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Once a Farmer and His Wife

[ Roud 16831 ; trad.]

The Claque sang Once a Farmer in 2008 on their WildGoose CD Sounding Now. They noted:

Dave Robbins is also the source for the song of another family disagreement sorted out in Once a Farmer. It’s the story of the ardour of youth cooling down to an eventual acceptance of the passing of the years. From Herefordshire, we are given to believe.


The Claque sing Once a Farmer

Once a farmer and his wife
Had cause for disputation,
They were used to lively strife
And wordy altercation,
“Goodman”, says she, “You are too free,
And too open handed;”
“Goodwife”, says he, “You let me be,
I will not be commanded!”

Then when harvest time came round,
And boys to girls were racing,
Oft the farmer’s wife had found
He would the girls be chasing.
“Goodman”, says she, “You are too free,
And too open hearted;”
“Goodwife”, says he, “You let me be,
Or we shall soon be parted.”

Long, long years did pass away
But still they kept on railing;
Till at last one winter’s day,
She said, as she was ailing,
“I am too old your ways to scold;
I think your ways are mended.”
He said, “You’re right, good wife, quite right.”
And so the matter ended.