“I Wonder When I Shall Be Married”


"I wonder when I shall be married... For my beauty's beginning to (fail/fade)." The girl's parents would be happy to see her married; they offer a good dowry ("forty good shillings" and household furnishings) but there are as yet no takers


This probably began as a British broadside, "The Maiden's Sad Complaint for Want of a Husband," and has a sister in this Index known as "I Am Gaun to the Garret". Even the American versions are often still quite British (note the forty shilling dowry!). But British versions often end with her finding a husband, so I'm listing this as a separate song.

Note that Cox's text is from Kentucky, not West Virginia -- and almost identical to the well-known Ritchie Family version. - RBW

Cross references


  • Jean & Edna Ritchie, "I Wonder When I Shall Be Married" (on Ritchie03)


  1. JHCoxIIB, #16, pp. 157-158, "Old Maid's Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. MHenry-Appalachians, p. 27, "I Wonder When I Shall Be Married" (1 text)
  3. Ritchie-Southern, p. 71, "I Wonder When I Shall Be Married" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Roud #818
  6. BI, CoxII16


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1923 (Cox)
Found in: US(Ap)