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Lyr Req: Housewife's Lament (Vera Johnson)

Joe Offer 29 Jun 20 - 03:52 PM
Stilly River Sage 29 Jun 20 - 05:29 PM
cnd 29 Jun 20 - 09:58 PM
cnd 29 Jun 20 - 10:01 PM
Jim Dixon 09 Jul 20 - 11:13 AM
Bill D 09 Jul 20 - 12:21 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Housewife's Lament (Vera Johnson)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jun 20 - 03:52 PM

Anybody have complete lyrics?

Vera Johnson's
"Housewife's Lament"
Typical verses:

   Monday morning I sat at home,
   I heard a knock at the door
   And there I saw a jolly tinkerman
   I never had seen before
   He said, "Have you got any holes to block,
   Any pots or pans to mend?
   I can block a hole with a great deal of skill,
   I'm the housewife's dearest friend."
   With the greatest of pleasure, I asked him in,
   And I hoped for a while he would stay.
   But he fixed two pots and a frying-pan
   And then went on his way.

Chorus
   Ah me, for the old ways, ah me, for the old days
   When a workman used quite diff'rent tools
   And he did the job much better.

The song is in the Vera Johnson Songbook, (c)1974 by Zax Music
Publishing. It goes on like this for the whole week, with various
traditional itinerant craftsmen coming to the door, doing what they say they're there to do, and leaving.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.music.folk/Fo0V48jNJJw


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housewife's Lament (Vera Johnson)
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Jun 20 - 05:29 PM

Is that meant to be a parody of the traditional song (HOUSEWIFE'S LAMENT)?


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE HOUSEWIFE'S LAMENT (Vera Johnson)
From: cnd
Date: 29 Jun 20 - 09:58 PM

See also this earlier thread on Vera Johnson here

From http://cfmb.icaap.org/content/30.4/BV30-4art8.pdf:

Monday morning I sat at home, I heard a knock at the door,
And I saw a jolly tinkerman I never had seen before;
He said, "Have you got any holes to block, any pots or pans to mend?
I can block a hole with a deal of skill, I'm the housewife's dearest friend."
With the greatest of pleasure I asked him in, and I hoped for a while he would stay,
But he fixed two pots and a frying pan and then went on his way.

Chorus: Ah me, for the old ways, Ah me, for the old days,
When a workman used quite diff'rent tools, and he did the job much better.

Tuesday morning I sat at home, I heard a knock at the door,
And there I saw a jolly fiddler I never had seen before;
He said, "Would you like me to play tune of a merry pleasant kind?
I can play it fast, I can play it slow, just as you may be inclined."
With the greatest of pleasure I asked him in and I hope for a while he would stay,
But he played two jigs and an eightsome reel and then went on his way.
Chorus

Wednesday morning I sat at home, I heard a knock at the door,
And who should I see but a lusty smith I never had seen before;
He said, "Any blacksmith work today? Now I hope you won't say no,
For my forge is hot and my hammer hard and I'm ready to strike a blow."
With the greatest of pleasure I asked him in and I hoped for a while he would stay,
But he shod my cow (for I had no horse) and then went on his way.
Chorus

Thursday evening I sat at home, I heard a knock at the door,
And who should I see but a jolly miller I never had seen before;
He said, "Have you got any corn to grind? Now the truth to you I'll tell,
All the ladies say when I grind their corn that it's never been ground so well."
With the greatest of pleasure I asked him in and I hoped for a while he would stay,
But he ground a peck and a half of corn and then went on his way.
Chorus

Friday morning I sat home, I heard a knock at the door,
And there I saw a little chimney-sweep I never had seen before;
He said, "Is your chimney clogged up tight? I can sweep it neat and clean,
For my brush is stiff and can do the job, it's the finest brush you've seen."
With the greatest of pleasure I asked him in and I hoped for a while he would stay,
But he filled up a couple of pails with soot and then went on his way.

Chorus
Saturday morning I sat at home, I heard a knock at the door,
And who should I see by an odd-jobs man I never had seen before;
He said, "Have you got any jobs for me'! I can milk or clean the barn,
But the job that I like best is winding up a ball of yam."
With the greatest of pleasure I asked him in and I hoped for a while he would stay,
But he wound a skein of angora wool and then went on his way.
Chorus

Sunday morning I sat at home, I heard a knock at the door,
And there was a German musicianer I never had seen before;
He said, "Is your instrument out of tune? I can fix it up, it's true,
With my tuning fork I can go to work, it will be as good as new."
I said, "Be off with your promises, I've met your kind before,
Go home and fiddle with your music-box and don't come back no more.
Chorus


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housewife's Lament (Vera Johnson)
From: cnd
Date: 29 Jun 20 - 10:01 PM

I also found this version on Facebook here. It appears to be a different song entirely.

The Housewife's Lament

A poem by Vera Johnson

1. One day I was walking,
I heard a complaining,
I saw a poor woman
The picture of gloom.
She gazed at the mud
On her doorstep ('twas raining),
And this was her song
As she wielded her broom:

/Chorus:/
"O life is a toil,
And love is a trouble,
Beauty will fade
And riches will flee,
Wages will dwindle
And prices will double
And nothing is as I
Would wish it to be."

2. "There's too much of worriment
Goes to a bonnet,
There's too much of ironing
Goes to a shirt.
There's nothing that pays for
The time you waste on it,
There's nothing that lasts us
But trouble and dirt.
/Chorus:/

3. "In March it is mud,
It's slush in December,
The midsummer breezes
Are loaded with dust.
In fall the leaves litter,
In muddy September
The wallpaper rots
And the candlesticks rust.
/Chorus:/

4. "There are worms on the cherries
And slugs on the roses,
And ants in the sugar
And mice in the pies.
The rubbish of spiders
No mortal supposes,
And ravaging roaches
And damaging flies.
/Chorus:/

5. "It's sweeping at six
And i's dusting at seven,
It's victuals at eight
And it's dishes at nine.
It's potting and panning
From ten to eleven.
We scarce break our fast
Till we plan how to dine.
/Chorus:/

6. "With grease and with grime
From corner to centre,
Forever at war
And forever alert.
No rest for a day
Lest the enemy enter,
I spend my whole life
In the struggle with dirt.
/Chorus:/

7. "Last night in my dreams
I was stationed forever,
On a far distant rock
In the midst of the sea.
My one task of life
Was a ceaseless endeavor,
To brush off the waves
As they swept over me.
/Chorus:/

8. "Alas! 'Twas no dream -
Ahead I behold it,
I see I am helpless
My fate to avert!"
She lay down her broom,
Her apron she folded.
She lay down and died
And was buried in dirt.

/Chorus:/
"O life is a toil,
And love is a trouble,
Beauty will fade
And riches will flee,
Wages will dwindle
And prices will double
And nothing is as
I Would wish it to be."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housewife's Lament (Vera Johnson)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Jul 20 - 11:13 AM

The poem/song that cnd posted just above, is also in our DigiTrad database and has been posted in several Mudcat threads:

Women's Song Circle
Origins: Poor Old Woman/Housewife's Lament – 5 versions
June 2012 Declutter & Exercise - hothothot!
womens songs

The one posted by Maeve in the "Origins" thread is, I believe, the original: A HOUSEKEEPER'S TRAGEDY by Eliza Sproat Turner, 1872.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housewife's Lament (Vera Johnson)
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Jul 20 - 12:21 PM

see the older thread I refreshed...


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