The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #74747   Message #3013440
Posted By: Joe Offer
22-Oct-10 - 09:18 PM
Thread Name: ADD:Young Woman Who Swallowed a Lie (Meredith Tax)
Subject: DT Corr: Young Woman Who Swallowed a Lie
This is what I guess would be the definitive version of the lyrics to this song. The DT version isn't bad, but this one should be easier to figure out. I found it in a long Sing Out! Magazine article about women's songs. The article was written by Meredith Tax, who wrote this song. The article's introduction says the following about Tax:
THERE WAS A YOUNG WOMAN WHO SWALLOWED A LIE
(words by Meredith Tax)

There was a young woman who swallowed a lie,
We all know why she swallowed that lie,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was a young woman who swallowed a rule,
"Live to serve others," she learned it in school.
She swallowed the rule to hold up the lie,
We all know why she swallowed that lie,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was a young woman who swallowed some fluff,
Lipstick and candy and powder and puff.
She swallowed the fluff to sweeten the rule,
She swallowed the rule to hold up the lie,
We all know why she swallowed that lie,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was a young woman who swallowed a line,
"I like 'em dumb, baby, you suit me fine."
She swallowed the line to tie up the fluff...

There was a young woman who swallowed a pill,
Might have said "no," but she hadn't the will.
She swallowed the pill to go with the line...

There was a young woman who swallowed a ring,
Looked like a princess and felt like a thing.
She swallowed the ring to make up for the pill...

There was a young woman who swallowed some Spock
"Stay at home mother, take care of your flock."
She swallowed the Spock to go with the ring...

One day this young woman woke up and she said
"I've swallowed so much that I wish I were dead
I swallowed it all to go with the Spock
I swallowed the Spock to go with the ring
I swallowed the ring to make up for the pill
I swallowed the pill to go with the line
I swallowed the line to tie up the fluff
I swallowed the fluff to sweeten the rule
I swallowed the rule to hold up the lie
Why in the world did I swallow that lie?
Perhaps I'll die."

She ran to her sister, it wasn't too late
To be liberated, regurgitate.
She threw up the Spock and she threw up the ring
Looked like a princess and felt like a thing
She threw up the pill and she threw up the line
   "I like 'em dumb, baby, you suit me fine."
She threw up the fluff and she threw up the rule
   "Live to serve others," she learned it in school
And last, but not least, she threw up the lie
We all know why she threw up that lie
SHE WILL NOT DIE!


On at least one recording, Pete Seeger sang the "rule" as "Live to serve men," which I think adds power to the song.

Tune: There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly (Alan Mills?)
Words by Meredith Tax, copyright 1970

Source: Sing Out! The Folk Song Magazine, Volume 20, Number 3 (Jan/Feb 1971), page 17.
Thanks to Bob "Deckman" Nelson for giving me a huge supply of old Sing Out! magazines.