> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > The Soldier and the Maid
> Louis Killen > Songs > One May Morning
> Steeleye Span > Songs > Seventeen Come Sunday
> Waterson:Carthy > Songs > Seventeen Come Sunday

Seventeen Come Sunday / As I Roved Out / One May Morning /
The Soldier and the Maid

[ Roud 277 ; Laws O17 ; G/D 4:791 ; Henry H152 , H793 ; Ballad Index LO17 ; VWML PG/2/49 ; Bodleian Roud 277 ; GlosTrad Roud 277 ; Wiltshire 454 ; Mudcat 151629 ; trad.]

Sabine Baring-Gould, H. Fleetwood Sheppard: Songs of the West Norman Buchan and Peter Hall: The Scottish Folksinger Bob Copper: Early to Rise Karl Dallas: The Cruel Wars Paul & Liz Davenport: Down Yorkshire Lanes Inglis Gundry: Canow Kernow Gale Huntington: Sam Henry's Songs of the People William Henry Long: A Dictionary of the Isle of Wight Dialect Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger: Travellers' Songs from England and Scotland John Morrish: The Folk Handbook Patrick O'Shaughnessy: Twenty-One Lincolnshire Folk Songs Bob and Jacqueline Patten: A Somerset Scrapbook Roy Palmer: Everyman's Book of English Country Songs Frank Purslow: The Wanton Seed James Reeves: The Idiom of the People Steve Roud, Julia Bishop: The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs Cecil Sharp: One Hundred English Folksongs

Seamus Ennis sang As I Roved Out on 30 August 1947 in the BBC recording 12488. It was included in the anthology Songs of Courtship (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 1; Caedmon 1961; Topic 1968). and in 1995 on the Saydisc anthology Traditional Songs of Ireland.

Sarah Makem sang As I Roved Out (Seventeen on Sunday), in a recording made by Diane Hamilton in 1956, on her 2011 Musical Traditions anthology As I Roved Out, and on her 2012 Topic anthology The Heart Is True (The Voice of the People Volume 24). The MT anthology also has a recording of her cousin Annie Jane Kelly made by Peter Kennedy and Sean O'Boyle on 11 July 1952, and Rod Stradling noted:

A very popular song with 296 instances in Roud's Folksong Index from all over the British Isles, USA, Canada and Australia; there are 25 from Ireland. It appears with numerous titles, among the most appealing of which is Flash Gals and Airy, Too—used by both Win Ryan and Caroline Hughes. Obviously it has remained a favourite with country singers, and particularly Travellers, into the present era, since there are 59 sound recordings.

Beyond singing at local dances in her youth, Sarah Makem never became a public performer, but she came to the attention of a wide audience in 1950 when she sang the introductory song As I Roved Out to the radio programme of the same name. For some reason, she sang only the first two verses of the song to Peter Kennedy when he recorded it, and it has passed into the annals that this was all she knew. Fortunately, her great-grand-daughter, Stéphanie Makem, was able to supply me with transcriptions of many of Sarah's songs, including this one, and so we find that she actually had a very full version, with a further eight verses. Tommy Makem added the last verse.

Fred Jordan sang The Field of Barley in a recording made by Peter Kennedy on 30 October 1952 (BBC recording 18696). It was included in 2003 on his Veteran anthology A Shropshire Lad.

Harry Cox of Catfield, Norfolk, sang Seventeen Come Sunday to Alan Lomax on 2 December 1953. Another recording made by Peter Kennedy on 19 July 1956 (BBC recording 22915) was included in 1965 on his EFDSS album Traditional English Love Songs.

Ewan MacColl sang As I Went Out One May Morning on the 1955 first album on the Topic label, the untitled album TRL1.

A.L. Lloyd sang The Soldier and the Maid in 1956 on his Tradition album The Foggy Dew and Other Traditional English Love Songs. He commented in the liner notes:

The encounter of the licentious soldier with the obliging young girl was an old story when Roman troops patrolled the great wall between England and Scotland. For newer versions, listen to the gossip around any army camp, any day, anywhere. Of the many ballads in the family of The Trooper and the Maid, this is perhaps the best. The song glides along the razor-edge between merriment and cruelty and maybe that has commended it to the imagination of many singers. This is another of those ballads which words are usually “cleansed” in print.

