> Martin Carthy > Songs > When I Was Young

When I Was Young

[ Roud 2593 ; Ballad Index VWL102 ; trad.]

Martin Carthy sang When I Was Young on the BBC album The Kershaw Sessions and on Brass Monkey's 1998 album Sound and Rumour. He also played dulcimer on Jez Lowe's version on A Selection from The Penguin Book of English Folk Song. The latter album's sleeve notes said:

From Mrs Moore, High Haworth, County Durham; noted in 1920 by W.G. Whittaker. A very widespread song whose persistence was possibly helped by its inclusion in a popular songster, Sam Cowell's 120 Comic Songs (c. 1850).

Lyrics

Martin Carthy sings When I Was Young

When I was young I lived in a hall,
But now that I am married I have no home at all.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
Oh, what a life, what a weary, weary life,
Better be a maid than a poor man's wife.
You'd better be a maid all the days of your life,
Better be a maid than a poor man's wife.

When I was young I wore my slippers thin,
Now that I am married the water it runs in.

When I was young I used to sport and play,
Now that I am married the cradle's in the way.

When I was young I lived in a hall,
But now that I am married I have no home at all.

Acknowledgements

Transcribed from Sound and Rumour by Garry Gillard.