“The Old Maid's Song (I)”


An old maid laments her state, noting that her (two) sister(s were) popular, but she's been ignored all her life. She says she'd accept almost any man, and lists the good things she'd do for him


Also collected and sung by Ellen Mitchell, "An Old Maid in a Garret" (on Kevin and Ellen Mitchell, "Have a Drop Mair," Musical Tradition Records MTCD315-6 CD (2001))

Broadsides LOCSinging as102060 and Bodleian Harding B 11(2011) are duplicates. - BS

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 11(2011), "Chimney Sweep's Wedding," J.O. Bebbington (Manchester), 1858-1861; also Firth c.20(31), "Chimney Sweeper's Wedding"; 2806 c.7(10), "Chimney Sweepers Weding"[sic]
  • LOCSinging, as102060, "The Chimney Sweepers Weding"[sic], P. Brereton (Dublin), n.d.


  1. Wyman-Brockway I, p. 65, "The Old Maid's Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. SHenry H138, p. 256, "The Black Chimney Sweeper" (1 text, 1 tune, in which a "black chimney sweeper" finally marries her)
  3. Hayward-Ulster, pp. 87-88, "The Black Chimney Sweeper" (1 text)
  4. Flanders/Brown, p. 102, "Sisters Susan" (1 text)
  5. Logan, pp. 353-355, "The Old Maid's Lament for a Husband" (1 text, which is not lyrically similar to the usual versions of this song but has all the same plot elements)
  6. Kennedy 210, "The Poor Auld Maid" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Peacock, p. 461, "I Long to be Wedding" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. Creighton-SNewBrunswick 21, "Black Chimney Sweeper" (1 text, 1 tune)
  9. Silber-FSWB, p. 186, "Old Maid's Song" (1 text)
  11. Roud #802
  12. BI, R364


Alternate titles: “Take Her Out of Pity”; “The Old Maid's Lament”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1636 (broadside)
Found in: US(Ap,NE,So) Ireland Britain(Scotland) Canada(Mar,Newf)