Mudcat Café message #3526049 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #151087   Message #3526049
Posted By: Richie
13-Jun-13 - 01:06 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
This is another humorus one- The Politic Wife- dating back to 1700s. It gives the reason the devil comes calling- where in "Farmer's Curst" the reason is missing:

    THE POLITIC WIFE; Or, The Devil Outwitted By A Woman. Printed between 1736 and 1763 by W. and C. Dicey, the Printing-Office in Bow-Church-Yard, London

Of all the plagues upon the earth,
That e'er poor man befal,
It's hunger and a scolding wife,   
These are the worst of all:
There was a poor man in our country   
Of a poor and low degree,
And with both these plagues he was troubled,
And the worst of luck had he.

He had seven children by one wife,
And the times were poor and hard,
And his poor toil was grown so bad,
He scarce could get him bread:
Being discontented in his mind,
One day his house he left,
And wandered down by a forest side, O
f his senses quite bereft

As he was wandering up and down,
Betwixt hope and despair,
The Devil started out of a bush,   
And appeared unto him there:
O what is the matter, the Devil he said,   
You look so discontent?
Sure you want some money to buy some bread,
Or to pay your landlord's rent

Indeed, kind sir, you read me right,
And the grounds of my disease,
Then what is your name, said the poor man,
Pray, tell me, if you please?
My name is Dumkin the Devil, quoth he,   
And the truth to you I do tell,
Altho' you see me wandering here,   
Yet my dwelling it is in hell.

Then what will you give me, said the Devil,
To ease you of your want,
And you shall have corn and cattle enough,
And never partake of scant?
I have nothing to give you, said the poor man,   
Nor nothing here in hand,
But all the service that I can do,
Shall be at your command.

Then, upon the condition of seven long years,
A bargain with you I will frame,
You shall bring me a beast unto this place,
That I cannot tell his name:
But, if I tell its name full right,
Then mark what to you I tell,
Then you must go along with me
Directly unto Hell.

This poor man went home joyfully,
And thrifty he grew therefore,
For he had corn and cattle enough,   
And every thing good store.
His neighbours who did live around,   
Did wonder at him much,
And thought he had robb'd or stole,
He was grown so wondrous rich.

Then for the space of seven long years
He lived in good cheer,
But when the time of his indenture grew near,   
He began to fear:
O what is the matter, said his wife,   
You look so discontent?
Sure you have got some maid with child,
And now you begin to repent.

Indeed, kind wife, you judge me wrong,
To censure so hard of me,
Was it for getting a maid with child,   
That would be no felony:
But I have made a league with the Devil,   
For seven long years, no more,
That I should have corn and cattle enough,
And everything good store.

Then for the space of seven long years
A bargain I did frame,
I should bring him a beast unto that place,
He could not tell its name:
But if he tell his name full right,
Then mark what to you I tell,
Then I must go along with him,
Directly unto Hell.

Go, get you gone, you silly old man,
Your cattle go tend and feed,
For a woman's wit is far better than a man's,   
If us'd in time of need:
Go fetch me down all the birdlime you have,   
And set it down on the floor,
And when I have pulled my cloathes all off,
You shall anoint me all o'er.

Now when he had anointed her
From the head unto the heel,
Zounds! said the man, methinks you look   
Just like the very De'el.
Go, fetch me down all the feathers thou hast,   
And lay them down by me,
And I will roll myself therein,
Till never a place go free.

Come, tie a string about my neck,
And lead me to this place,
And I will save you from the Devil,   
If I have but so much grace.
The Devil, he stood roaring out,   
And looked both fierce and bold;
Thou hast brought me a beast unto this place,
And the bargain thou dost hold.

Come, shew me the face of this beast, said the Devil,
Come, shew it me in a short space;
Then he shewed him his wife's buttocks,   
And swore it was her face:
She has monstrous cheeks, the Devil he said,   
As she now stands at length,
Youd take her for some monstrous beast
Taken by Man's main strength.

How many more of these beasts, said the Devil,
How many more of this kind?
I have seven more such, said the poor man,
But have left them all behind.
If you have seven more such, said the Devil,
The truth unto you I tell,
You have beasts enough to cheat me
And all the Devils in Hell.

Here, take thy bond and indenture both,
    I'll have nothing to do with thee:
So the man and his wife went joyfully home   
And lived full merrily.
O, God send us good merry long lives,   
Without any sorrow or woe,
Now here's a health to all such wives
Who can cheat the Devil so.