“The Roving Bachelor”


The bachelor comes to town determined to find a wife. Seeing a woman, he engages her in conversation and learns of her tastes and her fortune (as well as how she treats her family). (Since her wealth is enough and he suits her fancy, they get married)


This is recognized less by the details of the plot than by the constant repetition of the phrase, "The next question that I asked/axed her...."

Creighton has a fragment also titled "The Roving Journeyman," but it looks more like a version of "With My Swag All On My Shoulder."

Henry's second version asks "did her father deal in flax?" This appears to be a reference to the several periods in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when the Irish linen industry tried to build itself up. Typically the British would open the markets, the Irish would try to build an industry, and the British would reimpose the tarriff walls, crushing the Irish flax farmers. It's not clear from the song whether it takes place during the up or down points of the cycle. - RBW


  1. SHenry H650a+b, pp. 263-264, "The Roving Bachelor" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #1649
  3. BI, HHH650


Alternate titles: “Roving Journeyman, The”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1911 (Grieg)
Found in: Ireland Britain(Scotland)