Nobody Cometh to Woo
[Image by Anne Lee]
Recorded in the early 1990s as 'Lucy’s Lament' by Vikki Clayton
On Martinmas eve the dogs did bark,
And I opened the window to see,
When every maiden went by with her spark
But ne’er a one came to me.
And O dear what will become of me?
And O dear what shall I do,
When nobody whispers to marry me—
Nobody cometh to woo?
None's born for such troubles as I be:
If the sun wakens first in the morn
"Lazy hussy" my parents both call me,
And I must abide by their scorn,
For nobody cometh to marry me,
Nobody cometh to woo,
So here in distress must I tarry me—
What can a poor maiden do?
If I sigh through the window when Jerry
The ploughman goes by, I grow bold;
And if I'm disposed to be merry,
My parents do nothing but scold;
And Jerry the clown, and no other,
E’er cometh to marry or woo;
They think me the moral of mother
And judge me a terrible shrew.
For mother she hateth all fellows,
And spinning's my father's desire,
While the old cat growls bass with the bellows
If e’er I hitch up to the fire.
I make the whole house out of humour,
I wish nothing else but to please,
Would fortune but bring a new comer
To marry, and make me at ease!
When I've nothing my leisure to hinder
I scarce get as far as the eaves;
Her head's instant out of the window
Calling out like a press after thieves.
The young men all fall to remarking,
And laugh till they're weary to see't,
While the dogs at the noise begin barking,
And I slink in with shame from the street.
My mother's aye jealous of loving,
My father's aye jealous of play,
So what with them both there's no moving,
I'm in durance for life and a day.
O who shall I get for to marry me?
Who will have pity to woo?
Tis death any longer to tarry me,
And what shall a poor maiden do?
John Clare, Poems: Chiefly from Manuscript
ed. Edmund Blunden and Alan Porter
(London: Cobden-Sanderson, 1920)
Posted by Arborfield at 12:23 pm