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Pensioners Complaint

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The Pensioner's Complaint

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The Pensioner's Complaint

Ye neighbors all listen, a story I'll tell
It's of a misfortune that has me befell;
I married a wife and her name it was Nell
She is always a-scolding and bawling.

Eighteen pounds pension I've got in a year,
Which causes my wife to drink whiskey and beer,
Her tongue like a cannon doth sound in my ear,
Before the daylight in the morning.

To kindle the fire it is my first job,
If I don't do it right I've a slap on the gob;
A kick or a clout or a slap on the nob,
I surely will get from my darling.

Then out for the water the kettle to boil,
And when I comes in I must nurse the young child;
I wish I had been kill'd on the banks of the Nile,
Before I had met with my darling.

Then Nell and her gossips sit down to their tea, (tay)
While I in the corner have nothing to say,
Or out in the garden a-digging away,
While Nelly the cups she is tossing.

Then in for their leavings I chance for to hop
While Nell and her gossips are gone to the shop,
Backbiting their neighbors and swallowing their drops
Hard fortune attend on my darling!

My shirt without washing doth stick to my back
While she is a-sporting with Billy or Jack
And running up scores for every nick-knack,
Whilst I must pay up the last farthing.

Without shoe or stocking to cover my feet,
My bed is without either blanket or sheet,
I'm a show to the world when I go in the street,
Oray! what do you think of my bargain?

Her beauty and praise I mean to disclose,
She's dirty and lazy with a short stuffy nose,
A disgrace to the women wherever she goes,
And her clothes all in tatters are hanging,

With a beard on her lip, like a wandering jew,
Not a tooth in her head that is sound, only two,
And the shift on her back neither black, white or blue,
That never was wet with the washing.

I've travell'd all nations, through France and through Spain,
Through Egypt and India and home back again,
At Waterloo wounded where I felt great pain,
And I ne'er met the match of my darling.

To finish my ditty, I formally pray,
Before she drinks any more whiskey or tea,
That something or other may whip her away
Before the daylight in the morning.

From The Constant Lovers, Purslow
Collected from Joseph Taunton, Dorset, 1907
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