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Penguin: The Old Man From Lee

DigiTrad:
GREY BEARD NEWLY SHAVEN
OLD SHOES AND LEGGIN'S


Related thread:
Lyr Req: The Maid I Am (10)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
The Old Man From Lee (from The Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs)


Alan of Australia 19 Mar 00 - 03:18 AM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Aug 00 - 04:07 PM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Aug 00 - 04:08 PM
sophocleese 21 Aug 00 - 05:56 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 21 Aug 00 - 11:52 PM
Joe Offer 21 Jan 05 - 02:52 AM
AggieD 21 Jan 05 - 09:30 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Jan 05 - 03:12 PM
Diva 10 May 05 - 03:49 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 12 Apr 09 - 05:53 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Apr 09 - 05:19 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 13 Apr 09 - 03:51 AM
Jim Dixon 22 Aug 17 - 09:22 AM
Jim Dixon 22 Aug 17 - 10:20 AM
Jim Dixon 22 Aug 17 - 10:22 AM
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Subject: Penguin: The Old Man From Lee ^^
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 03:18 AM

G'day,
From the Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs, Ed Pellow's rendition of the tune of The Old Man From Lee can be found here.

THE OLD MAN FROM LEE

There was an old man came o'er from Lee,
Eh, but I'll not have him.
There was an old man came o'er from Lee,
A-courting me, a-courting me,
With his old grey beard,
With his old grey beard
Just newly shaven.

My mother she told me to get him some pie.
Eh, but I'll not have him.
My mother she told me to get him some pie,
I got him some pie and he put the crust by,
With his old grey beard, etc.

My mother she told me to hand him a stool.
Eh, but I'll not have him.
My mother she told me to hand him a stool.
I hand him a stool, he sat down like a fool,
With his old grey beard, etc.

My mother she told me to give him some wine,
Eh, but I'll not have him.
My mother she told me to give him some wine.
I gave him some wine and he drank like a swine,
With his old grey beard, etc.

My mother she told me to take him to church.
Eh, but I'll not have him.
My mother she told me to take him to church.
I took him to church but left him in the lurch,
With his old grey beard, etc.

My mother she told me to take him to bed.
Eh, but I'll not have him.
My mother she told me to take him to bed.
I look him to bed, and he asked me to wed,
With his old grey beard, etc.

Sung by unnamed singer, Coggeshall, Essex (G.E.McC. n.d.)

Also see THE MAID I AM and
GREY BEARD NEWLY SHAVEN.

Previous song: O Shepherd, O Shepherd.
Next song: On Monday Morning.


Cheers,
Alan ^^


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Old Man From Lee
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Aug 00 - 04:07 PM

From the notes to the Penguin Book (1959):

"The old man's courtship is an ancient joke of which country folk never seemed to tire.  In a form similar to the one we publish, the song appeared in the Musical Miscellany (London) in 1730.  It seems to be widespread in Scotland, and Sharp found it common in the West Country.  Versions have been reported from Yorkshire (Traditional Tunes, Frank Kidson, 1891, p.92; FSJ vol.II [issue] p.273), Worcestershire (Folklore X pp.173-4) and Wiltshire (Folk Songs of the Upper Thames ed. Afred Williams 1923, p.73).  Our text is amplified from the Wiltshire version. -R.V.W./A.L.L.

This version was collected by G.E. McCleay from an unnamed singer in Coggeshall, Essex (date unknown), and was first published in the Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, vol.III [issue ] p.130.

Other versions on the DT:

Grey beard newly shaven  Jeannie Roberton's version; no tune given.  This was transcribed from one of the "Folksongs of Britain" series originally released on Caedmon Records, but is only an extract; the full text, also called  A Dottered Auld Carle   is given below.

The Maid I Am  In spite of its title, this is an exact duplicate of the above.

Old Shoes on and Leggin's  With tune; no source specified for text or tune.  Presumably an American version.

In the Forum:

There Was an Old Man Came over the Lea  Version from Morpeth as published in  Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England,  (The Percy Society, 1846); no tune given.

