Mudcat Café message #3969094 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #5830   Message #3969094
Posted By: Jim Dixon
31-Dec-18 - 02:11 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Roger the Miller and the Grey Mare
Subject: Lyr Add: THE GREY MARE (2 versions from c.1826)
From Traditional Tunes: A Collection of Ballad Airs, Chiefly Obtained in Yorkshire and the South of Scot.and... edited by Frank Kidson (Oxford: Chas. Taphouse & Son, 1891), page 78:

THE GREY MARE.

THE following was first obtained from my mother, who heard the song sung at Otley, in Yorkshire, about the year 1826-27. I have since found it is also current among old people in other parts of the country.

Mr. Lolley sends me the air as an elderly relative of his had heard it sung in the East Riding. I also find by a copy of the song to a different air, in Songs of the West, that it is known in the West of England.

The East Riding version is:—

THE GREY MARE

[Musical notation is shown here.]

Young Roger the miller he courted of late
A farmer’s fair daughter called beautiful Kate
For she to her fortune had five hundred pounds
Besides rings and jewels, and many fine gowns.

This glittering money, and beauty likewise,
It tickled his fancy and dazzled his eyes;
Which caused young Roger to tell his mind,
Unto his own true love that proved constant and kind.

The day being appointed, the money paid down,
It was a fine fortune was five hundred pounds;
“But,” says he, “though your daughter be charming and fair,
I won’t have your daughter without the grey mare.”

“Oh then,” says the farmer, “there’s nothing the worse.
My money can soon be put back in my purse.”
So the money was banished right out of his sight,
And so was Miss Kitty, his joy and delight.

And Roger, that rascal, was turned out of door.
They bade him be sure for to come there no more,
Which caused young Roger for to tear his hair,
And wish he had never stood for the grey mare.

Then about two years after, or a little above,
Young Roger he met with miss Kitty his love,
When smiling, said Roger, “Why, don’t you know me?”
“If I aren't mistaken, I’ve seen you,” said she.

“For a man in your likeness with long yellow hair
Did once come a-courting my father’s grey mare.”
“Oh, no,” said young Roger, “it’s that I’ll disclaim,
For it was unto you that a-courting I came.”

“Oh, no,” says Miss Kitty, “I’ll also deny,
And the truth of the matter I will testify,
For unto my father you did solemnly swear,
You would not have his daughter without the grey mare.”

I am indebted for another copy of the words to a correspondent, Mr. C. Butteriss, who informs me that his copy is from Leicestershire. It is so similar to Mr. Lolley’s version, that it is only here reproduced in order to show the general accuracy of oral tradition in transmitting such things down to our own time.

THE GREY MARE.
(Second Version of the Words)

Young Roger the miller he courted of late
A farmer’s gay daughter called beautiful Kate.
She had to her fortune some five hundred pounds
Besides handsome jewels and many fine gowns.
She had to her portion both jewels and rings.
She had to her portion a many fine things.

The glittering money and beauty likewise
Did tickle his fancy and dazzle his eyes,
Which caused young Roger for to tell his mind
And unto his lover be constant and kind,
That no other woman should e’er be his bride,
“For thou art my jewel, my jewel and pride.”

The wedding made ready, the money put down,
A very fine portion, just five hundred pounds.
“If there is nothing more that falls to my share,
I will not have your daughter without the grey mare.
If there is nothing more that falls to my share,
I will not have your daughter without the grey mare.”

The old farmer made answer unto him with speed:
“Well, I thought you’d have married my daughter indeed,
But as it so happens, my daughter’s no worse,
And the money again shall go into my purse;
But as it is so with you I solemnly swear,
You shall not have my daughter nor yet the grey mare.”

Then Roger, that rascal, was turned out of door,
And bid to begone and come there no more.
Then Roger he tore his locks of long hair,
And he wished he’d never staid for the grey mare;
Then Roger he tore his locks of long hair,
And he wished he’d never staid for the grey mare.

In six months hereafter, or something above,
He chanced for to meet with sweet Kitty his love;
Then smiling, said Roger, “Why, don’t you know me?"
“Well, if I’m not mistaken, I’ve seen you,” said she,
“Or one very like you with long yellow hair,
Did once come a-courting my father’s grey mare.”

Then smiling, said Roger, “You are much to blame,
For it was unto you that a-courting I came.
I thought your old father would make no dispute,
In giving his daughter and the grey mare to boot;
But now he has lost a most dutiful son,
And I’m very sorry for what I have done.”

“Oh! as to thy sorrows I value them not,
For there’s plenty of men in this world to be got.
There's not many young men when at the last fair,
Does marry a wife for the sake of a mare,
For the price of a mare is not very great,
So fare thee well, Roger; go, man, to thy fate.”