Tony Wales sang Seventeen Come Sunday on his 1957 Folkways album Sussex Folk Songs and Ballads.

Bill Smith from Shropshire sang Seventeen Come Sunday, in two recordings made in 1958 and in 1980, on his 2011 Musical Traditions anthology, A Country Life.

Joe Heaney sang As I Roved Out in 1964 in a recording made by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger. This was included in 2000 on his Topic 2 CD anthology The Road from Connemara.

Louis Killen sang One May Morning in 1965 on his Topic album Ballads & Broadsides. Angela Carter commented in the sleeve notes:

In the eternal springtime of English love songs a girl tries to fend off the advances of an importunate young fellow man by telling him that she is too young; but he proves to her the truth of the old saying, “when they're big enough, they're old enough.” Told from the point of view of the girl who, as in one American version, later brings forth a little baby boy after the statutory nine months—“and me not fifteen years of age”, the song can be intolerably poignant; most versions, though, are emphatically masculine as this bawdy guffaw. Hammond collected this treatment of a widespread theme in Dorset in the early years of the century, but it was deemed sufficiently indelicate to bring a blush to Edwardian cheeks and was duly doctored for publication. This is how Hammond heard it first of all.

Queen Caroline Hughes sang Flash Girls and Airy to Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger and Charles Parker in 1963 or 1966. This recording was included in 2014 on her Musical Traditions anthology Sheep-Crook and Black Dog. Another recording, made by Peter Kennedy in her caravan near Blandford, Dorset, on 19 April 1968, was included in 2012 on the Topic anthology of songs by Southern English Gypsy traditional singers, I'm a Romany Rai (The Voice of the People Volume 22).

Paul McNeill sang Sixteen Come Monday Morning in 1966 on his Decca album Traditionally at The Troubadour.

Norman Kennedy sang Wi My Rovin Eye (Sixteen Come Sunday) on his 1968 album Ballads & Songs of Scotland (Folkways) / Scots Songs and Ballads (Topic). This track was also included in 2009 on Topic's 70th anniversary anthology, Three Score and Ten.

Bob Hart sang Seventeen Come Sunday to Rod and Danny Stradling at home in Snape, Suffolk in July 1969. This recording was released in 2007 on his Musical Traditions anthology A Broadside. A later recording by Tony Engle from September 1973 was released in 1974 on the Topic album Flash Company. It was also included in 1998 on the Topic anthology Who's That at My Bed Window? (The Voice of the People Volume 10).

The Broadside from Grimsby sang Seventeen Come Sunday on their 1973 Topic album of songs and ballads collected in Lincolnshire, The Moon Shone Bright. Nine of the fourteen songs on this album were collected by Percy Grainger in 1905 and 1906, amongst them this one. The Broadside commented in their liner notes:

Seventeen Come Sunday, from Fred Atkinson of Redbourne, [9 September] 1905. A fine sturdy Dorian tune to one of the most widely-known sets of words. When Grainger published this song in 1912 he had to omit the seventh stanza.

Planxty sang this song under the generic title As I Roved Out in 1973 on their LP The Well Below the Valley. Their sleeve notes commented:

Although the next song has the same title as one on the first side, the resemblance ends there—it is a completely different song. This version was learned from Andy Rynne of Prosperous, Co. Kildare.

Jumbo Brightwell sang Seventeen Come Sunday in a recording made by Keith Summers in 1971-77 on the Veteran anthology of traditional folk songs, music hall songs, and tunes from Suffolk, Good Hearted Fellows. Mike Yates commented in the liner notes:

When the poet James Reeves included a text of Seventeen Come Sunday in the book The Idiom of the People (1958) he added the note, “The original of this song, whatever it was, shocked all other editors, from the eighteenth century onwards.” Reeves' text came from Cecil Sharp's manuscript and includes a verse that Sharp omitted when he printed the song in his English Folk Songs, Selected Edition, 1921, Volume 1:

I went unto her mammy's house, When the moon was shining clearly,
She did come down and let me in, And I laid in her arms till morning.