@courting @age @marriage @aging

There is an entry at  The Traditional Ballad Index:

An Old Man Came Over the Moor  (Old Gum Boots and Leggings)

Other titles:

The Young Lass contra Old Man
The Carle He Came o'er the Croft
The Auld Carle
I'll Not Have Him
The Old Man from Over the Sea
His Old Grey Beard Kept Waggin'
Overshoes and Leggin's
The Old Black Booger
The Old Man

There are three American versions available, with sound files, at  The Max Hunter Folk Song Collection:

With His Long Cane Pipe a Smok'n
With His Old Gray Beard a Shining
With His Ole Gray Beard A Shining

Malcolm


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Subject: LYR & TUNE ADD: Dottered Auld Carle
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Aug 00 - 04:08 PM

A DOTTERED AULD CARLE

(Jeannie Robertson)

A dottered auld carle cam ow'r the lea,
Ha ha but I wadnae hae him.
He cam ow'r the lea, an' a' tae court me;
Wi' his grey beard newly shaven.

My mither telt me tae open the door,
I opened the door, and he tottered in o'er;

My mither telt me tae gie him a chair,
I gie'd him a chair, and he sat on the flair;

My mither telt me tae gie him some meat
I gie'd him some meat, but he'd nae teeth tae eat;

My mither telt me tae gie him some drink
I gie'd him some drink, and he began tae wink;

My mither telt me tae gie him a kiss
"If you like him sae weel, ye can kiss him yoursel'!"

Wi' his aul' grey beard newly shaven
Wi' his aul' grey beard newly shaven:
"If you like him sae weel, ye can kiss him yoursel'!"
Wi' his aul' grey beard newly shaven.

A midi of the tune goes to Alan's Mudcat Midi Site.

Malcolm Douglas


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Old Man From Lee
From: sophocleese
Date: 21 Aug 00 - 05:56 PM

Thanks Malcolm. Just by chance I was looking at this song yesterday and am learning it today. Without the link you've given me to the other sources I was wondering a bit about the ending. Now I know what I could do.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Old Man From Lee
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 21 Aug 00 - 11:52 PM

Margo Carruthers sings a version of the Old Man Came Over the Lea which ends with her ditching the old man at the altar.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Old Man From Lee
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 02:52 AM

Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Old Man Came Over the Moor, An (Old Gum Boots and Leggings)

DESCRIPTION: The singer's mother tells her to open the door to an old man. He is come to court her; she will not have him; he is too old. The girl's mother makes her to offer him various attentions; she does, and the old man spoils each. (At last he is sent home)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1733 (Ramsey)
KEYWORDS: age courting rejection humorous clothes
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,MW,Ro,SE,So) Britain(England(All),Scotland(Aber)) Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (36 citations):
Belden, p. 264, "The Old Man's Courtship" (1 text)
Randolph 66, "The Old Black Booger" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 129-131, "The Old Black Booger" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 66C)
Arnold, p. 22, "Old Shiboors and Leggins" (1 text, 1 tune)
Eddy 42, "An Old Man Who Came Over the Moor" (3 texts plus a fragment, 4 tunes)
Stout 21, p. 30, "The Old Man Who Came Over the Moor" (1 fragment)
Gardner/Chickering 171, "The Old Man" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Brewster 48, "The Old Man Who Vame Over the Moor" (2 texts)
BrownIII 9, "The Old Man's Courtship" (5 texts)
BrownSchinhanV 9, "The Old Man's Courtship" (1 tune plus text excerpt)
Morris, #202, "The Old Man's Courtship" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Moore-Southwest 122, "Old Beard a-Shakin'" (1 text, 1 tune)
Owens-1ed, p. 217, "Old Shoe Boots and Leggins" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hubbard, #77, "The Old Man's Courtship" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Ford-Vagabond, pp. 128-129, "The Carle He Cam' Ower the Craft"; p. 130, "The Dottered Auld Carle" (2 texts)
Bell-Combined, pp. 457-458, "There Was an Old Man Came Over the Lea" (1 text)
Greig #149, p. 1, "The Auld Carle" (1 text)
GreigDuncan4 815, "The Auld Carle wi' His Beard" (4 texts, 3 tunes)
Fowke/Johnston, pp. 152-154, "The Old Man" (1 text, 1 tune)
Warner 165, "Old Grey Beard" (1 text, 1 tune)
MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 9-10, "There Was an Old Man" (1 text)
FSCatskills 131, "Old Shoes and Leggings" (1 text)
ThompsonNewYork, pp. 408-409, "(no title)" (2 text, both short)
JHCox 169, "The Old Man Who Came Over the Moor" (1 text)
SharpAp 108, "My Mother Bid Me" (5 texts, 5 tunes)
Ritchie-Southern, p. 87, "Mama Told Me" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-Singing, pp. 132-134, "Old Shoes and Leggin's" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton/Senior, pp. 190-191, "The Old Man" (1 text, 1 tune)
Williams-Thames, p. 73, "The Old Grey Man" (1 text) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Gl 161)
Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, pp. 76-77, "The Old Man from Lee" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kennedy 139, "Old Grey Beard" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, OLDSHOE*
ADDITIONAL: Allan Ramsay, The Tea-Table Miscellany: or, A Collection of Scots Sangs (in three vols) (London, 1733 (ninth edition) ("Digitized by Google")), Vol. I, p. 126, "The Young Lass Contra Auld Man" ("The carle he came o'er the croft") (1 text)
W. H. D. Rouse, "Christmas Mummers at Rugby" in Folklore, Vol. X, No. 2 (Jun 1899 (available online by JSTOR)), pp. 193-194 ("There was an old man came over the sea") (1 text, 1 tune)
Roy Palmer, _The Folklore of Warwickshire_, Rowman and Littlefield, 1976, pp. 107-108, ("There Was An Old Man Came Over the Sea") (1 text, 1 tune)
Roger deV. Renwick, _Recentering Anglo/American Folksong: Sea Crabs and Wicked Youths_, University Press of Mississippi, 2001, p. 63, "The Old Man's Courtship" (1 text)

