentlemen took the ladies their hounds for to view;
Said the gentlemen to the ladies, well how do you do?
Well how do you do, my boys, by the light of the moon,
𝄆 Rise early tomorrow morning all in the same tune. 𝄇

Well the landlord got drunk and his reckoning forgot
So we pulled down his signpost and smashed all his pots.
We smashed all his pots, my boys, by the light of the moon,
𝄆 Rise early tomorrow morning all in the same tune. 𝄇

(repeat first verse)

Fay Hield sings Grey Goose and Gander

The grey goose and gander went over yon hill,
The grey goose went barefoot for fear of being seen.
For fear of being seen, my boys, by the light of the moon,
𝄆 Rise early tomorrow morning all in the same tune. 𝄇

The blacksmith is black but his money is white,
And he drinks in the alehouse from morning till night.
From morning till night, my boys, by the light of the moon,
𝄆 Rise early tomorrow morning all in the same tune. 𝄇

Our landlord got drunk and his reckoning forgot
So we pulled down his signpost and broke all his pots.
We broke all his pots, my boys, by the light of the moon,
𝄆 Rise early tomorrow morning all in the same tune. 𝄇

The shepherd is happy abroad on his down,
He would not change his life for a sceptre and crown.
A sceptre and crown, my boys, by the light of the moon,
𝄆 Rise early tomorrow morning all in the same tune. 𝄇

The gentlemen took the ladies the hounds for to view,
The gentlemen to the ladies said, how do you do?
Said, how do you do?, my boys, by the light of the moon,
𝄆 Rise early tomorrow morning all in the same tune. 𝄇

(repeat first verse)

Doug Eunson and Sarah Matthews sing The Grey Goose and the Gander

The grey goose and the gander came over the green,
And the grey goose went barefoot for fear of being seen.
For fear of being seen, my boys, by the light of the moon,
𝄆 Rise early tomorrow morning all in the same tune. 𝄇

The Archduke and the Duchess unaware of their plight,
What interesting times for that goose to take flight.
For that goose to take flight, my boys, by the light of the moon,
𝄆 Rise early tomorrow morning all in the same tune. 𝄇

The grey goose went a-wandering the world for to see,
And he'll sing you a song in a language or three.
In a language or three, my boys, by the light of the moon,
𝄆 Rise early tomorrow morning all in the same tune. 𝄇

Well, the grey goose and the gander to England drew nigh,
And a cottage with pear trees gave this goose his rye.
Gave this goose his rye, my boys, by the light of the moon,
𝄆 Rise early tomorrow morning all in the same tune. 𝄇

Well, we'll all charge our glasses in a toast of good cheer,
And we'll wish you good health for the next hundred years.
For the next hundred years, my boys, by the light of the moon,
𝄆 Rise early tomorrow morning all in the same tune. 𝄇

(repeat first verse)

Bryony Griffith and Alice Jones sing The Grey Goose and Gander

The grey goose and gander went over yon hill,
The grey goose went barefoot for fear of being seen.

Chorus (after each verse):
So let's have more beer in, the ale it is new,
And you'll drink to me, lads, and I'll drink to you.

The blacksmith is black but his money is white,
And he sits in the alehouse from morning till night.

The landlord got drunk and his reckoning forgot
So we pulled down his signpost and we broke all his pots.

The gentlemen took the ladies the hounds for to view,
The gentlemen to the ladies said, how do you do?

The shepherd is happy abroad on the downs,
He would not change his life for a sceptre or crown.

I once had a rabbit, it were blind in one eye,
But I've not got it now lads, it were baked in a pie.

This song is all nonsense, I'm sure you'll agree,
But what does it matter to you or to me?