Be Careful in Choosing a Wife
DESCRIPTION: Beware. Women are deceitful and unkind and the silliest will outwit any man. When a squaller is born you must work harder. Your wife won't wash shirts or make you breakfast or dinner. She'll beat you if you don't put the squaller to sleep at night.
EARLIEST DATE: before 1821 (broadside, Bodleian 2806 c.17(23))
KEYWORDS: shrewishness warning ordeal nonballad baby husband wife
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Reeves-Sharp 95, "Single Men's Warning" (1 text)
Bodleian, 2806 c.17(23), "Be Careful in Choosing a Wife" ("Now come all young men that are going to wed"), G. Thompson (Liverpool), 1789-1820; also Harding B 11(2927), Firth c.20(50), Firth c.20(49), Harding B 11(219), Firth b.25(533), Harding B 11(3225), Harding B 11(1735), Harding B 11(1735), Harding B 20(145), 2806 c.14(65), Harding B 11(2320), Harding B 11(678), Harding B 15(19b), Harding B 11(220), Harding B 17(19b)[a few words are illegible], "Be Careful in Choosing a Wife"
NLScotland, L.C.Fol.178.A.2(055), "Be Careful in Choosing a Wife" ("Now all you young men who are going to wed"), James Lindsay (Glasgow), 1852-1859
NOTES [110 words]: Richard Greene, editor, A Selection of English Carols, Clarendon Medieval and Tudor Series, Oxford/Clarendon Press, 1962, p. 241, suggests a sort of thematic kinship between this song and his carol #82, pp. 144-145, "(How, hey, It is non les: I dar not seyn quan che seygh[t], 'Pes!')/" Certainly there are common elements -- e.g., in both, the man comes home from the plow and finds no food on the table. But I would not go so far as to suggest that the one derives from the other; Greene's piece, from British Library MS. Sloane 2593, is of the fifteenth century. For more on the Sloane manuscript, see the notes to "Robyn and Gandeleyn" [Child 115]. - RBW
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