ST R066 (Full)
Roud #362
RECORDINGS:
Frankie Armstrong, "The Old Man from Over the Sea" (on BirdBush1, BirdBush2)
Burnett Bros., "Old Shoes a-Draggin'" (Victor 23727, 1932)
[The Stoneman Family and] Uncle Eck Dunford, "Old Shoes and Leggins" (Victor V-40060, 1928; on AAFM1)
Betty Garland, "Old Gum Boots and Leggings" (on BGarland01)
Otis High, "Old Gray Beard A-Flappin'" (on HandMeDown2)
Lawrence Older, "Old Shoes and Leggings" (on LOlder01)
Jeannie Robertson, "Old Grey Beard Newly Shaven" (on FSB1)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Maids When You're Young Never Wed an Old Man"
cf. "I Wouldn't Have an Old Man"
cf. "The Brisk Young Lad" (plot)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
An Old Man Came Courting Me
The Young Lass contra Old Man
The Carle He Came o'er the Croft
The Auld carle
I'll Not Have Him
The Old Man from Over the Sea
His Old Grey Beard Kept Waggin'
Overshoes and Leggin's
NOTES: Roy Palmer's version of this song is included as a part of a Father Christmas play which "was performed every year at Christmastide at Newbold until the end of the nineteenth century." Unfortunately he gives no information on the source of the play, nor when it was first performed. - RBW
The Rouse text is an example of a song of courting, rejection, and, in this case death, inserted into a mummers' "wooing" or "plough" play. For other examples and some discussion see "Sweet Moll." - BS
Last updated in version 4.2
File: R066

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Old Man From Lee
From: AggieD
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 09:30 AM

We sing an arrangement of this in one of our choir's folk song suites, great fun to sing.

Anyone want to buy our CDs??!!


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Old Man From Lee
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 03:12 PM

Not mentioned in The Traditional Ballad Index is E. C. Perrow, 1915, JAFL 28, p. 185, No. 13, THERE WAS AN OLD MAN, from Kentucky, MS of Miss Kahn, 1913. Very close to the English version, "Old Man from Lee" ("with his old beard so newly shaven").


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Old Man From Lee
From: Diva
Date: 10 May 05 - 03:49 AM

I was singing this last night and could only remember the first verse.........but as it was just to my sweetie...now I have the full version..heeheee


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Old Man From Lee
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 12 Apr 09 - 05:53 AM

REFRESH!

