But the Mortgage Worked the Hardest

DESCRIPTION: "We worked through spring and winter, Through summer and through fall, But the mortgage worked the hardest." Conditions change; crops are good or bad, there are restful days, but the mortgage is always there. Eventually the farm wife dies of the mortgage
AUTHOR: Will M. Carleton (1845-1912)
EARLIEST DATE: 1900 ("The International Library of Famous LIterature, Volume 19," available on Google Books)
KEYWORDS: humorous money farming hardtimes death
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Welsch-NebraskaPioneerLore, pp. 50-51, "But the Mortgage Worked the Hardest" (1 text)
NOTES [105 words]: Welsch-NebraskaPioneerLore, p. 50, claims that "During the hard times of the 1890's, this song... was quite popular in Nebraska." But the book offers no proof; I can find no sign of traditional collections, or of a tune -- and although Will M. Carleton wrote quite a bit of poetry, some of it published in books with the word "ballad" in the title (e.g. "Farm Ballads," "City Ballads"), he doesn't seem to have been popular in tradition; the only traditional piece I know of that might be his is "The Murder of Alan Beyne." That a poem such as this, about the troubles of farmers plagued by bankers, was popular I do not doubt. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.6
File: Wels050

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