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Nobody's counsel to choose a wife
Pepys, i, 382, B.L., two woodcuts, six columns.
The printer, A.M., was probably Augustine Matthewes, whose publications appeared during 1619-1638. The exact date of this ballad cannot be determined, but may be assumed to be about 1626. It is only another instance of the enjoyment ballad-writers derived from comparing the respective merits of widows and maidens as wives. Here the comparison is all to the advantage of widows, and the author found it convenient to hide his identity under the nom de guerre of Nobody. In spite of their merits, however, widows were, according to ballad-writers, often unlucky in choosing husbands: an interesting ballad in which this ill luck is pointed out occurs in the Pepys Collection (1, 284)—"A merry new Song of A rich Widdowes wooing, That married a young man to her owne vndooing." For comments on the tune see the introduction to No. 49.
To the Tune of the wanton Wife of Westminster.
I LEt Young men giue eare vnto that I reherse, And thinke good the subiect
though set downe in verse: Nobody vnto you,
will kindly relate: The difference twixt Maydens
and Widdowes estate, When ere they be had,
they both will proue bad: