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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleGossiping wife
Roud No.2658
Collected FromBrown, William
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 77
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 22nd July, 1916, p 3, Part 38, No. 3
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Of all the wives that plague men's lives,
And keep them from their rest,
A gossiping wife or a passionate wife,
Pray which should you think best?
Why a passionate wife give me for life,
She's never given to roam;
But a gossiping wife goes cadging about
She's got such a clacking tongue.


A gossiping wife goes cadging about,
Click - clack, but never at home;
She minds everybody else's business abroad,
But can never mind her own.

Verse 2

A gossiping wife I've got for my lot,
She is such a torment unto me,
She is never at home, I do declare,
But at breakfast, dinner and tea;
And as soon as ever my back is turned,
Away out of the house goes she
To a neighbours house, with a dozen more,
With a child set on her knee.


Verse 3

Now, when they are all well and set,
If on them you should choose to pounce,
They out of the dozen you'll be sure to hear six
A-clacking all at once.
Click clack goes all their tongues,
They go just like whips all,
And when they have done not one half of them knows
What the others have been clacking about.


Verse 4

When up steps one with a tongue a yard long,
Saying - "What do you think I've heard?'
Your husband was with another woman last night,
Tis true upon my word!
You know I always speak the truth,
Whenever we do meet."
When all the people know full well,
She's the biggest liar in the street.


Verse 5

Now if a man could but invent,
Such a thing as a gossip spring,
For to stop all gossiping wives' tongues,
He would soon be rich as the king;
For there's many a man I know full well,
Would employ that man, it is true,
For to stop his wife from going clacking abroad,
When she's got something else to do.

Print Song Lyrics
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'Songs satirising the weaker sex are rather abundant. If we had the views of the ladies concerning their tyrants and detractors they might have proved none the less sarcastic and damaging. It is possible too, that the castigations would have been equally well merited. Words of William Brown, Driffield. The song has been found in several parts of England.'

Note 2

Verse 4 is heavily covered in blue crayon, and does not appear in the WGS version.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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