It’s of a young gentleman, song

Charlie Somers, singing in English
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It’s of a young gentleman in this country did dwell,
For seducing pretty fair maids there’s few could him excel
For there never came a fair one unto this young man’s place,
Oh, that ever would return without coming to disgrace.

Oh, a gentleman and servant maid lived nearby this town,
With her master and her mistress she bet the sum of fifty pound
That she could walk with this young man through lonesome woods and plains
And she never told her wager till she would return again.

Oh, it being early the next morning this fair maid she arose
To seek for recreation, oh, as she put on her clothes;
With a rake upon her shoulder away then she has gone
And the one that went to watch her it was her master’s son.

– Oh, good morning to you, fair maid, the gentleman did say,
This morning it looks misty, it might make a pleasant day,
But it’s through these lonesome mountains together let us stray,
I should find myself quite happy, oh, if with you making hay.

– Oh, let go my hand, kind sir, she said, and stop your making fun,
Perhaps that you are married and you have your harvest won.
– Indeed I am not married, believe me, it is true
For I’ll never wed with anyone unless it is with you.

It is your beauteous sparkling eyes that has my heart ensnared
And if you don’t give consent, oh, I will die in despair;
If you grant to me your wishes, oh, I’ll give you fifty pound
And I’ll marry you next Sunday when the clergy comes to town.

– If I grant to you my wishes, oh, it would myself confound,
But before I do, kind sir, she said, just pay the money down.
Oh, he paid her down the fifty pound as he thought it was but lent,
Ay, and for a safe recovery it was this maid’s intent.

For when she got the money she carefully put it by,
And putting it in her pocket small-clothes he chanced to spy;
He stood all in amazement, it put him to a stand
For to see that a young girl had turned out to be a man.

– Oh, come pay to me my trifling, come pay to me my wealth,
It’s aren’t you a man, he says, you do the same yourself.
– Indeed I am a man, said she, for you I am too keen,
You’re so much afraid of shooting you will never serve the queen.

Oh, the argument being all in vain she quickly left the spot,
She went down to the river and she jumped into a cot;
She quickly rowed the little boat unto the other side,
Ay, and smiled, – Indeed, young man, she says, you wish to have a bride.

You may go home, young man, said she, go home you silly clown,
And I’ll marry you next Sunday when the clergy comes to town;
You may go home, young man, said she, and mourn for your loss,
Oh, while I will sport my figure on your (spoken) easy earned purse.


For a wager a girl outwits a Don Juan by pretending to be a man dressed up as a girl; the deception puts a novel twist on the theme of the ‘Broomfield wager’ (Child no 43), replacing magic by cunning. The new ballad is Irish, as one fact makes certain: the allusion to a cot in 10.2. Cots were small boats used widely for inland and coastal transport, and still used exceptionally in Magilligan for fishing and fowling at the mouth of the Roe; see p. 5–6. But despite its rarity the ballad is not a local one; it came from broadsides and was probably composed around 1860 for the Dublin press.