The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Many a man blame his wif, parde

Words and Music: Traditional English

Source: Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols Now First Printed, From a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century (London: The Percy Society, 1847), Song #71, printed verbatim from a manuscript probably owned by a professional musician, and apparently written in the latter half of the fifteenth century, circa 1471-1485.

    In villa quid vidisti, in villa?

Many a man blame his wif, parde
Yet he is more to blame than she;
Trow ye that ony such there be,
            In villa?

Ye, ye, hold yowr peasse fore shame,
Be owr lady, ye be to glame;
Wene ye that womens tonges be lame,
            In villa?

Nay, God forbid, it is naturall
For them to be right liberall;
I now report me over all,
            In villa?

Every where I have espyed,
All women be not tong-tyed;
And if thei were, thei be belied,
            In villa?

If ought be said to them sertayn,
Wene ye thei will not answer agayn?
Yes, by Christm fore every word twayn,
            In villa?

Now in good faith, the soth to say,
Thei have gret cause frome day to day;
Fore thei may nother sport nor playe,
            In villa?

Ther husbondes controll them so secretly;
But yet no forse fore that hardly,
For ther scewise shalbe made so craftely,
            In villa?

Who sey ye, women that husbondes haves,
Wyl not yow owr honour saves,
And call them lowsy stynckyng knaves,
            In villa?

Ye, so have I hard tell ore thys,
Not fare out off thys contre i-wis;
Off some off them men shal not mys,
            In villa?

God wott, gret caus have thei among;
But dout ye not, ther hartes be strong;
Fore thei may suffere no maner off wrong,
            In villa?

And if thei dyd, ther hartes wold brast;
Wherfor in soth I hold it best,
Lett them alon in the devillis rest,
            In villa?

Ye husbondes all, with on assent,
Lett yowr wyffis have ther entent;
Ore, by my trowth, ye wilbe hent,
            In villa?

It is hard ageynst the strem to stryve;
Fore he that cast hym for to thryve,
He must ask off hys wiffe leve,
            In villa?

Ore elles, be God and be the rood,
Be he never so wild ore wood,
His he shal grow thorow his hood,
            In villa?

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