> Nic Jones > Songs > Don’t You Be Foolish, Pray

Don’t You Be Foolish, Pray

[ Roud V1569 ; trad.]

Nic Jones recorded this courting song for his first album Ballads and Songs. He commented in the album notes:

The printed broadsides are often accused of stunting the growth of folksongs and of solidifying the words by submitting them to print. True as this is in many case, they also created and diffused a great many songs which possess a deal of charm in themselves.

Don’t You Be Foolish, Pray is a good example of this, probably created by a townsman with his idealised view of rural life. In many instances, songs such as this appealed very strongly to the country singers and were allotted high positions in their repertoires.


Now Hodge met Molly, the Miller’s maid,
Who long his suit denied,
And half inclined, half afraid,
He did stretch his old head and cry:

“Now Molly, while I love you so
Why still our hearts deny?
Come hang it and to the parson go -
And now don’t you be foolish, pray!”

And Molly, with an artful blush
That shamed the rose’s hue,
She cried to Hodge, “I pray you hush
And I pray you speak softly, do.”

“We will be overheard, I know,
The mill won’t work today.
And so, dear Hodge, let go of me hand,
And now don’t you be foolish, pray!”

And Hodge, thus chided at a stand,
He says, “Well then, goodbye,
I’m going to give young Susan me hand
Since now you do cast off I.”

“Me cast you off?,” cries Molly, “No!
The mill won’t work today,
And so, dear Hodge, to church we’ll go,
And now don’t you be foolish, pray!”