The English And Scottish Popular Ballads


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278A: The Farmer's Curst Wife

278A.1	 THERE was an old farmer in Sussex did dwell,
	 (chorus of whistlers)
	 There was an old farmer in Sussex did dwell,
	 And he had a bad wife, as many knew well.
	 (chorus of whistlers)
278A.2	 Then Satan came to the old man at the plough:
	 'One of your family I must have now.
278A.3	 'It is not your eldest son that I crave,
	 But it is your old wife, and she I will have.'
278A.4	 'O welcome, good Satan, with all my heart!
	 I hope you and she will never more part.'
278A.5	 Now Satan has got the old wife on his back,
	 And he lugged her along, like a pedlar's pack.
278A.6	 He trudged away till they came to his hall-gate;
	 Says he, Here, take in an old Sussex chap's mate.
278A.7	 O then she did kick the young imps about;
	 Says one to the other, Let's try turn her out.
278A.8	 She spied thirteen imps all dancing in chains,
	 She up with her pattens and beat out their brains.
278A.9	 She knocked the old Satan against the wall!
	 'Let's turn her out, or she'll murder us all.'
278A.10	 Now he's bundled her up on his back amain,
	 And to her old husband he took her again.
278A.11	 'I have been a tormentor the whole of my life,
	 But I neer was tormented so as with your wife.'

278B: The Farmer's Curst Wife

278B.1	 THE auld Deil cam to the man at the pleugh,
	 Rumchy ae de aidie
	 Saying, I wish ye gude luck at the making o yer sheugh.
	 Mushy toorin an ant tan aira.
278B.2	 'It's neither your oxen nor you that I crave;
	 It's that old scolding woman, it's her I must have.'
278B.3	 'Ye're welcome to her wi a' my gude heart;
	 I wish you and her it's never may part.'
278B.4	 She jumped on to the auld Deil's back,
	 And he carried her awa like a pedlar's pack.
278B.5	 He carried her on till he cam to hell's door,
	 He gaed her a kick till she landed in the floor.
278B.6	 She saw seven wee deils a sitting in a raw,
	 She took up a mell and she murdered them a'.
278B.7	 A wee reekit deil lookit owre the wa:
	 'O tak her awa, or she'll ruin us a'.'
278B.8	 'O what to do wi her I canna weel tell;
	 She's no fit for heaven, and she'll no bide in hell.'
	 * * * * * * * *
278B.9	 She jumpit on to the auld Deil's back,
	 And he carried her back like a pedlar's pack.
	 * * * * * * * *
278B.10	 She was seven years gaun, and seven years comin,
	 And she cried for the sowens she left in the pot.

Next: 279. The Jolly Beggar