Anyone know the words to the version to:
'The Old Man who Came Over the Sea'

That Ann Briggs sings on her album of erotic folk songs 'The Bird in the Bush'?

The penultimate line runs:

"Me Mother she told me to show him what to do.
Eh! But I'll not 'ave 'im!
Me Mother she told me to show him what to do,
but the silly old cod couldn't learn how to screw!
With his long grey beard, with his long grey beard,
a' shiverin' and shakin'."

I heard this version a short while ago, but can't recall all the verses.


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Subject: ADD: The Old Man Who Came Over the Sea
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Apr 09 - 05:19 PM

Okay CS in the spirit and memory of Malcolm here are Briggsy's words, but I'm pretty certain she either got them off Bert Lloyd or adapted them herself as they don't occur in any trad collections.

They are from 'My Song is My Own, 100 Women's Songs' ed by Kathy Henderson, Frankie Armstrong and Sandra Kerr. p55


THE OLD MAN WHO CAM OVER THE SEA

There was an old man came over the sea
Eh but I'll not have him
There was an old man came over the sea
Came sniffelin', snuffelin' all around me
With his long grey beard, x2
A-shiverin' and shakin'.

My mother she told me to bid him come in,
Eh but etc
My mother etc
And he giggled and dribbled all over his chin,
With that lgb etc.

My mother she told me to give him a stool
Eh etc
My Mother etc
Well, I gave him a stool and he sat like a fool
With his etc

My mother she told me to give him some cake,
etc
And the silly old fool wriggled just like a snake
etc

My mother she told me to pass him the sugar etc
And he shivelled and shovelled it down like a booger (probably meant to be bugger)
etc

My mother she told me to take him to bed etc
And the daft old devil nigh stood on his head, etc

My mother told me to show him what to do etc
But the silly old cod couldn't learn how to screw etc

My mother she told me to bid him farewell etc,
Well I bid him farewell and I wished him in hell etc.


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Old Man From Lee
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 03:51 AM

Many thanks Steve G.
Must say I rather like Brigg's forthright version.
Be interesting to see if it will either endear or alienate me, at the next folk meet though....


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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Old Man From Lee
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 22 Aug 17 - 09:22 AM

Related songs posted in other places:

In the DT: Old Shoes and Leggin's.

In the DT: Grey Beard Newly Shaven

Old Shoes and Leggings in the thread "Songs your parents didn't allow"

With His Owd Grey Beard New Shaven in the thread called "Songbook - Folk Songs Of Lancashire"

Several versions in the threads called Crazy Old Man from China and A Children's song from the 70s


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Subject: Lyr Add: THERE WAS AN OLD MAN CAME OVER THE LEA
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 22 Aug 17 - 10:20 AM

From The Local Historian's Table Book, of Remarkable Occurences ..., Volume 2 by M. A. Richardson (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: M. A. Richardson, 1844), page 329:

THE BAILLIE OF BERWICK;
or,
THERE WAS AN OLD MAN CAME OVER THE LEA.

An Old North Country Song.

Communicated by J. H. Dixon, Esq.

This curious and humourous song is from a copy taken down some years since, from the singing of Mrs. Mason, an elderly lady, with whom I resided when a boy, at Gaw-Flatt, near Skipton in Craven, and who died about two years ago, an octogenarian. She was the widow of a clergyman, and the respectability of her character, and the pleasant situation of the little farm house where she resided, induced many to place their children under her roof. The old farm house is now numbered with the things that were, and its scite occupied by a gentleman's seat. A year ago I passed the spot, and changed as it was, there was still enough remaining, to call to my remembrance "the solitary grange," the boys, the long winter nights, and the tales, the legends, the nursery rhymes, and the old songs of Mrs. Mason. In many of our ancient ditties, there are passages which in these times, are not "quite the thing !" Whenever these occurred, the good old person would alter the verse, but the alteration would be sure to be made in so unpoetical a manner, as to induce the boys to supply the hiatus, and give the true reading ! This would please her amazingly; she would remove her spectacles, laugh heartily and say "But you know, young gentlemen, I did not say so!"

