PE 17 A Woman's Work is never done

Here is a Song for Maids to sing,
Both in the Winter and in the Spring;
It is such a pretty conceited thing,
Which will much pleasure to them bring:
Maids may sit still, go, or run,
But a Woman's work is never done.

To a Delicate Northern Tune, "A Woman's Work is never done", or, "The Beds making"

As I was wandering on the way,
I heard a married woman say
That she had lived a sollid life [grave, serious]
Ever since the time that she was made a wife.
"For why," quoth she, "my labor is hard,
And all my pleasures are debarr'd:
Both morning, evening, night and noon,
I'm sure a woman's work is never done.

"And now," quoth she, "I will relate
The manner of my woful fate;
And how my self I do bestow,
As all my neighbours well do know:
And therin all, that will hear,
Unto my song I pray a while give ear;
Ile make it plainly to appear, right soon,
How that a woman's work is never done.

"For when that I wil rise early in the morn,
Before that I my head with dressings adorn,
I sweep and cleanse the house, as need doth require,
Or, if that it be cold, I make a fire:
Then my husband's breakfast I must dress,
To fill his belly with some wholesom mess;
Perhaps thereof I eat a little, or none,
But I'm sure a woman's work is never done.

"Next thing that I in order do,
My children must be lookt unto;
Then I take them from their naked beds,
To put on their clothes and comb their heads:
And then, what hap soever betide,
Their breakfast straight I must provide.
'Bread!' cries my daughter; and 'Drink!' my son,
And thus a woman's work is never done.

"And when that I have fill'd their bellies full,
Some of them I pack away to school,
All save one sucking childe, that at my brest
Doth knaw and bite, and sorely me molest:
But when I have laid him doen to sleep,
I am constrain'd the house to keep,
For then the pottage-pot I must hang on,
And thus a woman's work is never done.

And when my pottage-pot is ready to hoil, [boil over]
I must be careful all the while;
And for to cum the pot is my desire,
Or else all the fat will run i' th' fire.
But when th'leven a clock bell it doth chime,
Then I know't is near upon dinner time:
To lay the table-cloth I then do run,
And thus a woman's work is never done.

"When dinner time is gone and over-past,
My husband he runs out o' th' doors in haste;
He scarce gives me a kiss for all that I
Have dealt and done to him so lovingly;
Which sometimes grieves me to the heart,
To see him so clownishly depart:
But to my first discourse let me go on,
To shew a woman's work is never done.

"There's never a day, from morn to night,
But I with work am tired quite;
For when the game with me is at the best,
I hardly in a day take one hour's rest;
Sometimes I knit, and sometimes I spin,
Sometimes I wash, and sometimes I do wring.
Sometimes I sit, and sowe by myself alone,
And thus a woman's work is never done.

"In making of the beds such pains I take,
Untilmy back, and sides, and arms, do ake;
And yet my husband deals so cruelly,
That he but seldom comes to comfort me.
And then at night, when the clock strike nine,
My husband he will say, 'tis supper time;
Then presently he must be waited upon,
And thus a woman's work is never done.

"When supper's ended to bed we must go--
You all do know't is fitting it should be so--
Then do I think to settle all things right,
In hope that I shall take some rest by night.
The biggest of my children together I lay,
And place them by degrees so well as I may:
But yet there is a thing to be thought upon,
For why, a woman's work is never done.

"Then if my husband turns me to the wall,
Then my sucking childe will cray and brawl;
Six of seven times for the brest 't wil cry,
And then, I pray you judge, what rest take I.
And if at any time asleep I be,
Perchance my husband wakes, and then wakes me;
Then he does that to me which cannot shun,
Yet I could wish that work were oftener done.

"All you merry girles that hear this ditty,
Both in countrey, and in the city;
Take good notice of my lines I pray,
And make the use of the time you may:
You see that maids live more merrier lives,
Then do the best of married wives:
And thus to end my song as I begun,
You know a woman's work is never done.

Notes from poster Bruce : 
Entred according to Order. [On June 1, 1629]
London, Printed for John Andrews, at the White Lion in Pye-Corner.

Andrews' issue, the only copy known, printed 1656-62. "The Beds making" is not known. One tune called "Woman's Work is never done" is in the ballad opera 'Momus turned Fabulist'. A different tune, "Woman's work will never be done", is in the Blaikie MS of 1692, and the same tune is "Women's work will never be done" in the Leyden MS of 1692. "Momus' tune and Blaikie MS tune are reprinted in John Glen's 'Early Scottish Melodies', p. 59, 1900, and 'Momus' tune and Leyden MS tune in Wooldridge's re-edition of Chappell, "Old English Popular Music', II p. 150 and p. 152. 'Momus' tune is under the title "The Doubting Virgin" in C. M. Simpson's 'The British Broadside Ballad and Its Music'. The 'Momus' tuen has been connected with another ballad, "Womens work is never done", which commences "Oh that I had never been married". This is an unreprinted 18th century slip-song in the Crawford collection (#939).
Perhaps by adding appropriate slurs one might fit our ballad to the tune in the Scots MSS. The tune was later known in Scotland as "The Black Eagle", "The Bonnie Black Eagle", and "The Highway to Edinburgh".