The Housekeeper’s Lament (Anonymous)

“The Housekeeper’s Lament” Sheet Music (pdf).
“The Housekeeper’s Lament” Karaoke (midi with lyrics).

Lyrics: Anonymous.
Tune: Anonymous.


One day as I wandered, I heard a complaining
And saw an old woman, a picture of gloom.
She gazed at the mud on her doorstep (‘twas raining),
And this was her song as she wielded her broom:

“Oh, life is a toil, and love is a trouble,
And beauty will fade, and riches will flee.
Oh, pleasures, they dwindle, and, prices, they double,
And nothing is as I could wish it to be.

“It’s sweeping at six, and it’s dusting at seven.
It’s victuals at eight, and it’s dishes at nine.
It’s potting and panning from ten to eleven.
We scarce break our fast till we plan how to dine.

“Oh, life is a toil, and love is a trouble,
And beauty will fade, and riches will flee.
Oh, pleasures, they dwindle, and, prices, they double,
And nothing is as I could wish it to be.

“There’s too much of worriment goes in a bonnet.
There’s too much of ironing goes in a shirt.
There’s nothing that pays for the time you waste on it.
There’s nothing that lasts us but trouble and dirt.

“Oh, life is a toil, and love is a trouble,
And beauty will fade, and riches will flee.
Oh, pleasures, they dwindle, and, prices, they double,
And nothing is as I could wish it to be.

“In March, it is mud; it is snow in December.
The mid-summer breezes are loaded with dust.
In fall, the leaves litter; in rainy September,
The wallpaper rots and the candlesticks rust.

“Oh, life is a toil, and love is a trouble,
And beauty will fade, and riches will flee.
Oh, pleasures, they dwindle, and, prices, they double,
And nothing is as I could wish it to be.

“Last night in my dreams, I was stationed forever
On a far little isle in the midst of the sea.
My one chance for life was a ceaseless endeavor
To sweep off the waves ere they swept over me.

“Oh, life is a toil, and love is a trouble,
And beauty will fade, and riches will flee.
Oh, pleasures, they dwindle, and, prices, they double,
And nothing is as I could wish it to be.

“Alas, ’twas no dream for ahead I behold it.
I know I am helpless my fate to avert.”
She put down her broom and her apron she folded,
Then lay down and died and was buried in dirt.


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