A garbled version is to be found, in a rather scarce work called "The Sky Lark," published in London at the close of the last century, and where it is called a "Scotch song, sung at Ranelagh." Version is the proper term to apply to the four-verse song in the Sky Lark, for it cannot be called a copy, being in a different metre to the following, which I have no doubt, is the original. A version is also to be found in "The Robin," a work published in London, in the year 1749, and commencing thus:—

"The auld carle cam o'er the croft
Wi' his beard new shaven."

The air to which Mrs. Mason gave it, is an English tune of a simple nature, but original, exceedingly characteristic, and stamped with undoubted antiquity. I have sometimes thought that this witty and quaint song suggested to Burns, the idea of his "Duncan Grey," and his "Last night a braw woer." Could this be proved, it would enhance its value, and render its publication in the Table Book doubly interesting.

THERE was an old man came over the lea,
    Heigho! but I wont have him—
        Came over the lea
        A-courtin to me,
Wi' his old grey beard just newly shaven.*  [* Pronounced 'shavven'

My mother bid me go ask him his name,
    Heigho! but I wont have him—
        Ballie Greig was his name,
        And from Berwick he came,
Wi' his old grey beard just newly shaven.

My mother bid me go ask him to stay,
    Heigho! but I wont have him—
        I asked him to stay,
        But I wished him away,
Wi' his old grey beard just newly shaven.

My mother bid me go fetch him a stool,
    Heigho! but I wont have him—
        I fetched him a stool,
        And he sat like a fool,
Wi' his old grey beard just newly shaven.

My mother bid me go fetch him a chair,
    Heigho! but I wont have him—
        I fetched him a chair,
        And he did girn and stare,
Wi' his old grey beard just newly shaven.

My mother bid me go spread him the cloth,
    Heigho! but I wont have him—
        I spread him the cloth
        And he kissed me—the Goth !
Wi' his old grey beard just newly shaven.

My mother bid me go fetch him some pie,
    Heigho! but I wont have him—
        I fetched him some pie,
        And he cut it awrye,
Wi' his old grey beard just newly shaven.

My mother bid me go fetch him some tart,
    Heigho! but I wont have him—
        I fetched him some tart,
        * * * * * * [Ellipsis in the original]
Wi' his old grey beard just newly shaven.

My mother bid me go fetch him some bread,
    Heigho! but I wont have him—
        I fetched him some bread,
        And he waggled his head,
Wi' his old grey beard just newly shaven.

My mother bid me go draw him some ale,
    Heigho! but I wont have him—
        I drew him some ale,
        And he supped like a whale,
Wi' his old grey beard just newly shaven.

My mother bid me go get him a light,
    Heigho! but I wont have him—
        I got him a light,
        But he could not walk straight,
Wi' his old grey beard just newly shaven.

My mother bid me go shew him to bed,
    Heigho! but I wont have him—
        I shewed him to bed,
        And he asked me to wed,
Wi' his old grey beard just newly shaven.

My mother tells me he has plenty of brass,
    Heigho! but I wont have him—
        Old Nick take his brass,
        I will neer be his lass,
Wi' his old grey beard just newly shaven.


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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD SHOES AND LEGGINGS (Lawrence Older)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 22 Aug 17 - 10:22 AM

OLD SHOES AND LEGGINGS
As recorded by Lawrence Older on "Adirondack Songs, Ballads, and Fiddle Tunes" (1963)

A man who was old come courtin' one day.
    All three girls wouldn't have him.
He come down the lane on a walkin' cane,
    With his old shoes on and his leggin's.

Mother told me to hang up his hat.
    All three girls wouldn't have him.
I hung up his hat and he kicked at the cat,
    With his old shoes on and his leggin's.

[Similarly:]
Mother told me to give him some meat.
I gave him some meat an' oh how he did eat!

Mother told me to show him the saw.
I showed him the saw and he danced "Rye Straw."

Mother told me to put him to bed.
I put him to bed and he stood on his head.

Mother told me to send him away.
I sent him away and he left us to stay.


[Tom & Ben Paley sing these additional verses on "Paley & Son" (2015):]


My mother she told me to give him a chair
I give him a chair and he looked mighty quare.

My mother she told me to give him the hoe.
I give him the hoe and he jumped Jim Crow.

My mother she told me to tell him a joke.
I told him a joke and he laughed till he croaked.


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