Up in the North Up in the north there lived a brisk couple Where young men and maidens a-courting do go Always a-courting but never talked of marrying Until this young girl she began for to say "Young man, young man, what is it you mean Of courting I'm weary, I'm resolved to get married Or else from your company I must refrain" "And then I must own, I do love you dearly But as for to marry I don't feel inclined When a man he gets wed His joys are all fled He's free from all liberty Bound down towards slavery So whilst I am single I wish you goodnight" "Oh there's one thing, dear John, I should like to ask you That's if you're married first, ask me to your wedding And if I am before you then I'll do the same" So the bargain was made when up stepped a young ?jade? He stepped up to her, he intended to have her He was a ship's carpenter's son by his trade. So she wrote John a letter, a kind loving letter, To come to her wedding on the ninth day of June To wait on her table instead of her bedder To wait on her table all on the bridegroom When this letter he read it made his heart bleed In sorrow he mourned, his tale was soon turned "I'm a fool, I'm undone, I have lost her indeed" So he saddled his horse, rode off to the station Thinking to meet with his true lover there But when he got there he was sadly amazed To see this young girl so highly surmounted Which caused from his eye to fall many a tear. "If I had known, you'd be had so soon I would not have tarried but you I'd have married So jump up beside me and leave him alone" "Oh no, my dear John, for I've much better choosed And can't you remember what you said to me: When a man he gets wed His joys are all fled He's free from all liberty Bound down towards slavery So whilst you were single You'd wish me good night" -------------------------------------------------------------------- recorded by Linda Adams on "Voices. English Traditional Songs" (1992) "Despite being printed in various broadsides and chap books in the early nineteenth century it has been rarely collected in the tradition. Alfred Williams collected it prior to the Great War at Brize Norton, the Hammond brothers collected a Dorset version called Down in the West Country in 1907, John Baldwin collected one in Oxfordshire in 1969 and in the Southern Uplands of the U.S.A. it has been found as "No Sign Of Marriage". Linda's version comes from the singing of Freda Palmer of Witney, Oxfordshire. Again, the twist in the tale is that having made the wrong decision our hero has to live with it. Full marks to the young lady in question." - Paul Adams The tune is a bit complicated, because there are verses with 3,4,5 and 6 lines, each sung to a slightly different tune. MJ MJ
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!