Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Add: Widow's Curse (A Warning to Youth)

Joe Offer 23 Feb 11 - 02:34 AM
Joe Offer 23 Feb 11 - 04:36 AM
MartinRyan 23 Feb 11 - 04:41 AM
GUEST,Richard I 23 Feb 11 - 05:47 AM
GUEST,Grishka 23 Feb 11 - 07:22 AM
Jim Dixon 27 Feb 11 - 01:39 PM
SINSULL 28 Feb 11 - 01:14 PM
Artful Codger 01 Mar 11 - 01:29 AM
Joe_F 01 Mar 11 - 05:55 PM
GUEST,Grishka 02 Mar 11 - 05:38 AM
Artful Codger 03 Mar 11 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Mar 11 - 11:28 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Lyr Add: Widow's Curse (A Warning to Youth)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 02:34 AM

"Widow's Curse" is the song for 23 February in Jon Boden's A Folk Song a Day project. I didn't see mention of it at Mudcat, although Reinhard Zierke has a page on the song here (click) with a transcription of Bellowhead's recording. Reinhard says Pete Flood discovered this song in a broadside and set it for the Bellowhead version. The tune didn't work for unaccompanied singing, so Boden set it to "Rounding the Horn."
Gee, I wonder if my wayward children would have turned out different, if I had only memorized something like this to recite to them at bedtime.....
I found several books with the lyrics at Google Books. The earliest one was 1810, Old ballads: historical and narrative, with some of modern date, Volume 1 By Thomas Evans

A WARNING TO YOUTH (WIDOW'S CURSE)

LXXVII.
"A NEW BALLAD,"

INTITULED,
A Warning to Youth, shewing the lewd life of a Marchant's Sonne of London, and the miserie that at the last he sustained by his notoriousnesse."
To the tune of Lord Darley.
[From a black letter copy printed for the Assigns of Symcocke.]

In London dwelt a merchant man,
That left unto his son
A thousand pounds in land a year,
To spend when he was gone:

With coffers cramm'd with golden crowns,
Most like a father kind,
To have him follow his own steps,
And bear the self same mind.

Thus every man doth know, doth know,
And his beginning see,
But none so wise can shew, can shew,
What will his ending be.

No sooner was his father dead,
And closed in his grave,
But this his wild and wanton son,
His mind to lewdness gave.

And being but of tender years
Found out such company,
Which prov'd his fatal overthrow,
And final misery.

In gluttony and drunkenness
He daily took delight,
And still in strumpet's company
He spent the silent night,

Forgetting quite that drunkenness,
And filthy lechery,
Of all the sins will soonest bring
A man to misery.

Within the seas of wanton love,
His heart was drowned so deep,
A night he could not quietly
Without strange women sleep.

And therefore kept them secretly
To feed his foul desire,
Apparrell'd all like gallant youths
In pages' trim attire.

Their garments were of crimson silk,
Bedeckt with cloth of gold,
Their curled hair was white as milk,
Most comely to behold.

He gave them for their cognizance
A purple bleeding heart,
In which two silver arrows seem'd
The same in twain to part.

Thus secret were his wanton sports,
Thus private was his pleasure,
Thus harlots in the shape of men,
Did waste away his treasure,

Oh, woe to lust and treachery!
Oh, woe to such a vice!
That buys repentance all too late;
And at too dear a price.

Yet he repented not at all,
So wilful was his mind,
He could not see his infamy,
For sin had made him blind.

But in his heart desired a change
Of wanton pleasures so,
That day by day he wishes still,
Strange women for to know.

And so discharging of his train,
And selling of his land,
To travel into country's strange,
He quickly took in hand.

And into Antwerp speedily,
Thus all aflaunt he goes,
To see the dainty Flemish girls,
And gallant Dutchland froes.

For still, quoth he, the Dutchland froes
Are kind to Englishmen,
I'll have my pleasure of those girls,
Or never come again:

And being arriv'd in Antwerp streets,
He met a lovely dame,
That was a widow's daughter dear,
Of good report and fame.

Her beauty, like the purple rose,
So glistered in his eye,
That ravish'd with the same, he crav'd
Her secret company.

But she like to an honest maid.
By no means would consent,
To satisfy his lustful eye,
As was his false intent.

An hundred days he wholly spent,
As many nights in vain,
As many angels he consum'd,
Her maidenhead to gain.

But nothing he prevail'd at all,
   Untill that Satan's aid,
And cursed counsel helping him,
For to deflower this maid.

For like a lustful lecher he
Found such convenient time,
That he enforced her to drink,
Till she was drunk with wine.

And being overcharged with wine,
As maiden-heads be weak,
He ravish'd her there, when that she
Could no resistance make.

For being senseless there, she lost
Her sweet virginity,
Which she had kept full twenty years,
With great severity.

Therefore, good virgins, take good heed,
Lest you be thus beguiled,
When wine is settled in your brain,
You may be got with child.

And mark, I pray, what then befell
Unto this modest dame,
When she recovers her lost sense
And knew of her defame.

In pining grief she languish'd long
Like Philomel by night,
And would not come, for very shame,
In honest maidens sight.

Her womb at last began to swell,
Her babe received life;
And being neither widow nor maid,
Nor yet a married wife,

Did wish that she had ne'er been born,
Or in her cradle died,
Then angels at the gate of heaven
Had crown'd her virgin bright.

