“Old Roger is Dead (Old Bumpy, Old Grimes, Pompey)”


(Old Bumpy) is dead and buried. An apple tree grows from his grave. An old woman comes to gather apples. Bumpy arises from his grave and kicks the woman for her temerity

Supplemental text

Old Roger is Dead (Old Bumpy, Old Grimes, Pompey)
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

Bumpy Was Dead and Lay In His Grave

From Mary O. Eddy, Ballads and Songs from Ohio, #65, pp. 176-177, Text B.
Source not listed, but this version seems more typical than her A text.

1. Bumpy was dead and lay in his grave,
      Lay in his grave, lay in his grave,
   Oh, Bumpy was dead and lay in his grave,
      Lay in his grave.

2. An apple tree grew right over his head, etc.

3. The apples were ripe and ready to fall, etc.

4. And old woman came and picked them up, etc.

5. Bumpy jumped up and gave her a kick, etc.

6. She hopped till she came to a mulberry bush, etc.

7. And for all that I know she is still hopping yet, etc.

8. If you want any more you can sing it yourself, etc.


Eddy quotes John Powell as writing, "This is not a song but a singing game, 'Old Roger is Dead.' It is a relic of an ancient pagan ritual...." Randolph gives details on how the game is played.

Botkin believes this originated with "Pompey! A Famous End Song," with words credited to "Mrs. K. B." and music by W. R. Dehnoff. This is possible, as I know of no collections prior to the 1876 publication of that song. But the degree of variation makes me suspect it is older.

This should not be confused with "Bohunkus (Old Father Grimes, Old Grimes Is Dead)," which also goes by the title "Old Grimes"; the forms are different, and "Bohunkus" has a plot about two competing brothers. - RBW


  • Dora Richards, "Pompey is Dead" (AFS, 1940; on LC55)


  1. Belden, pp. 509-511, "Old Grumbler" (3 texts plus mention of 1 more, 1 tune)
  2. Randolph 569, "Old Bumpy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 411-413, "Old Bumpy" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's #569)
  4. Hudson 138, pp. 284-285, "Old Grampus" (1 text plus mention of 4 more)
  5. Scarborough-NegroFS, pp. 136-137, "Old Ponto Is Dead" (1 text plus a fragment which might be part of this, 1 tune)
  6. Eddy 65, "Old Granddaddy's Dead" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  7. Flanders/Brown, pp. 182-183, "The Tommy Song or Apples are Ripe" (1 text)
  8. Fuson, p. 186, "Old Grumbler" (1 text)
  9. SharpAp 259, "Old Roger" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  10. Botkin-NEFolklr, p. 585, "Pompey" (1 text, 1 tune)
  11. LPound-ABS, 114, pp. 232-233, "Poor Robin" (1 text)
  12. Hammond-Belfast, p. 16, "Poor Toby is Dead" (1 text, 1 tune)
  13. ST R569 (Full)
  14. Roud #797
  15. BI, R569


Alternate titles: “Old Limpy”; “Old Grimes”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1876 (sheet music); some similar text from 1849 (Halliwell)
Found in: US(Ap,MW,NE,SE,So) Britain(England(All)) Ireland