“The Blackbird and Thrush”


The singer hears two birds rejoicing because they are "single and free." The girl goes to meet Johnny, but "the dearer I loved him, the saucier he grew." At last he rejects her, and she says she can do better elsewhere


The full version of this song, from the Sam Henry collection, is little more than a pastiche of floating lyrics (see the cross-references). I've thrown in the Copper text (which Roud actually splits off as its own song) because it, like the Henry text, contains lyrics we ordinarily associate with "Old Smokey." Presumably both songs derive from the same source as gave us the American text.

The key lines are "A meeting's a pleasure, a parting's a grief, And an (unconstant young man) is worse than a thief." - RBW

Cross references


  • Turp Brown, "Abroad As I Was Walking" (on Voice01)


  1. SHenry H241, pp. 346-347, "The Blackbird and Thrush" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Copper-SoBreeze, pp. 290-291, "So Abroad as I was Walking" (1 text, 1 tune, with no particular plot but with verses reminiscent of "Old Smokey" or this piece)
  3. Roud #2380
  4. BI, HHH241


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1928 (Sam Henry collection)
Found in: Ireland Britain(England(South))