Now there was an old woman in Ireland,
In Ireland she did dwell;
She loved her husband dearly,
And another man twice as well.
To my riddy fol lol, ri riddy fol lol,
Ri riddy fol laural day,
Ri riddy fol lol, ri riddy fol lol,
Ri riddy fol laurel day.
So the old woman she went to the doctor's
To see what she could find;
She said she wanted something
That would turn the old man blind.
He said: 'Take thee sixteen marrowbones
And grind 'em up so small
And when he's had 'em he'll be so blind
He won't see any at all.'
Says the old man, 'I'll drown myself,
Because I've lost my sight.'
Says the old girl, 'I'll go with you,
And see you do it right.'
Now as they were a-walking,
A-walking to the brim,
The old man he shoved down his foot,
And pushed the old girl in.
Good Lord, how she did holla,
Good Lord, how she did scream;
The old man he picked up a pole,
And he pushed her further in.
And now my song is ended,
I've got nothing more to say;
The old girl she got drowned,
The old man can rejoice again.
Source: Everyman's Book Of English Ballads, ed. Roy Palmer
Notes: Sung by James Knights (b. 1880), collected by George Ewart Evans, March 1968. Previously published in my Love Is Pleasing, 1974, with verses 3 and 4 added from elsewhere.
(Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six
Old Woman in Our Town. There was an [The Rich Old Lady][MarrowBones]