Clearly, such goings on were not to be encouraged! As Reeves said, the song was first encountered in the eighteenth century when Robert Burns found a set being sung by a girl in Nithsdale. Burns forwarded a slightly rewritten text to James Johnson, who included it in his The Scots Musical Museum (Edinburgh, 1787, 6 volumes) under the title A Waukrife Minnie (A Lightly-sleeping Mother). Broadside texts, from the 1820's or earlier, were printed in London by Pitts and Jennings and dozens of versions of the song have been collected throughout the English-speaking world. Cecil Sharp alone collected 22 versions of the song in southern England and there are 14 Scottish versions in the Greig/Duncan collection.

Mary Delaney from Co Tipperary sang New Ross Town in a recording made by Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie in between 1973 and 1985. It was included in 1986 on the EFDSS cassette of songs of Irish Travellers in England, Early in the Month of Spring, and in 2003 on the extended Musical Traditions anthology From Puck to Appleby.

Tommy Dempsey sang As I Roved Out in 1976 on his and John Swift's Trailer album Green Grow the Laurel.

John Goodluck sang Seventeen Come Sunday in 1977 on his Traditional Sound album Monday's Childe.

Ossian sang Ma Rovin Eye in 1977 on their eponymous Springthyme album Ossian. They noted:

In one form or another this song is still widely popular—in Ireland as As I Roved Out, in England as Seventeen Come Sunday. This version is from the North East of Scotland.

Steeleye Span—then including Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick— recorded Seventeen Come Sunday in 1977 for their tenth album, Storm Force Ten. And John Kirkpatrick played it again in concerts with the John Kirkpatrick Band that were released a year later on their live album Force of Habit. He commented in the liner notes:

Based on the version sung by the traditional Suffolk singer Bob Hart on the 1974 Topic LP Flash Company. I brought this song to the table when I was in Steeleye Span, and you can hear what we made of it on their 1977 recording Storm Force Ten. I was prompted to pair it with the dance tune, I think, because a couple of notes were the same as the song in one bar. The tune is called Johnny Get Your Hair Cut, and was included in The English Folk Dance & Song Society's Community Dance Manual No 6, first published in 1964. It's not very clear where the tune comes from, but we can be pretty sure it's American. There's a third part that we don't play. The riff is Martin Carthy's, and in Steeleye's version we ended it rather moodily with a long minor chord. Here we make it much snappier.

Walter Pardon sang Seventeen Come Sunday, very probably in a recording made by Mike Yates on 2 August 1978, on his 2000 Musical Traditions anthology Put a Bit of Powder on It, Father.

78-year old Charlotte Renals sang Seventeen Come Sunday in a 1978 recording by Pete Coe that was included in 2003 on the Orchard family's Veteran anthology of songs from Cornish Travellers, Catch Me If You Can. And Jean Orchard sang it on the 2005 Veteran CD Holsworthy Fair.

Isla St Clair sang Wi My Rovin Eye on her BBC Radio 2 series Tatties & Herrin', transmitted in 1995. This recording was included in 1997 on one of her accompanying Greentrax CDs, Tatties & Herrin': The Land.

Sheena Wellington sang A Waukrife Minnie in a concert at Nitten (Newtongrange) Folk Club, Scotland, that was published in 1995 on her Greentrax CD Strong Women. She commented in her liner notes:

Burns contributed this night-visiting to The Scots Musical Museum vol 3 with the note “I pickt up this old song and tune from a country girl in Nithsdale. I never met with it elsewhere in Scotland.” The girl, as usual, suffers for the encounter.

Eliza Carthy sang Seventeen Come Sunday in an Andy Kershaw radio session on 3 March 1996 that was included in 2020 on her CD Live to Air.

John Kirkpatrick sang Seventeen Come Sunday in 1996 on his Fledg'ling CD Force of Habit.

Rod Paterson sang Waukrife Minnie in 1996 on his Greentrax album of Robert Burns songs, Songs from the Bottom Drawer.

Pete Coe sang As I Roved Out on his 1997 album Long Company.

Fairport Convention sang Seventeen Come Sunday as a bonus track of their 1998 album The Cropredy Box. They also sang it in 1998 on Ken Russell's BBC Channel 4 broadcast tome, which was released on video in 2007.

