Roving Bachelor (I), The
DESCRIPTION: Bachelors, be careful before you take a wife. Women are unpredictable. Even Samson and Aristotle erred in marrying. Consider the man who preferred hanging to marriage
EARLIEST DATE: before 1845 (broadsides, Bodleian Harding B 15(263b), Bodleian Harding B 15(267a))
KEYWORDS: shrewishness marriage death humorous nonballad bachelor execution
FOUND IN: US(MA,Ro)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Thompson-Pioneer 86, "Roving Bachelor" (1 text)
Hubbard, #89, "The Roving Bachelor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Bodleian, Harding B 15(263b), "The Roving Bachelor" ("Come all you roving batchelors"), J. Pitts (London), 1819-1844; also Harding B 15(267b), Harding B 11(3350), Harding B 25(1668) [many lines illegible], "Roving Bachelor" (see NOTES)
Bodleian, Harding B 15(267a), "The Roving Batchelor" ("Come all you roving bachelors"), J. Pitts (London), 1819-1844; also Harding B 11(3942), Harding B 17(263a), "The Roving Batchelor[!]"; Harding B 11(1548), Harding B 11(3348), Firth c.26(23), 2806 c.16(268), 2806 c.16(301), Harding B 25(1670), 2806 c.17(370)[many lines illegible], Firth c.20(61)[some lines illegible], "[The] Roving Bachelor" (see NOTES)
NOTES [292 words]: While the "Harding B 15(263b)" and "Harding B 15(267a)" broadsides are clearly the same song and share some lines they have recognizably different sets of verses.
The "Harding B 15(263b)" set includes distinctive verses beginning "For when you think you have them won your business is not well begun," "If she be a beauty her servant you must be," "How she 'll torment you afterwards of boasting of her bachelors," and "And for to meet a virtuous girl I know not where to find one."
The "Harding B 15(267a)" set includes distinctive verses beginning "The fairest of women kind has ne er a fault but two," "Take my advice be ruled by me and single earn your bread," and "For they are such a foolish mind and heed not things of any kind."
Both sets end with the story of the man who would rather be hanged than marry, though the verses differ.
Thompson-Pioneer is closer to the "Harding B 15(263b)" set, including its version of the man going to be hanged, but has its own set of incomplete but distinct verses. - BS
In regard to the reference to Samson and Aristotle, both statements are a little glitchy. Aristotle's wife died young but does not seem to have been a burden on him. I incline to think the Aristotle reference is actually to Socrates and his alleged shrew of a wife, Xanthippe. (I say "alleged" because Socrates was poor, disorganized, stand-offish, and a lousy husband; odds are that Xanthippe was a far better wife than the stories about her imply.)
As for Samson -- he had woman troubles, but not really with his wive(s), because he never actually married. His first love, the Philistine woman, ended up being married to another (Judges, chapters 14-15), and his relationship with Delilah (Judges 16) was an even worse failure.... - RBW
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