“I Am a Young Maiden (If I Were a Blackbird)”


The girl has been courted by a sailor, but now is deserted. She wishes she were a blackbird so she could follow her love. She tells of how her parents' dislike caused her to love him the more. He promised to buy her ribbons, but now has left her


Although this song is composed entirely of floating lyrics -- from "The Wagoner's Lad," "Oh, Dear, What Can the Matter Be" and others -- this combination is sufficiently widespread that it must be considered a song in its own right - RBW

Cross references


  • Diddy Cook, "The Blackbird" (on Voice15)
  • Blanche Wood, "I'm a Young Bonnie Lassie" (on FSB1)


  1. FSCatskills 38, "I Am a Young Maiden" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. SHenry H79, pp. 428-429, "If I Were A Blackbird" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. OLochlainn 46, "If I Was a Blackbird" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Meredith/Anderson, pp. 170-171, "If I Was a Blackbird" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. MacSeegTrav 31, "If I Was a Blackbird" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  6. Blondahl, p. 119, "If I Were a Blackbird" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. DT, (IFBLKBRD -- apparently a reworking of the song from a man's perspective) IFBLKBR2*
  8. Roud #387
  9. BI, FSC38


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1925 (Sam Henry collection); c.1920 (OLochlainn)
Found in: US(MA) Ireland Canada(Newf) Britain(England(Lond),Scotland)