Our Goodman

A poem by Frank Sidgwick

The Text is from Herd's MSS., as given by Professor Child to form a regular sequence. The ballad also exists in an English broadside form.


The Story of the ballad has a close counterpart in Flemish Belgium, and in southern France. The German variants, however, have a curious history. The English broadside ballad was translated into German by F. W. Meyer in 1789, and in this form gained such popularity that it was circulated not only as a broadside, but actually in oral tradition,--with the usual result of alteration. Its vogue was not confined to Germany, but spread to Hungary and Scandinavia, a Swedish broadside appearing within ten years of Meyer's translation.


OUR GOODMAN

1.
Hame came our goodman,
And hame came he,
And then he saw a saddle-horse,
Where nae horse should be.

2.
'What's this now, goodwife?
What's this I see?
How came this horse here,
Without the leave o' me?'
Recitative.
'A horse?' quo' she.
'Ay, a horse,' quo' he.

3.
'Shame fa' your cuckold face,
Ill mat ye see!
'Tis naething but a broad sow,
My minnie sent to me.'
'A broad sow?' quo' he.
'Ay, a sow,' quo' shee.

4.
'Far hae I ridden,
And farer hae I gane,
But a saddle on a sow's back
I never saw nane.'

5.
Hame came our goodman,
And hame came he;
He spy'd a pair of jack-boots,
Where nae boots should be.

6.
'What's this now, goodwife?
What's this I see?
How came these boots here,
Without the leave o' me?'
'Boots?' quo' she.
'Ay, boots,' quo' he.

7.
'Shame fa' your cuckold face,
And ill mat ye see!
It's but a pair of water-stoups,
My minnie sent to me.'
'Water-stoups?' quo' he.
'Ay, water-stoups,' quo' she.

8.
'Far hae I ridden,
And farer hae I gane,
But siller spurs on water-stoups
I saw never nane.'

9.
Hame came our goodman,
And hame came he,
And he saw a sword,
Whare a sword should na be.

10.
'What's this now, goodwife?
What's this I see?
How came this sword here,
Without the leave o' me?'
'A sword?' quo' she.
'Ay, a sword,' quo' he.

11.
'Shame fa' your cuckold face,
Ill mat ye see!
It's but a porridge-spurtle,
My minnie sent to me.'
'A spurtle?' quo' he.
'Ay, a spurtle,' quo' she.

12.
'Far hae I ridden,
And farer hae I gane,
But siller-handed spurtles
I saw never nane.'

13.
Hame came our goodman,
And hame came he;
There he spy'd a powder'd wig,
Where nae wig shoud be.

14.
'What's this now, goodwife?
What's this I see?
How came this wig here,
Without the leave o' me?'
'A wig?' quo' she.
'Ay, a wig,' quo' he.

15.
'Shame fa' your cuckold face,
And ill mat you see!
'Tis naething but a clocken-hen,
My minnie sent to me.'
'Clocken hen?' quo' he.
'Ay, clocken hen,' quo' she.

16.
'Far hae I ridden,
And farer hae I gane,
But powder on a clocken-hen
I saw never nane.'

17.
Hame came our goodman,
And hame came he,
And there he saw a muckle coat,
Where nae coat shoud be.

18.
'What's this now, goodwife?
What's this I see?
How came this coat here,
Without the leave o' me?'
'A coat?' quo' she.
'Ay, a coat,' quo' he.

19.
'Shame fa' your cuckold face,
Ill mat ye see!
It's but a pair o' blankets,
My minnie sent to me.'
'Blankets?' quo' he.
'Ay, blankets,' quo' she.

20.
'Far hae I ridden,
And farer hae I gane,
But buttons upon blankets
I saw never nane.'

21.
Ben went our goodman,
And ben went he,
And there he spy'd a sturdy man,
Where nae man shoud be.

22.
'What's this now, goodwife?
What's this I see?
How came this man here,
Without the leave o' me?'
'A man?' quo' she.
'Ay, a man,' quo' he.

23.
'Poor blind body,
And blinder mat ye be!
It's a new milking-maid,
My mither sent to me.'
'A maid?' quo' he.
'Ay, a maid,' quo' she.

24.
'Far hae I ridden,
And farer hae I gane,
But lang-bearded maidens
I saw never nane.'

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