> Martin Carthy > Songs > Young Morgan

Young Morgan

[ Roud 5369 ; MusTrad MT248 ; Bodleian Roud 5369 ; trad.]

Later English Broadside Ballads

Phoebe Smith sang two short verses on the highwayman Young Morgan to Mike Yates in 1975/6. This recording was published in 2001 on her Veteran CD The Yellow Handkerchief.

Martin Carthy sang Young Morgan in 2004 on his album Waiting for Angels. He noted:

I have to thank Dave Ashmore of The Daily Telegraph for being able to get hold of a full set of words for Young Morgan, two riveting verses of which are sung on the CD of the great gypsy singer Phoebe Smith released on John Howson’s Veteran series. Dave periodically drops into the post books which he has come across or which are (perhaps?) review copies which they at the Telegraph have finished with, and Young Morgan comes from Lovers, Rakes and Rogues, a New Garner of Love Songs and Merry Verses 1580-1830 edited by John Wardroper which he (Dave) sent a few years ago. Thank you very much indeed, Dave Ashmore. What is printed there differs fairly sharply from what is sung here for the simple reason that I learned it and subsequently kicked it around in my head a lot over the space of two years or so before actually singing it. Morgan himself was known as “The Flying Highwayman” and was very much admired by the ordinary people - and not because he gave any of his takings to the people because he didn’t do that. The key, it would seem, was his swagger. According to Wardroper, the ballad writers were so stuck by his popularity that they had him reprieved in a second song, and sent to France to make trouble there but the public didn’t buy the idea. Indeed, another printed version of the song has Morgan getting a pardon from the King himself anyway. But that spoils the defiant ending for me. So he gets hanged (which is what really happened anyway).

Dan Quinn sang Young Morgan on Duck Soup’s 2010 album Open on Sundays.


Phoebe Smith sings Young Morgan

Young Morgan he got catched at lass,
For trials he is laying.
And ain’t that a pity that young man should die,
Out of this world he’s going.

As I walked through the city gates
I heard some people talking
Young Morgan he has confessed at last,
Now his friends will follow after.

Martin Carthy sings Young Morgan

Young Morgan he be caught at last
Her trials he is laying.
And isn’t it a pity that young man should die,
Out of this world is going?

Standing bold like John of Gaunt,
The world will soon admire
To see such a tall and swaggering blade
All in my rich attire.

Oh, such a tall and swaggering blade,
All out for gold and plunder,
With spirits cocked and courage bold
And a voice that’s loud like thunder.

After sweet meat there comes sour sauce
Which sets my heart to weeping.
For now, alas, I’m tried and caused,
Out of this world I am going.

As I come through the city gate
I heard some people talking:
Young Morgan he has confessed at last,
Now his friends will follow after.

I heard it through St. Giles’s pound,
Through Newgate and the city.
Oh, isn’t it a pity that young man should die?
He rides so high and pretty.

But why should I refuse to die
Now here or ever after?
The Captain he leads on the van,
His friends must follow after.