John Roberts and Tony Barrand recorded Seventeen Come Sunday in 1998 for their album of English folksongs collected by Percy Grainger, Heartoutbursts. They commented:

Common as a broadside as well as in aural tradition, the “amorous encounter” song was more popular with singers than with collectors, who often considered such lyrics unfit or unworthy of publication. This one became well known to Grainger aficionados through his 1912 chorus arrangement. It comes from Mr. Fred Atkinson of Redbourne, 1905.

Jim Moray sang As I Roved Out in 2001 on his first EP, I Am Jim Moray.

Jim Reid sang Ma Rollin' Eye on his 2001 CD Emfae Dundee.

Waterson:Carthy recorded the two tunes Balancy Straw and Whitefriar's Hornpipe, with the song Seventeen Come Sunday in between, for their 2002 album, A Dark Light. Martin Carthy noted:

Balancy Straw is a Morris tune from quite a few places including Ascot under Wychwood and Bledington which Liza found in the Journals of the EFDSS, and chose to play more as a reel or a quick hornpipe, and it was Tim who introduces us to Whitefriar's Hornpipe, one of those crooked tunes gracing the repertoire of John Kirkpatrick, whence he learned it. Seventeen Come Sunday is pretty much the standard way with the song but set by Tim to a Cornish tune and with the alternative ending chosen because of Tim's predilection for Rum. Lots of it.

Tony Cuffe sang The Bonny Lassie on his posthumous 2003 Greentrax album Sae Will We Yet.

Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer sang The Trooper and the Maid in 2005 on their WildGoose album Scatter Pipes. They noted:

Boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy and girl do boy and girl things together, boy has to go and fight a war. What happens next we can only guess, but it would be nice if boy came back and they lived happily ever after.

Stanley Robertson sang Far Are Ye Gan? on his 2006 Elphinstone Institute album Rum Scum Scoosh!.

Kate O'Cualain sang As I Roved Out on Ron Kavana and Friends' 2011 album 40 Favourite Folk Songs.

Ciarán Boyle sang The Night Visit (As I Roved Out) in 2012 on his Hallamshire Traditions CD Bright Flame. He noted:

I am not sure where i first heard this song. It is popular in different versions all over Britain and Ireland. I was certainly influenced by Christy Moore's version however, and I took it; put a Bodhrán Hand Struck part to it and it often proved popular at gatherings, especially after a pint or two as I recall.

The Teacups sang As I Roved Out in 2013 on their Haystack album One for the Pot.

Bob Askew sang Seventeen Come Sunday in 2014 on Amsher's CD of songs collected by George Gardiner, Amsher Sings Hampshire Songs.

The Hungarian group Simply English sang Seventeen Come Sunday on their 2017 CD Long Grey Beard and a Head That’s Bald.

Hector Gilchrist sang A Waulkrife Minnie in 2018 on his WildGoose CD Gleanings. He noted:

A lively tale of a young man clandestinely “night visiting” a young lassie but being caught out by her minnie (mother) who wakened early (waulkrife) disturbed by the dawn crowing of the farmyard cock. The girl duly received her punishment, and as usual the lad gets away Scot free!
Carol [Anderson] plays the fiddle tune Drummond Castle at the end.

Varo (Lucie Azconaga and Consuelo Nerea Breschi) sang As I Roved Out in 2020 on their eponymous album, Varo. They noted:

We first heard this song sung by Christine Dowling from Belfast, who originally heard it from a recording of Sarah Makem of County Armagh. While arranging it, we decided to explore the sorrowful and dark elements of this story about a young girl being seduced, shamed and abandoned by a man who takes advantage of her.

Lyrics

Joe Heaney sings As I Roved Out Waterson:Carthy sing Seventeen Come Sunday

As I roved out on a May morning,
On a May morning quite early,
I met my love upon the way,
But oh lord she was early.

As I walked out one May morning,
One May morning so early,
There I spied a fair pretty maid
All in the dews up early.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
And she sang little lidle diddle idle dum
And she hidle deedle dum
And she hidle deedle doo and she landy

“Where are you going, my fair pretty maid,
Where are you going, my honey”
Cheerfully she answered me,
“I've an errand for my mummy.”

“Oh how old are you, my pretty fair maid?
How old are you, my darling?”
She answered my quite modestly,
“Sixteen come Monday morning.”

