The Robber and the Maid

The Robber and the Maid
All for a North country damsel,
From market to market did ride;
She met with a highway robber,
He give her a sorrowful blow.
As sung by Lemmy Brazil & Phoebe Loveridge, Gloucester 5 January 1967 (Springthyme 67.1.34 & 35). In: Shepheard, Peter. Folk Songs and Ballads of the Brazil Family of Gloucester (1967).


All for a North country damsel,
From market to market did ride;
She met with a highway robber,
He give her a sorrowful blow.

He’s stripped the poor girl stark naked,
And give her his horse to hold;
And while he was searching her parcel,
The poor girl stood trembling with cold.

She stepped her foot into the stirrup,
And mounted the horse like a man;
Over hedges and ditches she galloped,
Saying, “Catch me bold rogue if you can!”

He said, “Stop girl, stop girl have patience,
Here is your money and clothes.”
She said. “You might keep them kind sir and you’re welcome,
You might keep them kind sir if you choose.”

She rode to the gates of her father,
She shouted all over the farm;
Saying, “Dear father I’ve been in great danger,
But the rogue he has done me no harm.”

She placed the grey mare in the stable,
She spread the white sheets on the floor;
They counted her money twice over,
She had five thousand bright sovereigns or more.

“Dear daughter if you own that fortune,
On top of it I’ll give you more;
And if you ever live to get married,
It will keep the cold winds from your door.”
Still a remarkably popular song in the 1960s and 1970s. The travellers often referred to it as Catch Me Bold Rogue if You Can - one of the popularly remembered lines in the song. See Denny Smith: The Robber & the Maid (66.5.10) and Bob Penfow & Joe Davies: Catch Me Bold Rogue (66.7.6). Also known as The Highwayman Outwitted (Roud 2638; Laws L2). The first four verses are from Lemmy, the last three from Phobe who had a different first verse and an additional second:

There lived a rich farmer in Felton,
To market his daughter did go;
For his daughter not being afraid,
As she been on the King’s highway before.

She met with two brave hearts they were robbers,
Two pistols they hold to her breast;
Saying, “Your clothes and your money we’re after,
Else we’ll take your sweet life from this world.”


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