“I'll Not Marry at All”


The single woman proudly proclaims her intent to die an old maid. She reels off the defects of all sorts of men -- rich, poor, fat, lean, farmer, e.g. "I'll not marry a man that's rich, He'll get drunk and fall in the ditch, I'll not marry at all...."


Linscott, or her informants, thought this Irish. She cites no evidence, and the collections seem to be all, or nearly all, from the United States and Canada.

The idea of a catalog of undesirable occupations can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt, though there it was a young man being advised against them. The "Instruction of Duauf" consists of a father telling the son what's wrong with each job, e.g. a smith smells worse than fish roe. (The piece was apparently used to train scribes; the one form of employment it approves of is scribe.) - RBW

Cross references


  • Kentucky Thorobreds, "I'll Not Marry at All" (Paramount 3080, 1928; Broadway 8184 [as Old Smokey Twins], n.d.; rec. 1927)


  1. Eddy 72, "Shab-i-da Ru-dy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Belden, pp. 262-263, "I Wouldn't Marry" (2 texts)
  3. Randolph 364, "The Old Maid's Song" (3 texts, 1 tune)
  4. BrownIII 17, "I Wouldn't Marry" (7 text (some short) plus 6 excerpts, 1 fragment, and mention of 5 more, of which "H," "J," "O," and "P" apparently belong here)
  5. Linscott, pp. 211-212, "I'll Not Marry at All" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Wyman-Brockway II, p. 72, "The Old Maid" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Fuson, pp. 91-92, "I'll Not Marry At All" (1 text)
  8. MHenry-Appalachians, p. 26, "The Old Maid" (1 text)
  9. LPound-ABS, 99, pp. 208-209, "I'll Not Marry at All" (1 text)
  10. Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 78, "I Won't Marry" (1 text, 1 tune)
  11. Creighton-SNewBrunswick 100, "I Never Will Marry a Man Who Is Rich" (1 text, 1 tune)
  13. Roud #2774
  14. BI, E072


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1913 (Belden)
Keywords: oldmaid
Found in: US(Ap,MW,NE,Ro,So) Canada(Mar)