“How old are you, my fair pretty maid,
How old are you, my honey?”
Cheerfully she answered me,
“I'm seventeen come Sunday.”

“Do you want to marry me, pretty fair maid?
Do you want to marry me darling?”
She answered my quite modestly,
“Oh I would but for my mammy.”

“Will you take a man, my fair pretty maid,
Will you take a man, my honey?”
Straightaway she answered me,
“I dare not for my mummy.”

“Won't you come to my house on top of the hill
When the moon is shining brightly?
I'll arise and I'll let you in
And my mammy won't he hearing.”

“But if you come round in the middle of the night
When the moon is shining clearly,
I'll lift the pin and let you in
And my mummy shall not hear me.”

And I went up to the top of the hill
When the moon was shining brightly.
She arose and let me in
But her mammy wasn't hearing.

So I went round in the middle of the night
When the moon was brightly shining;
She lifted the pin and she let me in
And I lay in her arms till morning.

She took my horse by the bridle and reins
And let it to the stable.
“There is plenty of oats for the soldier's horse
As fast as he can eat it.”

She took me by her lily white hand
And let me to the table.
“There is plenty of wine for the soldier boy
As fast as he can take it.”

And she went up and dressed the bed,
she dressed it soft and easy.
I went up and I rolled her in,
“Oh my lassie are you able?”

And it's there we stayed till the break of day
And the devil a one did hear me.
I got up and put on my clothes,
“Oh my lassie I must leave you.”

Then she said, “Will you marry me?”
As she let me out in the morning.
“By you I'm one that's quite undone
If you leave me here in scorning.”

“Then when will you return again
And when will we get married?”
“When broken delft make Christmas bells,
it's then we will get married.”

Now a pint at night is my delight
And a gallon in the morning.
The old women are my heartbreak
But the young ones are my darling.

So now she's with her soldier bright
Where the wars they are alarming;
And her delight is to dance all night
And a pint of rum in the morning.

A.L. Lloyd sings The Soldier and the Maid Steeleye Span sing Seventeen Come Sunday

𝄆 As I went out on one May morning,
On one May morning early, 𝄇
I met a maid upon the way
And oh she was her mother's darling.

As I strolled out one May morning,
One May morning so early,
I overtook a handsome maid
And, my goodness, she was early.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
With me toorin ah, fol the diddle ah,
Starva lump fol the daddy o

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
With me rue rum ra, whack fol the da,
Whack fol the diddle iddle lie do

𝄆 Her shoes was bright, her stockings white,
And her hair hung down her shoulder. 𝄇
She had a black and a rovin eye
And all her teeth they shone like silver.

Her shoes were black and her stockings were white
And her buckles they shone like silver.
She had a dark and rolling eye
And her hair hung over her shoulder.

𝄆 “Whre are you going, my pretty little miss,
Where are you going, my honey?” 𝄇
She answered me quite modestly,
“I'm on an errant for my mummy.”

𝄆 “How old are you, my pretty little miss,
How old are you, my darling?” 𝄇
She answered me quite modestly,
“Well I'll be sixteen year come a Monday morning.”

“How old are you, my fair pretty maid,
How old are you, my honey?”
She answered me so cheerfully,
“Well, I'm seventeen come Sunday.”

𝄆 “Could you fancy a man, my pretty little miss,
Could you fancy a man, my honey? 𝄇
She answered me quite modestly,
“Well I daren't for my mummy.”

“Could you love me, my fair pretty maid,
Could you love me, my honey?”
She answered me so tearfully,
“Oh, I can't because of mummy.”

𝄆 “But if you'll come to my mummy's house
When the moon shines bright and clearly, 𝄇
I will come down and let you in
So my mummy shall not hear me.”

“But if you come to my mummy's house
When the moon is shining brightly,
Oh, I'll come down and let you in
And my mummy shall not hear me.”

𝄆 Oh I went to her mother's house
When the moon shone bright as dawning. 𝄇
She did come down and let me in
And she rolled im my arms till the morning.

So he went to her mummy's house
When the moon was brightly shining;
And she came down and she let him in
And she rolled in his arms till the morning.

𝄆 About the hour of six o'clock
We heard the bugles blowing. 𝄇
The little gal gave a thrilling cry,
“Oh by Jiminy I am ruined!”

