My wife will be my Ma¥er.
Or, The Married-man's Complaint again¥ his unruly Wife.
The Tune is, A Taylor is a man.


S I was walking fo°th of late,
  I heard a Man complaining,
With that I drew me near to him,
     to know the cauƒe and meaning
Of this his ƒo°row, pain and grief,
     which b°ed him ƒuch diƒa¥er.
Alas, quoth he, what ƒhall I do,
     my wife will be my Ma¥er.
But if ever I am a Widower,
    and another wife do marry,
I mean to keep her poor and bare,
 and the purƒe I mean to carry.

If I ƒhould give her fo°ty pound,
     within her ap°on folding,
No longer then she's telling ont,
     her tongue would ne're leave ƒcolding,
As Eƒops Dog barkt at the Moon,
     thinking fo° to di¥a¥ her,
So doth my wife ƒcold without cauƒe,
     and ¥rives to be my Ma¥er;
But if ever, &c.

Were I ƒo ¥rong as Hercules,
     o° wiƒer then Apollo,
Or had I Icarus wings to flye,
     my wife would after follow.
Or ƒhould I live as many years,
     as ever did King Ne¥or,
Yet I do greatly ¥and in fear,
     my wife would be my Ma¥er.
But if ever, &c.

I know no cauƒe no° reaƒon why,
     that she with me should jangle,
I never gave her cauƒe at all,
     to make her with me w°angle;
I pleaƒe her ¥ill in what I may,
     and do no jot di¥a¥ her,
Yet ƒhe doth ¥rive both night and day,
     always to be my Ma¥er,
But if ever I am a Widdower,
    and another wife do marry,
I mean to keep her poor and bare,
    and the purƒe I mean to carry.

Every mo°ning make a fire,
  all which is done to eaƒe her,
I get a Nutmeg, make a toa¥,
     in hope therewith to pleaƒe her;
Of a cup of nappy ale and ƒpice,
     of which ƒhe is fir¥ ta¥er,
And yet this cros-grain'd quean will ƒcold
     and ¥rive to be my ma¥er.
But if ever, &c.

I waƒh the diƒhes, waƒh the houƒe,
     I dreƒs her wholƒom dyet,
I humour her in every thing,
     becauƒe I would be quiet:
Of every ƒeveral diƒh of meat,
     she'l ƒurely be fir¥ ta¥er,
And I am glad to pick the bones,
     she is ƒo much my ma¥er:
But if ever, &c.

Sometimes she'l ƒit while day gives light
     in company with good fellows,
In Taverns and in bowling Kens,
     o° in ƒome pimping Ale-houƒe;
& when she comes home drunk at night,
     though I do not di¥a¥ her,
She'l fling she'l throw, she'l ƒcratch and bit
     and ¥rive to be my Ma¥er.
But if ever, &c.

Her bed I make both ƒoft and fine,
     and put on shoos completely,
Her shoos and ¥ockings I pull off,
     and lay her down mo¥ neatly:
I cover her and keep her warm,
     fo° fear I ƒhould di¥a¥ her,
I hug her kindly in my arms,
     yet ¥ill she'l be my ma¥er:
But if ever, &c.

And when I am with her in bed,
     she doth not uƒe me well ƒir,
She'l w°ing my noƒe, and pull my ears,
     a pittiful caƒe to tell ƒir:
And when I am with her in bed,
     not meaning to mole¥ her,
She'l kick me out at the beds feet,
     and ƒo become my ma¥er:
But if ever, &c.

And thus you hear how cruelly
     my wife doth ¥ill abuƒe me;
At bed, at board, at noon and night,
     she always doth miƒuƒe me:
But if I were a lu¥y Man,
     and able fo° to ba¥ her,
Then would I ƒurely uƒe ƒome means,
     that she should not be my ma¥er.
But if ever, &c.

You Batchelo°s that ƒweethearts have,
     when as you are a Wooing,
Be ƒure you look befo°e you leap,
     fo° fear of your undoing:
The after wit is not the be¥,
     and he that weds in ha¥ ƒir,
May like to me bewail his caƒe,
     if his wife do p°ove his Ma¥er:
But if ever, &c.

You Married Men that have good wives
     I wiƒh you deal well by them,
Fo° they mo°e p°ecious are then gold,
     if once you come to try them:
A good wife makes a huƒband glad,
     then let him not di¥a¥ her,
But a ƒcold will make a Man run mad,
     if once she p°oves his Ma¥er,
But if ever, &c.

Printed for F. Coles,T. Vere, I. Wright, and I. Clark.

C. M. Simpson in The British Broadside Ballad and Its Music says that no 
music appears to have survived for "A Tailor is a man" (footnote 2, p. 575). Bruce 
Olson suggests the related "My love is gone to Jamaica" (Olson B238) 
or "Stingo" (Olson B450, B451). 

The tune starts automatically if your browser plays midi files (see note).


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Textual Notes

The ballad "My wife will be my Master" was printed in London between 1674 and 1679, 
the duration of this particular partnership of printers. 

The original is in the Bodleian Library at Oxford; a reproduction is available on microfilm in Early English Books, 1641-1700, 1765: 21. Indexed by Wing M3171B and ESTC R214291. For the facsimile, see recto and verso.

1999 Francis Steen, Communication Studies Department, University of California Los Angeles
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