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Mad Family

[ Roud 19704 ; trad.]

Mad Family is a nursery rhyme from Iona and Peter Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd ed., 1997, pp. 343-4 (rhyme 327)). Former Witch of Elswick, Fay Hield sang it in 2010 on her first solo CD, Looking Glass. And Jon Boden sang Mad Family as the October 29, 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Lyrics

The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes Fay Hield sings Mad Family

There was a mad man and he had a mad wife,
And they lived in a mad town:
And they had children three at a birth,
And mad they were every one.

Oh there was a mad man and he had a mad wife,
They lived in London town:
And they had children one, two, three
And mad they were each one, brave boys,
Mad they were each one.

The father was mad, the mother was mad,
And the children mad beside;
And they all got on a mad horse,
And madly they did ride.

Oh father was mad and mother was mad,
Children were mad besides;
And they all jumped on to a mad, mad horse
And so madly they did ride, brave boys,
So madly they did ride.

They rode by night and they rode by day,
Yet never a one of them fell;
They rode so madly all the way
Till they came to the gates of hell.

Oh they rode all night and they rode all day,
Never a one of them fell;
They rode so madly all of the way
Till they came to the gates of hell, brave boys,
They came to the gates of hell.

Old Nick was glad to see them so mad,
And gladly let them in:
But he soon grew sorry to see them so merry,
And let them out again.

The devil was glad for to see them so mad,
He kindly let them in:
But he soon grew mad for to see them so glad
So he let them out again, brave boys,
He let them out again.

(repeat first verse)