“Who Will Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot”


Floating verses found in sundry other songs: "Oh who will shoe your pretty little foot, And who will glove your hand...." "(Papa) will shoe my pretty little foot, (Mama) will glove my hand...."


It is common to classify any song containing the "pretty little foot" stanzas as part of "The Lass of Roch Royal" [Child 76]. However, they have been widely associated with at least two other songs (designated in the Ballad Index as "Fare You Well, My Own True Love (The Storms Are on the Ocean, The False True Lover, The True Lover's Farewell, Red Rosy Bush, Turtle Dove)" and "Mary Anne"). In addition, the stanzas can simply float.

For that matter, the verses are not an required part of "Roch Royal"; many versions (e.g. of the "Lord Gregory" group) omit them, and they are not an integral part of the plot of that ballad.

For this reason we have decided to classify these verses separately. If these verses stand in isolation, they will be listed here; if they are part of a longer ballad, they will be listed with that ballad. Note, however, that any particular fragment containing these verses could be part of one of the longer ballads.

Note also that some of the ballads listed under the other titles could have been misclassified by the authors and belong here. - RBW

I classify [the Seeger recording "Poor Boy"] here for want of a better place. - PJS

Cross references


  • Frank Bode, "Who's Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot?" (on FBode1)
  • Carolina Tar Heels, "Who's Gonna Kiss Your Lips, Dear Darling" (Victor 40100, 1929)
  • Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers, "When I'm Far Away" (No known Columbia release; recorded 1930)
  • Pete Seeger, "Poor Boy" (on PeteSeeger18)
  • Arthur Smith, "Green Valley Waltz" (on McGeeSmith1)


  1. Bronson 76, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (23 versions, of which #6, #7, #9, #10, #14, and #15 must be placed here)
  2. BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 149-150, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (2 fragments)
  3. Flanders-Ancient2, pp. 174-177, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (2 fragments, one of which is probably "The Lass of Roch Royal" but the second being "Pretty Little Foot"; 1 tune)
  4. Randolph 18, "Oh Who Will Shoe My Foot?" (8 texts, 5 tunes; the "B" and "H" versions are of this sort) {H=Bronson's #7}
  5. BrownIII 259, "I'll Hang My Harp on a Willow Tree" (2 fragments, named for that key line from "Tavern in the Town" which occurs in both fragments, but the "A" text is mostly "Pretty Little Foot"); also 301, "High-Topped Shoes" (2 texts, both mixed; "A" is mostly "Pretty Little Foot" with verses from "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down" while "B" is a hash of "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down," ""More Pretty Girls Than One," "In the Pines," and others); also 306, "By By, My Honey" (1 text, mostly this though with several floating verses, e.g. from "Lonesome Road")
  6. Hudson 13, pp. 91-93, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (1 fragments, of which "A" is the "Pretty Little Foot" with a chorus from "Careless Love" and "B" is two "Pretty Little Foot" stanzas artificially and wrongly extracted from "Wild Bill Jones")
  7. Davis-Ballads 21, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (21 texts, every one of which is this piece rather than the longer ballad; additional texts appear in the Appendices, though some of these file with other songs; 4 tunes, of which the first 3, "Lass of Roch Royal," "Love Gregory," "and "Lass of Roch Royal," are among the pieces which belong here; 22 more versions mentioned in Appendix A) {#21A=Bronson's #9, #21U=Bronson's #10}
  8. Scarborough-SongCatcher, p. 124, (no title) (1 fragment, filed under Child #76 along with a text of "New River Train/Honey Babe" and a version of "I Truly Undertand That You Love Some Other Man")
  9. Brewster 13, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (1 text plus 8 fragments; the "A" text is "Fare You Well, My Own True Love"; "B"-"I" are "pretty little foot" fragments of one to three stanzas)
  10. Fuson, p. 131, "The Gambling Man" (1 text, built around "The Roving Gambler (The Gambling Man)" [Laws H4] but also with these verses)
  11. Friedman, p. 78, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (3 texts, 1 tune, with the "B" text belonging here)
  12. Niles 31, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (2 texts, 2 tunes, the second clearly "The Lass of Roch Royal" but the first goes here)
  13. Sandburg, 98-99, "Who Will Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot" (3 texts, 1 tune; the "A" text goes here) {Bronson's #14}
  14. Lomax-FSNA 109, "Who's Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot" (1 text, 1 tune, with some additional stanzas which might be from "Fare You Well, My Own True Love" but which one has to suspect of being Lomax additions)
  15. JHCox 13, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (2 texts, with the "B" text being a short fragment of this song)
  16. Darling-NAS, pp. 269-270, "Who Will Shoe" (assorted sample stanzas)
  17. PSeeger-AFB, p. 65, "Who's Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot?" (1 text, 1 tune)
  18. Rorrer, p. 92, "When I'm Far Away" (1 text, with an altered form: "Who will shoe your little foot (x3) When I am far away?")
  19. Silber-FSWB, p. 191, "Who's Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot?" (1 text)
  20. ADDITIONAL: Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; note to #50, (no title) (1 text)
  21. Roud #49
  22. BI, C076A


Author: unknown
Earliest date: (undatable as the key lyrics probably predate the song as an independent entity)
Found in: US(Ap,SE,So)