“When I Was a Young Man (I)”


The singer proposes to his long-time sweetheart but she rejects him as an idler. "In the spring had you cropped my wing" he would have won her. He says he'll "sail the ocean o'er, For the loss of one is a gain of two And a choice of twenty more"

Supplemental text

When I Was a Young Man (I)
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Helen Creighton, Songs and Ballads from Nova Scotia, #50, pp. 101-102.
"Sung by Mr. Enos Hartlan, of South-East Passage."

When I was a young man
I took delight in love,
I gave my heart unto a girl
Who did inconstant prove.
She promised for to be
My own true love,
Which makes me sigh and say,
But now I find she has changed her mind
To a quite contrary way.

(4 additional stanzas)


This is one of those songs that sounds like you've heard it before; the plot is common and the images commonplace. But neither Creighton nor Roud nor I can recall another version. - RBW


  1. Creighton-NovaScotia 50, "When I Was a Young Man" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. ST CrNS050 (Partial)
  3. Roud #1797
  4. BI, CrNS050


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1932 (Creighton-NovaScotia)
Found in: Canada(Mar)