39  An Hundred Godly Lessons,/ That a Mother on her Death-Bed gave to her Children [Pepys 2.16-17]

Author: Anonymous

Recording: An Hundred Godly Lessons

Death - godly end Family - children/parents Family - pregnancy/childbirth Gender - courtship Gender - femininity Morality - familial Morality - general Morality - social/economic Religion - Bible Religion - Christ/God Religion - charity Religion - church Religion - moral rules Religion - prayer Society - neighbours Society - old/young

Song History

To modern minds, a song in which a dying mother rallies herself one last time in order to dispense almost exactly one hundred pieces of stern moral and religious advice to her offspring may seem like an unlikely hit. This is one of the ballads that brings home to us the sobriety that appears to have been a key component of early-modern taste. The song may have been in print as early as the 1590s and it was certainly circulating by the mid-1620s. Hereafter, it was printed regularly during the remainder of the seventeenth century, and on into the eighteenth. The popularity of An Hundred Godly Lessons is also suggested by the fact that a fictional ballad-singer named Ditty, found in The London Chaunticleres (1659), carries copies with him and calls out the title in seeking to draw a crowd (stage balladeers typically pulled in the punters by advertising some combination of exciting novelties and known favourites – this song is definitely in the second category).

We cannot be sure why the ballad was popular nor how it was used. It is certainly difficult to imagine it being sung by drunken ‘good fellows’ in an alehouse, and we should probably imagine it as a primarily domestic text that may have been pinned up at home and then called upon selectively as a guide to parenting. It was cheaper, pithier and more decorative than a conduct book (see Related texts), and its sobriety may have reassured parents that they were taking their job seriously. The ballad’s dual advice to show kindness to the poor and avoid conflict with the ‘mighty’ seems to indicate a primary audience amongst England’s middling ranks, though the song must also have appealed more widely than this.

Successive editions show remarkably little change in the text, perhaps suggesting that it was often read aloud rather than sung (minor alterations to the texts of other ballads were sometimes clearly made in order to render them more easily singable). In keeping with this suggestion, it can also be noted that An Hundred Godly Lessons did not survive to take its place in the repertoires of modern folk singers.

The ballad’s popularity may also be related to the solidity and simplicity of its messages. There is little here that one could consider theological, and historians have noted the complete absence of key Protestant concepts such as justification by faith alone and predestination. The ‘godly lessons’ are dominated by advice on virtuous living, and rewards both on earth and in heaven are promised to those who do the right thing. Above all, the dying mother concentrates on honesty and restraint in interpersonal relations, charity and neighbourliness, and respect for one’s parents. She does not pull her punches, warning her children, ‘The Ravens shall pick out their eyes,/ that do their Parents curse’. Clearly, this was the kind of information that early-modern mothers and fathers wanted close-to-hand in the cut-and-thrust of family life!

Readers and listeners are also reminded repeatedly of the importance of listening to sermons and studying the word of God. Indeed, the extent to which the ballad is peppered with Biblical paraphrases is very striking (see Related texts).  Andrew Cambers has also pointed out that the ballad’s main woodcut depicts the kind of domestic reading scene that was considered ideal among godly Protestants of the seventeenth century.

The ballad is, overall, more a lesson in virtuous living than a guide to reformed theology, but some of its content suggests that the anonymous author(s) anticipated an audience whose members at least thought of themselves as committed Protestants with a strong interest in the Bible.

Christopher Marsh


Anon, The London Chaunticleres. A witty comedy (1659), p. 7.

Andrew Cambers, Godly reading: print, manuscript and Puritanism in England, 1580-1720 (Cambridge, 2011), p. 68.

Ian Green, Print and Protestantism in early modern England (Oxford, 2000), p. 465.

The Holy Bible. Quatercentenary edition… of the King James Version… published in the year 1611 (Oxford, 2010).

Hyder E. Rollins, An analytical index to the ballad-entries (1557-1709) in the Registers of the Company of Stationers of London (1924; Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1967), nos. 1171-74.

Susan C. Staub, Mother’s advice books: printed writings 1641-1700: Series II, Pt. 1, vol. 3 (Abingdon, 2017).

Tessa Watt, Cheap print and popular piety, 1550-1640 (Cambridge, 1991), p. 101.

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Featured Tune History

To the tune of ‘Dying Christians Exhortation’ (standard name: Wigmore’s galliard)

The purpose of this section is to provide brief notes on the melody followed by detailed evidence relating to  its career, paying particular attention to the ‘echoes’ (inter-song associations and connections) that may have been set up if it was nominated for the singing of more than one ballad. In the list presented in the ‘Songs and Summaries’ section below, we have endeavoured to include as many of the black-letter ballads that used the tune as possible, under any of its variant names. Titles from our chart of best-sellers are presented in bold type (these are also in colour when there is a link to the relevant ballad page on the website). It should be noted that it is extremely difficult to date many ballads precisely and the chronological order in which the songs are listed is therefore very approximate (we have drawn on previous attempts to date the ballads, making adjustments when additional evidence can be brought into play).  In most cases, we list the earliest surviving edition of a ballad, though in many instances there may have been earlier versions, now lost

Versions and variations

This melody was usually called ‘Wigmore’s Galliard’ though it was also sometimes known as ‘Dying Christian’s Exhortation’ or ‘The glass doth run’. Notation exists in several manuscripts of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, including the lute books named after William Ballet, Matthew Holmes and Thomas Dallis respectively. These are all instrumental sources, and the lute versions of the tune are not ideal for singing. Our rendition uses Ballet’s tune but it has been necessary to make certain modifications in order to ensure a good fit with the words.

