Ill Fares the Family

DESCRIPTION: "A Woman's Rule should ... Only ... guide her household ... So long as ... Husband lasts or Reason. Ill fares the hapless family that shows A Cock that's silent, and a Hen that crows." What's worse: "Obedient Husbands, or commanding Wives"?
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1671 (Ebsworth)
KEYWORDS: shrewishness marriage husband wife
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Williams-Thames, p. 305, "Ill Fares the Family" (1 text fragment) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Mi 600)
ADDITIONAL: J Woodfall Ebsworth, The Roxburghe Ballads, (Hertford, 1891 ("Digitized by Microsoft")), Vol. VII Part 2 [Part 21], p. 294, ("A Woman's Rule shou'd be in such fashion") (1 text)

Roud #1343
NOTES: Ebsworth dates the catch to 1671 ("set by John Hilton").
Williams-Thames has lost the first four lines of the catch though, possibly, the catch was popularly shortened long before Williams heard it.
The Regent's Park & Primrose Hill in Literature and Music site quotes The Diary of Sylas Neville, 1767-1788 for June 23, 1767: "got to Marybourne Gardens to hear ... [glee] of 'The Silent Cock and hen that crows' and others performed with a few fireworks by Blanfield." While it would be more conclusive if the reference had been to "Ill fares the hapless family," it is interesting that the diarist did not refer to the catch as "A Woman's Rule."- BS
Last updated in version 2.6
File: WT305D

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 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.