“A Leg of Mutton Went Over to France”


"A leg of mutton went over to France ... The ladies did sing and the gentlemen dance." Anyway, a man dies, a doctor looks in his head and finds a spring in which 39 salmon are learning to sing, with a pool for young salmon to go to school.


The ending floats: "perhaps you think I ... lie", "If you want any more ...", even if entire verses don't.

Opie-Oxford2: "[Moorfields] would be an appropriate setting for a nonsense song, for in 1675 the Old Bethlem Hospital was moved to Moorfields from Bishops Gate Without." - BS

I suspect the "As I Was Going to Banbury" version is a compound of two different items. As, however, it appears to exist only in the version Cecil Sharp collected from Emma Sister, there seems no need to create a separate item for it. The ending is this song; it merely starts with the verse "As I was going to Banbury, Ri fol lat-i-tee O...." - RBW


  1. Peacock, p. 14, "A Leg of Mutton Went Over to France" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Opie-Oxford2 357, "As I was walking o'er little Moorfields" (3 texts)
  3. Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #244, p. 155, "(As I was walkin o'er little Moorfields)"
  4. ADDITIONAL: Maud Karpeles, _Folk Songs of Europe_, Oak, 1956, 1964, p. 49, "As I Was Going to Banbury" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Roud #2423
  6. BI, Pea014


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1918 (Journal of Folk-Song Society, according to Opie-Oxford2)
Found in: Canada(Newf)