[ A | B | Others ]

Version A

a. 'The Crafty Farmer,' Logan, A Pedlar's Pack,
p. 126, from a chap-book of 1796; 'The Crafty 
Miller,' Maidment, Scotish Ballads and Songs, 1859, 
p. 208, from a Glasgow stall-copy; a stall-
copy, printed by M. Randall, Stirling.

1 THE song that I 'm going to sing,
I hope it will give you content,
Concerning a silly old nian,
That was going to pay his rent.

2 As he was riding along,
Along all on tine highway,
A gentleman-thief overtook him,
And thus to him did say.

3 'Well overtaken!' said the thief,
'Well overtaken!' said he;
And 'Well overtaken!' said the old man,
'If thou be good company.'

4 'How far are you going this way?'
Which made the old nnan for to smile;
By my faith,' said the old man,
'I'm just going two mile.

5 'I am a poor farmer,' he said,
And I farm a piece of ground,
And my half-year's rent, kind sir,
Just comes to forty pound.

6 'And my landlord has not been at home,
I've not seen lnim this twelvemonth or more.
Which makes my rent be large;
I've to pay him just fourscore.'

7 'Thou shouldst not have told any body,
For thieves there's ganging many;
If any should light on thee,
They'11 rob thee of thy money.'

8 '0 never mind,' said the old man,
'Thieves I fear on no side,
For the money is safe in my bags,
On the saddle on which I ride.'

9 As they were riding along,
The old man was thinking no ill,
The thief he pulled out a pistol
And bid the old man stand still.

10 But the old man provd crafty,
As in the world there's many;
He threw his saddle oer the hedge,
Saying, Fetch it, if thou 'it have any.

11 The thief got off his horse,
With courage stout and bold,
To search for the old man's bag,
And gave him his horse to hold.

12 The old man put 's foot i the stirrup
And he got on astride;
To its side he clapt his spur up,
You need not bid the old man ride.

13 '0 stay! ' said the thief, '0 stay!
And half the share thou shalt have;'
'Nay, by my faith,' said the old man,
'For once I have bitten a knave.'

14 The thief he was not content,
But he thought there must be bags;
He out with his rusty old sword
nd chopt the old saddle in rags.

15 When he came to the landlord's house,
This 01d man he was almost spent;
Saying, Come, show me a private room
And I '11 pay you a whole year's rent.

16 'I've met a fond fool by the way,
I swapt horses and gave him no boot;
But never mind,' said the old man,
'For I got the fond fool by the foot.'

17 He opend this rogue's portmantle,
It was glorious to behold;
There were three hundred pounds in silver,
And three hundred pounds in gold.

18 And as be was riding home,
And down a narrow lane,
He espied his mare tied to a hedge.
Saying, Prithee, Tib, wilt tinou gang hame?

19 When he got honne to his wife
And told her what he had done,
Up she rose and put one her clothes,
And about the house did run.

20 She sung, and she sung, and she sung,
She sung with a merry devotion,
Saying, If ever our dauginter gets wed,
It will help to enlarge her portion.

 Version B

b. 'The Yorkshire Farmer,' Kidson, Traditional Tunes, p. 140,
from The Manchester Songster, 1792.

(There are some slight verbal differences in the three copies,
 but none worthy of notice.)

1 A song I will sing unto you,
A song of a nnerry intent,
It is of a silly old man
That went to pay his rent,
That went to pay his rent.

2 And as he was riding along.
A riding along the highway,
A gentleman-thief steps before the old man 
And thus unto him he did say.

3 'My friend, how dare you ride alone?
For so many thieves there now be;
If any sinould but ligint on you,
They'd rob you of all your nnoney.'

4 'If that they should llght upon me,
I'm sure they 'd be very ill-sped,
For, to tell you the truth, nny kind sir,
In my saddle my money I've hid.'

5 So as they were riding along,
And going downn a steep hill,
The gentleman-thief slipped before the old man
And quickly bid him stand still.

6 The old man, however, being cunning,
As in this world there are many,
He threw tine saddle right over the hedge,
Saying, Fetch it if thou wouldst leave any

7 The thief belong so greedy of money
He thought that of it there'd been bags
-Whipt out a rusty old sword
And chopped the saddle to rags.

8 The old man put his foot in the stirrup
And presently he got astride
He put the theif's horse to the gallop,
You need not bid the old main ride.

9'Nay, stay! nay, stay!' says the thief,
And half the money thou shalt leave;'
Nay, by nny troth,' says the old man,
'For once I have cheated a knave.'

10 And so the old man rode along,
And went with a merry devotion,
Saying, If ever I live to get home,
'Twill enlarge my daughter's portion.

11 And having arrived at home,
And got there with merry intent,
Says he, Landlord, show me a room
And I'll pay you your half-year's rent.

12 They opened the thief's portmanteau,
And from it they took out so bold
A hundred pounds in silver
And a hundred pounds in gold.

19, 20 Oh, when that he came home,
His daughter she looked like a duchess,
And his old woman capered for joy,
And danced him a gig on her crutches.


c-f, the traditional copies, were beyond doubt all	
derived originally from print. c is from a;	
d-f are from another edition, not recovered,	
resembling b. This had variations, espe-	
cially at the beginning and end, of which
some specimens will suffice.	

c. 'Saddle to Rags,' Dixon, Ancient Poems, etc., p. 128,
Percy Society, vol. xvii., taken down from the recitation
 of a Yorkshire yeoman in 1845.

d. 'The Thief Outwitted,' Notes and Queries, Fourth
Series, XI, 112, 1873, taken down by E. Met, Guernsey,
"from the recitation of an old woman now in her eighty-second year,
who learnt it in her childhood freon her father,
a laborer from the neigh borhood of Yeovil."

e. 'The Silly Old Man,' Baring-Gould and Sheppard,
Songs and Ballads of the West, 3d ed., No 18, Pare
p. 38, as snng by the Rev. E. Lusconabe,
a Devonshire man, about 1850 (Part IV, p. xviii).

f. 'The Silly Old Man,' Miss M. H. Nason's 
Nursery Rhymes and Country Songs, p. 43, as sung in Devonshire.

1 Oh 'tis I that will sing you a song,
A song of merry intent;
'Tis about a silly old man
That was going to pay his rent.

2 And as he was riding along,
Along and alone in a lane,
A gentleman-thief overtook him,
And said, Well overtaken, old man!

3 'You're well overtaken, old man,
You're well overtaken by me;'
'Nay; further go,' said the old man,
'I 'm not for thy company.'

4, 6 are wanting, as also in e, f, (and in b).

8(2-4) 'He shall but poorly speed,
For all the money I have
In my old saddle 'tis hid.'

1 Aw come now, I'11 sing you a song,
'Tis a song of right merry intent,
Concerning a silly old man
Who went for to pay his rent.

2 And as this here silly old man
Was riding along the lane,
A gentleman-thief overtook him,
Saying, Well overtkane, old man!

3 'What, well overtaken, do'y say?'
'Yes, well overtaken,' quoth he;
'No, no,' said the silly old man,
'I don't want thy company.'

8 'Why, badly the thief would be sped,
For the money I carry about me
In the quilt o my saddle is hid.'

19, 20 Aw, when to his home he were come,
His daughter he dressd like a duchess,
And his ol woman kicked and she capered for joy,
And at Christmas danced jigs on her crutches.