“Says the Old Man to the Oak Tree”


"Says t'auld man t' the (old/oak) tree, Young and lusty was I when I kenn'd thee; I was young and lusty, I was fair and clear, Young and lusty was I mony a lang year, But sair fail'd am I, sair fail'd now, Sair fail'd am I sen I kenn'd thou."


Several versions of "Sair Fyel'd, Hinny" include this lyric essentially intact -- and in Northumbrian dialect. But I don't know if this split off and became a Mother Goose rhyme on its own, or if that song swallowed it. My decision to split them was very tentative. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #71, p. 80, "(Says t'auld man tit oak tree)"
  3. BI, BGMG071


Alternate titles: “The Old Man and the Oak. A North Country Son (Ritson's title)”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1785 (Gammer Gurton's Garland)
Keywords: age