Ill Wife


“Ill Wife,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed May 20, 2022,

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Ill Wife


One leaf typewritten on the front side. The document is in good physical condition. The document was laminated. There is lamination-related creasing on the document.


Folk songs -- United States Marital conflict -- Songs and music Marriage -- Songs and music


W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University

Date Created



I. G. Greer


The images and audio files contained in the "So Mote It Ever Be: The Folksong Heritage of North Carolina's Northern Blue Ridge Mountains" collection are available for free personal, non-commercial, and educational use, provided that proper citation is used (e.g. I. G. Greer/W. Amos Abrams Manuscript Files Series, Folksong Files Subseries. W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection. Special Collections. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC). Any commercial use of the materials without the written permission of Appalachian State University is strictly prohibited. Please contact the Appalachian State University W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection with specific questions or with requests for further information.








The Ill Wife

As soon as I got married a happy man to be,
My wife turned out a sorrow jade, we never could agree,
For what I thought my greatest bliss was grief beyond compare,
And all the cause of my complain, she is my forever more.

For she’s a plague plaguing and she’s a plaguing me,
She’s a plague plaguing and never let’s me be.

About a week or something less, a bonny thing she was,
But err the second Sunday came, she made me cry alas!
Oh! often times I cry alas! ‘tis needless here to tell,
The wright of it lies all on this, the jade she knows herself.

My house I dare not call my own, nor anything that is in it,
And if I chance to speak a word, she flies like fire from flint.
My very hair I dare not cut, my clothes I dare not wear,
And all, both clothes and money too, she keeps me naked bare.

Right well she knows I dearly love a dainty dish of meat,
She cooks it up so dirtily, the devil abit I eat,
And if I turn my mouth awry, or chance to shake my head,
She calls me filthy boor, and says I am very ill to feed.

When I am for merriment, oh! then she’s very sad,
And when I am for soberness, she goes distracted mad.
When I wish to hear her speak, she silent sits and dumb,
And when I am for quietness, she rattles like a drum.

Yesterday my neighbor Tom and I went our throats to wet,
She thundered in my ears so loud I think I hear her yet,
And when her barleyhood is on, whicH often is the case,
The first thing that comes to her hands she dashes in my face.

That marriage is a paradise I have often heard folks tell,
But for my own part - first and last - I think its worse than hell-
And yet there is a comfort left - a comfort and no more,
The pangs of death will break the bonds and bury all my care.

Classification Title

Ill Wife

Document Title

The Ill Wife

Dimensions - Original

213 mm x 277 mm

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Transcribed By

Paul L. Robertson