“Carrion Crow”


"A carrion crow (kangaroo) sat on an oak, To my inkum kiddy-cum kimeo, Watching a tailor mend a coat...." The tailor tries to shoot the crow, but misses and kills his old sow. The family mourns the dead animal


A rhyme of the time of Charles I reads, "Hie hoe the carryon crow for I have shot something too low I have quite missed my mark, & shot the poore sow to the harte Wyfe bring treakel in a spoone, or else the poore sowes harte wil downe."

Said piece is regarded as an allegory on Charles's reimposition of high church ritual (and consequent dismissal of Calvinist clergy). Not impossible, in those times -- but whether it inspired this song, or was inspired by it, is not clear. - RBW


  • Bodleian, Harding B 12(10), "Carrion Crow" ("As I went forth one May morning"), J. Pitts (London), 1802-1819 ; also 2806 c.18(55), "The Carrion Crow"
  • LOCSinging, as112630, "Sly Young Crow," L. Deming (Boston), 19C


  • Otis High, "Captain Karo" [referred to in notes as "Carrion Crow"] (HandMeDown1)
  • Margaret MacArthur, "Carrion Crow" (on MMacArthur01)


  1. Belden, pp. 270-271, "The Carrion Crow" (2 texts)
  2. Brewster 62, "The Tailor and the Crow" (2 texts)
  3. Creighton/Senior, pp. 244-246, "The Carrion Crow" (2 texts plus 1 fragment, 2 tunes)
  4. Creighton-Maritime, p. 133, "The Carrion Crow" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Mackenzie 156, "The Tailor and the Crow" (1 text); "The Carrion Crow" (2 texts)
  6. Linscott, pp. 185-186, "The Carrion Crow" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. SharpAp 222, "The Carrion Crow" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  8. Lomax-FSNA 72, "The Kangaroo" (1 text, 1 tune)
  9. Opie-Oxford2 87, "A carrion crow sat on an oak" (2 texts)
  10. Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #172, p. 127, "(A carrion crow sat on an oak)"
  12. Roud #891
  13. BI, LoF072


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1796 (Francis Grose papers)
Found in: US(Ap,MW,NE,SE,So) Canada(Mar)