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"?
EARLIEST DATE: 1671 (Ebsworth)
KEYWORDS: shrewishness marriage husband wife
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Williams-FolkSongsOfTheUpperThames, p. 305, "Ill Fares the Family" (1 text fragment) (also Williams-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)
NOTES [111 words]: Ebsworth dates the catch to 1671 ("set by John Hilton").
Williams-FolkSongsOfTheUpperThames 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
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