“The Choice of a Wife”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1939 (Gardner/Chickering)
Keywords: courting beauty nonballad
Found in: US(MW)

Description

"I will tell you the way I have heard some say To choose you a lovely young creature, To choose you a wife you would love as your life...." The singer says her heart should "be her best part" -- but demands blue eyes, brown hair, slender waist and ankles

Supplemental text

Choice of a Wife, The
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Emelyn Elizabeth Gardner and Geraldine Jencks Chickering,
Ballads and Songs of Southern Michigan, p. 203. "From Mrs. Jessie
Ainsworth Sullivan, Ypsilanti."

I will tell you the way I have heard some say
To choose you a lovely young creature,
To choose you a wife you would love as your life
With a fair and comely feature.

Let her stature be tall, but middling small,
Her waist both trim and slender;
Her instep thin, her ankle slim,
O then, young man, you may venture.

(Stanzas 1, 5 of 5)

Notes

For the record, the Gardner/Chickering text devotes one stanza to the girl's personality ("not given to flattery and cunning... with a nimble wit... tongue... not always running") but three stanzas to her need for good looks. There is no evidence that the boy brings anything good enough to let him be so picky. - RBW

References

  1. Gardner/Chickering 78, "The Choice of a Wife" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. ST GC078 (Partial)
  3. Roud #3695
  4. BI, GC078