Sung by: Ollie Gilbert
Recorded in spring 1963

Click here to listen to the original recording

Come, all you rough and rowdy boys, listen to me.
Don’t place your reflections on a green-growing tree,
For the leaves, they will wither, and the roots will decay,
And the beauty of a fair girl soon fade away.

When you go a-courting, don’t hasten like some.
Be sure you don’t marry ‘til you’re full twenty-one.
Be sure you don’t marry ‘til you love . . . and gay.
Go get you a good girl . . .

When you are single, you live at your ease.
You can go when you get ready, return when you please.
You can go when you get ready, return when you may.
You can smile and kiss Molly, boys, and be single still.

For when you are married, you done . . .
Spent all your sweet comfort to buy you a wife.
You spent all your sweet comfort, boys,
To buy you a wife.

When you step aside to speak to a friend,
Your wife’s at your elbow, saying, “What do this mean?”
She’ll snurl her nose up at you, and her face look like sad news.
Tell you by experience, boys, such a life to endure.

Also found in Randolph, Vol. IV, #673, “Wild Rovers.”

All Songs Recorded by John Quincy Wolf, Jr., unless otherwise noted

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
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