𝄆 “So now farewell, my pretty little miss,
And let this be a warning. 𝄇
The drum and fife is my delight
And I'll be back for your mummy in the morning.”

She says, “Kind sir, will you marry me?”
I says, “Oh no, my honey,
For the fife and drum is my delight
And I'm happy in the army.”

Fred Atkinson sings Seventeen Come Sunday The Broadside from Grimsby sing Seventeen Come Sunday

As I rose up one May mornin',
One May morning so early,
I overtook a pretty fair maid
Just as the day was dawning.

As I rose up one May morning,
One May morning so early,
I overtook a pretty fair maid
Just as the day was dawning.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
With me ru-rum ray,
Fother riddle ay
Wok fol lare diddle-i-do

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
With me ru-rum ray,
Fother riddle ay
Wok fol lare diddle-i-do

Her stockings white and her boots were bright
Her buckling shone like silver.
She had a dark and a rolling eye
And her hair hung round on her shoulders.

Her stockings white and her boots so bright
And her buckling shone like silver.
She had a dark and a rolling eye
And her hair hung over her shoulders.

“Where are you going, my pretty fair maid,
Where are you going, my honey?"
She answered me right cheerfully,
“I'm on an errand for me mummy.”

“Where are you going, my pretty fair maid,
Where are you going, my honey?"
She smiled at me right cheerfully,
“I've an errand for me mummy.”

“How old are you, my pretty fair maid,
How old are you, my honey?"
She answered me right cheerfully,
“I'm seventeen come Sunday.”

“How old are you, my pretty fair maid,
How old are you, my honey?"
She smiled at me right cheerfully,
“I'm seventeen come Sunday.”

“Will you take a man, my pretty fair maid,
Will you take a man, my honey?”
She answered me right cheerfully,
“I durst not for me mummy.”

“Will you take a man, my pretty fair maid,
Will you take a man, my honey?”
She smiled at me right cheerfully,
“You must lay me down and try me.”

“Will you come down to me mummy's house
When the moon shines bright and clearly,
And I'll come down and let you in
And me mummy shall not hear me.”

“If you come down to me mummy's house
When the moon shines bright and clearly,
I will come down and I'll let you in
And me mummy shall not hear me.”

I went down to her mummy's house
When the moon shone bright and clearly,
Then she came down and let me in
And I laid in her arms till morning.

So I went down to her mummy's house
When the moon shone bright and clearly,
She did come down and she let me in
And I lay in her arms till morning.

O it's now I'm with my soldier lad
His ways they are so winning
It's drum and fife is my delight
And a pint o' rum in the morning.

Well it's now I love this soldier lad
Cause his ways they are so winning
The drum and fife are my delight
And a pint of rum in the morning.

Sarah Makem sings As I Roved Out (Seventeen on Sunday)

(first two verses recorded by Diane Hamilton)

As I roved out on a May morning
On a May morning right early
I met my love upon the way
Oh, Lord but she was early.

Chorus (after each verse):
And she sang lilt-a-doodle, lilt-a-doodle, lilt-a-doodle-dee,
And she hi-di-lan-di-dee, and she hi-di-lan-di-dee and she lan-day.

Her boots were black and her stockings white
Her buckles shone like silver
She had a dark and a rolling eye
And her ear-rings tipped her shoulder.

(further verses provided by Stéphanie Makem and Tommy Makem)

“What age are you my bonny wee lass
What age are you my honey?”
Right modestly she answered me
“I'll be seventeen on Sunday.”

“Where do you live my bonny wee lass
Where do you live my honey?”
“In a wee house up on the top of the hill
And I live there with my mammy.”

“If I went to the house on the top of the hill
When the moon was shining clearly
Would you arise and let me in
And your mammy not to hear you?”

I went to the house on the top of the hill
When the moon was shining dearly
She arose to let me in
But her mammy chanced to hear her.

She caught her by the hair of the head
And down to the room she brought her
And with the butt of a hazel twig
She was the well-beat daughter

“Will you marry me now my soldier lad
Will you marry me now or never?
Will you marry me now my soldier lad
For you see I'm done forever”

“I can't marry you my bonny wee lass
I can't marry you my honey
For I have got a wife at home
And how could I disown her?”

