MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Grey Mare
May Whalen NFLD 1 Tape 6 Track 5
Cape Broyle Audio:
Ballad / love crosses class lines

Rogers the miller came courting of late
The farmer's fair daughter called beautiful Kate
She had for her fortune jewels and rings
She had for her fortune many fine things
She had for her fortune five hundred pounds
She had for her fortune
She had for her fortune a great deal of ground

When the will it was read and all settled down
It was a fine fortune five hundred pounds
"Although your daughter is charming and fair
I won't have your daughter without the grey mare
I won't have your daughter I solemnly swear
I won't have your daughter
I won't have your daughter without the grey mare."

The grey mare was banished right out of his sight
And so was Miss Katie his joy and delight
And Rogers the miller was turned out of doors
And say that he'd never go there anymore
Now Rogers he tore his fine yellow hair
And wish that he never
And wish that he never spoke of the grey mare

When all was over and all passed and gone
Now Rogers and Katie they both met again
Says Rogers to Katie, "Now do you know me?"
"I think I have seen you before sir," said she
"A man of your courteous bright eyes yellow hair
That once came a-courting
That once came a-courting my father's grey mare."

"It wasn't the grey mare a-courting I came
It was his fair daughter called Katie by name
And hoping your father he would not dispute
To give me his daughter and a grey mare both
But bearing I'd lose such a charming fine sum
It's now I am sorry
It's now I am sorry for what I have done."

"You're sorry," said Katie, "but I value you not
There's lots of your men in this town to be got
If you got the grey mare you would marry me
But now you got neither the grey mare nor me
The price of the grey mare was ever so great
So fare you well Rogers
So fare you well Rogers go and mourn for Kate."

Female voice (speaks): That's a good one.


Sources: Peacock 278-9 ("The Gray Mare" and "Roger the Miller"); Laws P8 ("The Old Grey Mare"); Henry 90; Roud 680.  


Text notes: The more widely collected song with this title was published in sheet music format in 1858, and has been used as a play party song (see The narrative in the variant here, however, recounts how Johnny loses his chance of marrying Kate when he insists on getting her father's mare as part of the dowry.

Tune notes: A 6/8, major key tune, with distinctive 6-1/2 line stanzas in the pattern "abc a def(1/2-line)f'."

Leach also collected this song from Mike Kent, also of Cape Broyle (as "The Old Grey Mare"). The tunes and stanzaic structures of the two are very different.

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