“Maids When You're Young Never Wed an Old Man”


Examples of why young women should not marry old men. A girl married at sixteen, and has lived an unsatisfactory life. Details are given of the old man's various performance problems. The girl notes that she eventually found solace with a young man


In their notes to Sam Larner's recording, MacColl & Seeger cite a version from the appendix to the 1791 edition of Herd's "Scottish Songs," which they call a "remarkably close parallel to Mr. Larner's." Without seeing it, I'm hesitant to assign "EARLIEST DATE," but that has the ring of certainty about it rather than careless lumping. - PJS

I'm assured by others that they're the same, and have adjusted the Earliest Date accordingly (the more so as every other version is rather recent). But I'm leaving the comment here because, well, I still haven't seen it. - RBW

Cross references


  • Sam Larner, "Maids When You're Young Never Wed an Old Man" (on SLarner02)
  • Jeannie Robertson, "Maids When You're Young [Never Wed a Auld Man]" (on FSB2, FSB2CD); "An Old Man Came a Courting Me" (on Voice01)


  1. Kennedy 207, "Never Wed a' Auld Man" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Fowke/MacMillan 60, "An Old Man He Courted Me" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Silber-FSWB, p. 156, "Maids When You're Young, Never Wed An Old Man" (1 text)
  4. Gilbert, p. 72, "Don't Wed an Old Man" (1 text)
  6. Roud #210
  7. BI, K207


Alternate titles: “Scant of Love, Want of Love”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1791 (Herd)
Keywords: age marriage
Found in: Britain(England(North,South,Lond),Scotland(Aber)) Ireland US(Ro) Canada(Ont)