A pint at night is my delight
And a gallon in the morning
The old women are my heart break
But the young ones is my darling.

Fred Jordan sings The Field of Barley

(Spoken) Mam was really fond of the singing. Her used to sing some of the old songs. If there was any of the old songs that we fancied we’d say, well “Sing us so-and-so”, her’d sing. This is one as I used to like her to sing, but I don’t know it all. I’ll sing what I do know of it.

As I was walking one May morn
One morning very early
I overtook a pretty fair maid
Walking through a field of barley.

“Where are you going to, my pretty maid
Where are you going, my honey.?”
She answered me quite readily,
“On an errand for my mummy.”

Her shoes were black, her stockings white
Her buckles shone like silver
A saucy gleam was in her eye
And her hair hung down her shoulder.

“When shall I see you, my pretty fair maid
When shall I see you, my honey?””
“I durst not see you, Sir”, she said
“Because of my mummy.”

I pressed to see my pretty fair maid
I pressed to see my honey
“Come and see me, Sir”, she answered me
“When the moon above shines clearly.”

Her shoes were black, her stockings white
Her buckles shone like silver
A saucy gleam was in her eye
And her hair hung down her shoulder.

Bill Smith sings Seventeen Come Sunday

Now as I arose one May morning
One May morning so early
I chanced to see a pretty fair maid
Across the fields of barley

Chorus (after each verse):
With my rue bon a die
Fol da riddle ay rie
Fold a riddle ay

Will you take a man my pretty fair maid?
Will you take a man my honey?
She answered me quite cheerfully
I daresn't for my mummy

But if you'll come down to me mummy's house
When the moon shines bright and clearly
I'll creep downstairs and I'll let you in
And me mummy shall not hear me

So I went right down to her mummy's house
When the moon shone bright and clearly
She crept downstairs and she let me in
And I laid in her arms 'til morning
(or: And her mummy did not hear me.)

How old are you my pretty fair maid?
How old are you my honey?
She's answered me quite cheerfully
I'm seventeen on Sunday

An' her shoes were bright her stockings were white
And her buckles shone like silver
With a red rosy face and a naughty little eye
And her hair hung down her shoulder

Caroline Hughes sings Flash Girls and Airy

Oh yes, as I was a-walking, oh my love,
Oh, so earlye in the morning;
Oh, I met with a fair and a purty girl,
She said, “Morning, darling, do you love my — Roo dum day?”
Fol the diddle die doe, Flash gals and airy too.

Oh, she got her horse and saddle ready,
Down through the copses she did ride;
Oh, she met her true love down through the —
Said, “Hello, darling, do you love me?”
“Yes my dear, I loves you; but don’t you tell my daddy now.”

“Oh, will you have a man, my fair purty maid,
Yes, will you have a man, my honey?”
Oh, she answered me quite civilty:
“Yes, I’m seventeen come Sunday, with my — Roo dum day.”
Fol the diddle die doe, Flash gals and airy too.

Mary Delaney sings New Ross Town

For, as I went out on a moonlight night
As the moon shined bright and clearly,
When a New Ross girl I chanced to meet,
She looks at me surprising;
We had a roo ry rah, fol the diddle ah,
Roo ry, roo ry, roo ry rah.

“Oh, will I go, my dear,” he says,
“Or will I go my honey?”
Nice and gay she answered me,
“Go down and ask me mammy.”
We’ll have roo ry rah, fol the diddle ah,
Roo ry rah she was a tome old hag.

Oh, I went down to her mammy’s house
When the moon shined bright and clearly,
She opened the door and let me in
And her mammy never heard us;
We had …

“Oh, soldier dear, will you marry me
For now is your time or ever,
Oh, Holy God, will you marry me?
If you don’t and I’m ruined for ever;”
With my …

“You are too young, my dear,” he says,
“You are too young, my honey.”
“For if you think I am too young,
Go down and ask me mammy;”
We’ll have …

“How old are you, my dear,” he says,
“How old are you, my honey?”
Nice and gay she answered me,
“Gone seventeen since Sunday.”
With my …

“Now I have a wife and a comely wife,
And a wife, I won’t forsake her,
There’s ne’er a town I would walk down
Where I’d get one if I take her.”
With my roo ry rah, fol the diddle ah,
Roo ry rah you are a tome old hag.

Ossian sing Ma Rovin Eye

As I gaed o’er yon Hieland hill,
I met a bonny lassie;
And she gied me a wink wi the tail o her ee,
And faith but she was saucy.

“Where are ye gaun my bonnie lass?
Where are ye gaun my honey?
Where are ye gaun my bonnie lass?”
“For baccy for my grannie.”

Chorus (after every other):
Wi ma rovin eye,
Fol di doodle die,
Wi ma rovin fol di derry,
Wi ma rovin eye.

“Oh what is your name my bonnie lass?
What is your name my honey?
What is your name my bonnie lass.”
“Oh they cry me bonnie Annie.”

“And how old are you my bonnie lass?
How old are you my honey?
How old are you my bonnie lass?”
“I’ll be sixteen come Sunday.”

“Whaur dae ye sleep my bonnie lass?
Whaur dae ye sleep my honey?
Whaur dae ye sleep my bonnie lass?”
“In a wee bed next my mammy.”

“Oh gin I were tae come tae your hoose then,
When the moon is shining clearly;
Would you arise and let me in,
So yer mother wouldn’t hear me?”

Oh when I went doun tae the lassie’s door,
I found that she was wakened,
Oh but lang, lang e’er the mornin come,
Her mother heard us talkin.

She ran tae the grate tae poke up the coals,
Tae see gin she could ken me;
But I kicked the auldwife intae the fire,
And bid my heels defend me.

“Oh it’s soldier, soldier marry me noo,
It’s either noo or never;
Oh soldier, soldier marry me noo,
For I am done forever.”

“Come o’er the burn my bonnie lass,
Blink o’er the burn my honey;
For you are a sweet and a kindly lass,
For all your cankered mammy.”

Walter Pardon sings Seventeen Come Sunday

As I walked out one May morning,
One May morning early
'Twas then I spied a pretty maid,
So handsome and so clever.

Chorus (after each verse):
With my rue-rum-ray, fol-the-riddle-ay
Whack-fol-lura-lido

Her shoes were black, her stockings white
And her buckles shone like silver
She had a dark and rolling eye
And her hair hung down her shoulders.

“How old are you, my pretty fair maid,
How old are you, my honey?”
She answered me, quite cheerfully,
“I am seventeen come Sunday.”

“Will you marry me, my pretty fair maid,
Will you marry me, my honey?”
She answered me, quite cheerfully,
“I dare not for my Mammy.

“If you come down to Mammy's house,
When the moon is shining brightly
Then I'll come down and let you in
And my Mammy will not hear me.”

“Oh Soldier, will you marry me,
For now's your time, or never
Oh Soldier, will you marry me,
Or I'm undone for ever.”

And now she is the soldier's wife
And sails across the brine-o
The drum and fife is my delight
And a married man is mine-o

Charlotte Renals sings Seventeen Come Sunday

“Where are you going to my pretty maid?
Where are you going my honey?”
She answered me quite cheerfully,
“On an errand for my mummy.”

Chorus (after each verse):
With my rue dum a day,
Fol a diddle lay,
Whack fol a leero lie do.

“May I come too my fair pretty maid?
May I come too my honey?”
“You may for me kind sir,” she said,
“And of course you’re kindly welcome.”

“How old are you my fair pretty maid?
How old are you my honey?”
She answered me quite cheerfully,
“I am seventeen come Sunday.”

Her shoes was white and her stockings was black,
Her buckles shine like silver,
She had a dark and a rolling eye,
And her hair it dangled in ringlets.

“Will you come down to my mammie’s house,
When the moon shine bright and clearly?
If you come down, I will let you in
And my mammie shall not hear you.”

Now I went down to her mammie’s house,
When the moon shine bright and clearly,
I went down and she let me in,
And she rolled in my arms till the morning.

She says, “Now will you marry me?
Say yes, no, now or never.
And if you will not marry me,
I’m a girl undone for ever.”

Acknowledgements and Links

Transcribed from the singing of Waterson:Carthy with a bit of help by Ivan Coates. I copied Fred Atkinson's version from the Percy Grainger Manuscript Collection at the VWML. Garry Gillard transcribed the Broadside from Grimsby's version with the delightful line “You must lay me down and try me.”