DESCRIPTION: "Hecketty Pecketty needles and pins" Sorrow begins when a woman marries. Man's love is all "my eye" [nonsense]. You wash and brew and mend his socks while he's out drinking. The singer prefers to remain an old maid.
EARLIEST DATE: 1904 (Reeves/Sharp-TheIdiomOfThePeople)
KEYWORDS: marriage work drink nonballad husband oldmaid wife
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Reeves/Sharp-TheIdiomOfThePeople 42, "Hecketty Pecketty" (1 text)
NOTES [172 words]: Alternatively, this can be "Higgledy! Piggledy! Needles and pins ...." (Helena Swan, Dictionary of Contemporary Quotations (London, 1904 ("Digitized by Google")), p. 364). On the other side is "the old saw," "Needles and pins, needles and pins, When a man marries his sorrow begins" ("Soapey Sponge's Sporting Tour" in W. Harrison Ainsworth, editor, The New Monthly Magazine and Humorist, (London, 1851 ("Digitized by Google")), Vol. XCI, p. 321). - BS
The unfathomable Katherine Elwes Thomas, The Real Personages of Mother Goose, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., 1930, p. 75, says that the "When a man marries his sorrows begin(s)" form is a reference to Henry VIII and his fifth wife, Katherine Howard. Given that the whole thing comes out of Thomas's imagination anyway, it's not obvious why Thomas decided to apply this song to Howard, given that she didn't give Henry any trouble; it was Howard herself who soon got in trouble when she got bored with her obnoxious, overweight, probably almost-impotent tyrant of a husband. - RBW
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