I was a young man I was a rover,
Nothing won't satisfie me than a wife
soon as I reached the age of twenty
weary was I of a single life.
The very first year that we were together
out of her company I could not stay
her voice was sweet as a lark or a linnet
or a nightingale at the break of a day.
Now she's fairly altered her meaning
now she's fairly changed her tune
nothing but scolding comes from her mouth
(and) a poor man's labours was never done.
I went up to the top of the hill
To view me sheep that had all above a stray
when I come back she was laying in her bed
at twelve a' clock on a winter's day.
When I come back all wet and weary
weary and wet now where could I run
She was lying in her bed the fire out beside her
she said the 'young man, is the kettle on?'
The baby cried, she bitterly scolded,
out of the room I was forced to run
without my trousers, a wig or a waistcoat
a poor man's labours was never done.
I'll go home to me aged mother
She will be sitting all alone
Saying there are plenty of young woman to be had
and why should I be tied to one
Come all young man that are to marry
Though it'll grieve you for ever more
death or death come take'n me woife
and then me sorrow is over.