> Folk Music > Songs > On Monday Morning

A Week’s Work Well Done / On Monday Morning (I Married a Wife)

[ Roud 433 ; Master title: A Week’s Work Well Done ; Laws Q6 ; Ballad Index LQ06 ; VWML GG/1/17/1073 , SBG/3/14/23A , RoudFS/S269594 ; Wiltshire 515 ; Mudcat 19427 ; trad.]

Blyth Voices Folk Songs collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams Marrow Bones The Idiom of the People Songs of the West

William Alexander of Cliddesdon, Hampshire, sang the awful On Monday Morning, a song of a man beating his scolding wife to death, to Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1909. This version was printed in 1959 in Vaughan Williams’ and Lloyd’s The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, which commented:

Baring-Gould, who describes this as a song “relished by married men”, found an early set in a collection of stall balladry, West Country Garlands, date about 1760. He obtained a version from the singing of Robert Hard of South Brent, Devon [VWML RoudFS/S269594] , which he called A Week’s Work Well Done. Our version is sung to a variant of the well-known Turpin Hero tune. Frank Kidson had information that the song was sung by Grimaldi the clown, about 1820.

Ollie Gilbert sang Willow Green to Alan Lomax and Shirley Collins at Timbo, Arkansas, in October 1959. This recording was included in 1997 on the Rounder anthology Ozark Frontier (Southern Journey Volume 7).

Nick Dow sang A Week’s Work Well Done in 1978 on his Dingle’s album Burd Margaret. He noted:

A song of marital discord, rumoured to have been sung in 1820 by the clown Grimaldi.

Mick Ryan sang On Monday Morning in 1978 on his and Jon Burge’s The Leader Tradition album Fair Was the City.

Dave Lowry sang A Week’s Work Well Done on his 2024 WildGoose album Songs of a Devon Man. Bill Crawford noted:

From Sabine Baring-Gould, Songs of the West. The notes in that book state that it was collected from Richard Hard just before he died, but the fair copy manuscript attributes it to Robert Hard, stonebreaker of South Brent [VWML RoudFS/S269594] .


William Alexander sings On Monday Morning

On Monday morning I married a wife,
Thinking to live a sober life;
But as she turned out, I’d better be dead,
The remarkable day that I was wed,
To me rite fol-lol-liddle-lol-le-day.

On Tuesday morning I goes to the wood,
I cut a stick both fine and good.
The finest stick that ever you did see,
I cut him out of a holly, holly tree,
To me rite fol-lol-liddle-lol-le-day.

On Wednesday morning then home I goes,
Thinking a battle I must try.
I beat her about her back and her wig
Until I’d a-broke my holly, holly twig,
To me rite fol-lol-liddle-lol-le-day.

Oh Thursday morning my poor wife,
She was sick and like to die.
If she isn’t better tomorrow to be
The devil may have her tomorrow for me,
To me rite fol-lol-liddle-lol-le-day.

On Friday morning the sun did shine
And I walked out in the midst of my prime.
Oh, the devil he’s come in, in the midst of the game
And he took her away, both blind and lame,
To me rite fol-lol-liddle-lol-le-day.

On Saturday morning it’s five days past,
My poor wife is dead at last.
The big bell shall ring and the little one shall toll
Ad I’ll go home as a jolly old soul,
To me rite fol-lol-liddle-lol-le-day.

On Sunday morning I died without,
I had ne’er a wife to scold me about.
Here’s good luck to my pipe, to my bottle and my friend,
And here’s good luck to a week’s work end,
To me rite fol-lol-liddle-lol-le-day.

Dave Lowry sings A Week’s Work Well Done

On Monday morning I married a wife,
I thought to live a sober life.
As it fell out I was better dead,
Than marks the day when I was wed.

Chorus (after each verse):
Laddy-heigh-ho! Laddy-heigh-ho!
Fal-de-ral-li-do! Laddy-heigh-ho!

On Tuesday morning to my surprise,
A little before the sun did rise,
She rattled her clapper, and scolded more
Than ever I heard in my life before.

On Wednesday morning I went to the wood,
I thought to do my wife some good.
I cuts me a twig of the holly green,
I trust the toughest I’d ever seen.

I hung the stick up well to dry,
I thought on Thursday it to try,
I laid it about her head and her back,
Before my twig began to crack.

On Friday morning to my surprise,
A little before the sun did rise,
She rattled her clapper in scolding tone,
I turn’d my back and I left her alone.

On Saturday morning, as I may say,
As she on her pillow consulting lay,
A Bogie arrived in fume and flame
And carried her off both blind and lame.

On Sunday, neighbours, I dines without
A scolding wife and a brawling rout;
Enjoys my bottle, and my best friend,
Surely this is a brave week’s end.