Mudcat Café message #3525986 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #151087   Message #3525986
Posted By: Richie
13-Jun-13 - 10:04 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6

After considering the whole ballad, Farmer's Cursst wife, it seems that it is the concluding part of this tale/song as found in Cornwall in 1757: The Devil and the Farmer. The essential stanza is:

O spare a sinful wretch, he cry'd;
Forgiveness but this once afford;
Take all I have— nay, take my bride,
Who tempted me to break my word.

If anyone has infromation about this ballad (see below) let me know.

From: The Gentleman's Magazine, Volume 27

Mr Urban, Cornwall, August 31, 1757. THE fallowing Piece is occasioned by a popular Story, current here in Cornwall , As it is now well known, that the tale Dearth-of Corn did not proceed from a real Scarcity, but from the mercenary Dispositions of the Farmers, in not fending it to Market: this Story may have a moral Effect, if you would give it a Place in your Collection.

... Yours, &c A.B.

The Devil and the Farmer. A Tale.

Addressed to the Corn-Jobbers.

YE Farmers all, with one accord      
Attend the dreadful tale I tell I
And take for once a poet's word,
The truth of it is known full well,

A farmer, in pursuit of gain,
To Bodmin market lately went,
To sell at highest price his grain,   
And gripe the poor, was his intent.

A tinner to our farmer came,   
With proffer'd money in his hands;
The price he asks him for the fame,
"Full twice twelve shillings he demands."

You talk too much, the tinner cries;
The farmer in a passon swore,
And to hit chapman thus replies,
Last night a neighbour ofter'd more.

Than part with it below the price,
   I'd sooner to the devil fell.!
My friend, b much you are too-nice;
I find that we shall never deal;

Now mark th' event.

—On his return,
An ancient gentleman he met,
Who bargain'd with him for the corn,
And for another score they treat.

In ten days time it was agreed,
The farmer mould his corn produce;
(Of which he said he had great need)   
In safety to his mansion house.

The bargain struck, and earnest paid,
The stranger made no longer stay;
The farmer strait repair'd to bed,
And slumber drove his cares away.

Up-rising early the next morn,
He instantly, without delay,
His servants call'd to thrash the corn,
And get it ready 'gainst the day.

Mean while another chapman came,
And ofter'd still a higher price;
Who all his scruples overcame,
And bargain'd with him in a trice.

In expectation of the grain,
A week beyond the time delay'd,
His former chapman waits in vain,
And now a second visit paid.

He rag'd to find himself deceiv'd.
And strait his proper figure took.
The farmer, of his fense bereav'd,
Thro' ev'ry nerve and fibre shook.

With anger kindling in his look,
The devil roll'd his fiery eyes,
And thus with dreadful accent spoke,
"Wretch! answer for thy villainies."

Recovering from his late surprize,
The farmer fell down at his feet;
And with uplifted hands and eyes
Began- his mercy to intreat.

O spare a sinful wretch, he cry'd;
Forgiveness but this once afford;
Take all I have— nay, take my bride,
Who tempted me to break my word.

Talk not of mercy, Satan said,
To such no mercy doth belong;
Who robb'd the lab'rer of his bread,
And deal in rapine, fraud, and wrong.

He caught him fast in his embrace,   
And upwards thro' the chimney went;
And left behind- him in the place
A sulph'rous and unsav'ry scent.

Now farmers all, I pray give ear   
To the conclusion of my song;
No longer fell your corn so dear.
Left you should follow him eer long.

TY Richie