Roll Me From the Wall
DESCRIPTION: The singer is courted by young men who wish to roll her from the wall. Her parents force her to marry an impotent old man. He dies and leaves her land and money. She marries a young man who does roll her from the wall but spends all her money.
EARLIEST DATE: 1970 (Morton-Ulster)
KEYWORDS: age marriage sex death money
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Morton-Ulster 11, "Roll Me From the Wall" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Roger deV. Renwick, _Recentering Anglo/American Folksong: Sea Crabs and Wicked Youths_, University Press of Mississippi, 2001, p. 62, "Roll Me From the Wall" (1 text)
cf. "The Foot of the Mountain Brow (The Maid of the Mountain Brow)" [Laws P7] (tune)
cf. "Maids When You're Young Never Wed an Old Man" (theme) and references there
NOTES: Jim Carroll's notes to IRTravellers01: "Arranged or 'made' marriages were very much an accepted part of rural life in Ireland up to comparatively recent times... Women from poor house-holds which were unable to support the whole family would readily marry older farmers looking for a housekeeper, or maybe widowers with young children to care for." - BS
There was an additional reason for this well-attested problem: The shortage of land in pre-famine Ireland. Since a boy could not marry until he had land to support his family, he had to wait until his father died -- and even that might not leave enough property for marriage. So there was a shortage of eligible young men, forcing the women either to wait themselves (which meant more burdens on their parents) or to marry a widower.
Of course, the plot predates Irish overpopulation issue. This is basically the story of Chaucer's Wife of Bath, minus a few husbands. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.