This babe that breedeth in my womb,
Quoth she, shall ne'er be born,
Nor called a bastard by such wives
That hold such love in scorn,

For I, a strumpet in disgrace,
Though one against my will,
Before I will so shame my friends,
My dear life's blood I'll spill.

For as with wine I was deceiv'd,
And made a vitious dame,
So will I wash away with wine,
'My scarlet spots of shame.

Then drinking up her burning wine,
She yielded up her breath,
By which likewise the unborn babe,
Was scalded unto death.

Her mother falling on her knees
To heaven did cry and call;
If ever widow's curse, quoth she,
On mortal man did fall,

Then say, Amen, to mine, O Lord,
That he may never thrive,
That was the cause of this mischance,
But rot away alive!

His nails from off his fingers dropt,
His eyes from out his head,
His toes they rotted from his feet,
Before that he was dead.

His tongue that had false-sworn so oft
To compass his desire,
Within his mouth doth glow and burn
Like coals of sparkling fire.

And thus in torment in his sin
This wicked caitiff died,
Whose hateful carcase after death
In earth could not abide.

But in the maws of carrion crows,
And ravens made a tomb,
A vengeance just on those that use
On such vile sins presume.

For widows' curses have full oft
Been felt by mortal wights,
And for oppressed widows wrongs
Still heavenly angels fight.

For when King Henry the Sixth by force
Was murdered in the tower,
And his fair queen a widow made
By crook-back'd Richard's power,

She so exclaimed to the heavens,
For to revenge that deed,
That they might die in such like sort,
Which caused him to bleed.

Her curses so prevail'd, God wot,
That every one was slain,
Or murder'd by like cruell hand,
Not one there did remain.

Both crook-back'd Richard and his mates,
Lord Lovel and Buckingham,
With many more, did feel her curse,
Which needless are to name.

For widows' wrongs still pierce the gate
Of God's celestial throne,
And heaven itself will still revenge
Oppressed widows moans.

Take heed, take heed, you wanton youths,
Take heed by this mishap,
Lest for your lust and lechery,
You be caught in a trap.

Leave off your foul abuses,
You shew to maids and wives,
And by this wanton merchant's fall,
Learn how to mend your lives.



Click here for a barely-legible broadside at Bodleian Library Ballads.

This version (click) is very legible, and has 196 lines. I dare somebody to memorize that....and then explain why they would memorize such a thing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Widow's Curse (A Warning to Youth)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 04:36 AM

Now, it would really make me feel good if somebody would step up to the plate and tell me they actually read all fifty verses that I posted. I admit I got the text from an OCR, but I proofed and corrected the whole darn thing....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Widow's Curse (A Warning to Youth)
From: MartinRyan
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 04:41 AM

Think I'll wait for the movie...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Widow's Curse (A Warning to Youth)
From: GUEST,Richard I
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 05:47 AM

Thanks, that's very interesting. Having seen the song on AFSAD, I read the words on the "Mainly Norfolk" website, so it's interesting to see this Broadside in full. I have to say in all honesty, I don't find this full version as interesting. I guess that's parly because of the length, but even more than that, it seems to have an overabundance of forced rhymes and 'junk words' inserted for metrical purposes (yes, I know that's often the way with broadsides) - I guess the Bellowhead version is 'abridged' with such considerations in mind? Or are they using a different source? (That seems unlikely, as Mainly Norfolk implies that this is based on the Broadside in the Bodleian, but I can see that in fact that version has the words more or less as you've posted them here.)

Either way, I was a bit thrown off by the reference to the tune (on Mainly Norfolk and on the Bodleian broadside) "The Lady Darcy", which I couldn't find and further reference to via google. I see that you've got here "To the tune of Lord Darley", which is slightly more helpful, in that it links to a mudcat thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Widow's Curse (A Warning to Youth)
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 07:22 AM

Martin, try this one.

Il dissoluto punito is a timeless media topic, still consumed eagerly in recent-day's tabloid or yellow press, films, soup operas etc. Joe, yes, I did read and enjoy the text; too bad it does not disclose any better tricks than wine and false-swearing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Widow's Curse (A Warning to Youth)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 27 Feb 11 - 01:39 PM

Yes, Joe, I read the whole thing, and a delight to read it was, too, although I don't think I'll memorize or sing it. Thanks for posting it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Widow's Curse (A Warning to Youth)
From: SINSULL
Date: 28 Feb 11 - 01:14 PM

Good grief! I read it. Could you actually drink enough scalding hot wine to kill yourself?
M


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Widow's Curse (A Warning to Youth)
From: Artful Codger
Date: 01 Mar 11 - 01:29 AM

Soup operas? Like "Riboletta", "Caldoverde Rusticana", "Mangeons, Lescault", "The Flying Dutchoven", "Madame Butterbean", "Mulligatanhaüser" and "The Chowder of the Regiment"?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Widow's Curse (A Warning to Youth)
From: Joe_F
Date: 01 Mar 11 - 05:55 PM

By all means, let's have the movie. I want to see that fellow's toes rot off.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Widow's Curse (A Warning to Youth)
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 05:38 AM

AC, :-) you got it! Rakes like Don Giovanni are said to sup with the devil.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Widow's Curse (A Warning to Youth)
From: Artful Codger
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 03:15 PM

Il Commenddachefondacacciatore!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Widow's Curse (A Warning to Youth)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 11:28 AM

Very clever, Artful. I enjoyed your post.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 25 September 10:56 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.