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Valar Qringaomis

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Friday, September 09, 2016

Shall I wed an aged man

Fol. 228. The evils incident to marriage between January and May form one of the commonest themes of the ballad-writers : cf. no. XXVI, stanza 4 ; no. LXIV, stanza 23.

The complaint of a widdow against an old man.

To the tune OF Trentam's Toy.

SHALL I wed an aged man,
that groaneth of the Gout,
And lead my lyfe in miserye,
within doores and without?
No ! I will haue a Batcheler,
of lyvely bloud and bone,
To cheare me in my latter dayes,
or els I will haue non.

For yf I take a Batcheler
that can both skyp and springe,
Then he will be my comforter,
to giue me every thinge.
If I be sad, or sorowfull,
at boord or els at bed,
A youngman will be pittyfull,
and help to hould my head.

An aged man is testye,
and set to hoorde and hyde;
With lame legges and restye,
bewayling back and syde.
A young man he is beautyfull,
couragious, trick, and trim ;
And looketh with a merry cheere,
when aged men looke grim.

Better is a Batcheler,
of bone and body sound,
Then is an olde leacherer
with twentye thousand pound.
Who is so bad a market-man,
that buyeth flesh or fishe,
But lightly choseth for to haue
the yongest in his dishe?

Young bloud renueth olde,
as Phisicke doth expresse ;
And age is ill to be contrould,
but cursse where they should blesse :
But yf I haue a young man,
and chaunce to catch the quacke,
He will provide me delicats,
and cheare me vp with sacke.

An aged man is quaffinge
in every cup or can,
with ioynts and synnewes shakinge,
much like a deadly man.
But looke vpon a young man,
in him yow shall espye
A good face, and a iollye cheere,
a pleasant rowlinge eye.

His countenaunce is chearfull,
at bed and eke at boorde;
His talke is never sorrowfull,
but Heigh ! at every word.
An old man's coate it is beraide,
all overthwart the brest.
A young man is well-favored,
well-browed, and finelye drest.

An aged man comes drooping home,
as on that wanteth lyfe. A young man sayes, when he comes in,
' Come, kysse me, gentle wife !'
And yf I take a young man,
although his wealth be small,
If that he vse me honestlye
he shall be lord of all.

Behould the little Spanniell,
and every beast in briefe,
Will likke, and leape vpon, their feete
by whom they find releife.
Much more then will a witty man,
whom natur's worke hath wrought,
Must loue the woman faythfullye,
that maried him of nought.

[L'Envoy]
Therefore I am determined
I cannot liue alone,
But I will haue a Batcheler,
or els I will haue none.

--- Shirburn Ballads, No. LXVI / Anon


In modern English spelling:

SHALL I wed an aged man,
that groaneth of the Gout,
And lead my life in misery,
within doors and without?
No ! I will have a bachelor,
of lively blood and bone,
To cheer me in my latter days,
or else I will have non.

For if I take a bachelor
that can both skip and spring,
Then he will be my comforter,
to give me every thing.
If I be sad, or sorrowful,
at board or else at bed,
A young man will be pitiful,
and help to hold my head.

An aged man is testy,
and set to horde and hide;
With lamey legs and resty,
bewailing back and side.
A young man he is beautiful,
courageous, trick, and trim ;
And looketh with a merry cheer,
when aged men look grim.

Better is a bachelor,
of bone and body sound,
Then is an old lecherer
with twenty thousand pound.
Who is so bad a market-man,
that buyeth flesh or fish,
But lightly choseth for to have
the youngest in his dish?

Young blood reneweth old,
as Physicke doth express ;
And age is ill to be controlled,
but cursed where they should bless :
But if I have a young man,
and chance to catch the quack,
He will provide me delicats,
and cheer me up with sack.

An aged man is quaffing
in every cup or can,
with joints and sinews shaking,
much like a deadly man.
But look upon a young man,
in him you shall espy
A good face, and a jolly cheer,
a pleasant rolling eye.

His countenance is cheerful,
at bed and eke at board;
His talk is never sorrowful,
but hey! at every word.
An old man's coat it is beride,
all overthwart the breast.
A young man is well-favored,
well-browed, and finely dressed.

An aged man comes drooping home,
as on that wanteth life.
A young man says, when he comes in,
' Come, kiss me, gentle wife !'
And if I take a young man,
although his wealth be small,
If that he use me honestly
he shall be lord of all.

Behold the little Spaniel,
and every beast in brief,
Will lick, and leap upon, their feet
by whom they find relief.
Much more then will a witty man,
whom nature's work hath wrought,
Must love the woman faithfully,
that married him of nought.

[L'Envoy]
Therefore I am determined
I cannot live alone,
But I will have a bachelor,
or else I will have none.
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