The Miller of Dee

My informant is from England. He moved to the United States with my grandmother and my mother when my mother was 2. He grew up near London and still has a thick British accent, despite having now lived in the United States since the 1960s. When I go to his house to ask about folklore that he may have learned in England, anything a part of his history, he says, “Any folklore I know I have learned through listening to folk songs. Mostly, old English folk songs.” Music means everything to my grandmother and my informant. He excitedly takes me to his cabinet of CDs where he has a plethora of English and American folk CDs. This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest, because ever since I was little, I cannot remember a time when music wasn’t playing in this house. He wants to play them for me. I ask him to show me some of his favorites.

Informant: “This is a fun one called “The Miller of Dee”...Dee being a river. So the Miller is grinding the wheat. [He sings] “Care for nobody no, not I, for nobody cares for me.” These songs tell you about what life was like then. These are all very well known English songs. If you lived in England, you would know them all, you know? We would sing them in school.”

[He sings the song along with the CD]

The Miller of Dee

There was a jolly miller once,

Lived on the River Dee.

He danced and sang from morn till night,

No lark more blithe than he.

And this the burden of his song

Forever used to be:

‘I care for nobody, no, not I,

If nobody cares from me’


I love my mill, she is to me

Both parent, child and wife.

I would not change my station

For another one in life.

Then push, push, push the bowl, my boys,

And pass it round to me;

The longer we sit here and drink,

The merrier we shall be.


Then like the miller bold and free

Let us rejoice and sing,

The days of youth were made for glee,

And time is on the wing.

This song shall pass from me to thee

Around this jovial ring:

Let heart and voice and all agree

To sing ‘Long live the King!’.