Echoes (an overview)

This sixteenth-century dance tune was used on several different ballads, though it does not seem to have been named on new songs after c.1624. By this date, it had perhaps come to feel old-fashioned and so it was reserved for existing songs that were sufficiently successful to warrant repeated publication.

In the Elizabethan period, the tune appeared on one ballad that praises the Queen and on another that is written in the voice of a disgruntled male lover. At some point, however, it settled down as one of the melodies with strongly moral and religious overtones. The stately mood of the melody was possibly a factor here.  An Hundred Godly Lessons is one of several songs that set out stern moral guidance, presenting consumers with a set of pithy and uncompromising rules by which to live (in A most excellent new Dittie, for example, parents are told never to smile at their daughters). By the time An Hundred Godly Lessons appeared, therefore, the melody had strong associations and must have been very much part of the message. These heavy associations were also valuable to the ballad-maker who chose the tune for A Warning for all Murderers, though this song breaks the trend set by the other songs and packages its moralism within a dramatic narrative.

There are also some clear intertextual echoes, though these are not particularly extensive. This may be because the early prominence of the tune means that many relevant songs have not survived. It is clear, however, that there was a lasting and mutually reinforcing relationship between A most excellent new Dittie (later re-issued repeatedly as Solomons Sentences) and An Hundred Godly Lessons. The latter was probably modeled on the former, and the thematic content and general structure are extremely similar. There are a few coincidences of phraseology as well (see Related texts). Incidentally, the slightly different metrical patterns in the two songs (particularly in the second and fourth lines of the tune) are probably an indication that the melody had been simplified somewhat by the 1620s.

[See 'Postscript', below, for additional notes on the melody].

Songs and Summaries

A famous dittie of the joyful receaving of the Queens most excellent majestie by the worthy citizens fo London... To the tune of Wigmore’s Galliard (Yarath James, 1584). British Library, Huth 50.(61.); EBBA 37095. Royalty – praise; Recreation – public festivity; Emotions – joy, patriotism; Politics – celebration, Royalism, domestic; Gender – femininity; Religion – Catholic/Protestant, Bible; prayer; Society – rich/poor, urban life; Bodies – looks/physique; Places – English. A song of extravagant devotion to Queen Elizabeth that describes the public festivities when the Queen moved through London and wishes harm to all her enemies.

A most excellent new Dittie, wherein is shewed the sage sayinges, and wise sentences of Salomon... To the tune Wigmoores Galliard (T. P, 1598-1625). Britwell 18339; EBBA 32519. Morality – familial, romantic/sexual, social/economic, general; Religion – moral rules, charity, Bible, Christ/God; Family – children/parents; Society – friendship, rich/poor, old/young; Gender – femininity. A series of rules for moral and godly living, attributed to ‘Salomon the wise’.

A Warning for all Murderers.. To the tune of, Wigmores Galliard (Henry Gosson, 1601-40). Roxburghe 1.484-85; EBBA 30323. Crime – murder; Death – unlawful killing; Family – kin, pregnancy/childbirth, inheritance, children/parents; Violence – interpersonal; Morality – familial; News – convicts/crimes; Places – Welsh; Employment – agrarian. Three men murder their cousin and his pregnant wife, hoping hereby to receive the dead man’s inheritance, but the baby survives the attack in his mother’s womb and emerges to exact a terrible revenge on the killers.

And [sic] Lover’s lamentable complaint, who (being forsaken) wishes all others to take heede of women. TO THE TUNE of The glasse doth run (no printed copies have survived but the song was transcribed by hand, 1603-1616). Shirburn Ballads XVII. Gender – courtship, femininity, masculinity; Emotions –love, anger, disdain; Bodies – clothing, looks/physique. A man, jilted by the woman he loved, resolves to woo no more and advises others to follow suit.

A right excellent and godly new Ballad, shewing the uncertainetye of this present life... TO THE TUNE of Wigmor’s Galliard (no printed copies have survived but the song was transcribed by hand, 1603-1616). Shirburn Ballads VII. Religion – sin/repentance, Bible, Christ/God, heaven/hell, Bodies – clothing, looks/physique; Recreation – music, food; Death – general; Emotions – frustration. This reminds us that life on earth is fleeting but heaven and hell are forever, and for this reason it urges immediate repentance.

An Hundred Godly Lessons, That a Mother on her Death-Bed gave to her Children... To the Tune of, Dying Christians Exhortation (registered 1624; W. Thackeray and T. Passinger, 1687-88). Pepys 2.16-17; EBBA 20642. Family – children/parents, pregnancy/childbirth; Death – godly end; Morality – familial, general, social/economic; Religion –moral rules, charity, church, prayer, Christ/God, Bible,Gender – courtship, femininity; Society – old/young, neighbours. A dying mother dispenses moral advice to her children, covering all subjects from church attendance to choice of marriage partner.

A most excellent Ditty, called Collins Conceit. To the tune of Wigmores Gallard (H. Gosson, 1624?). Pepys 1.455; EBBA 20030. Morality – familial, sexual/romantic, social/economic; Religion – church, charity, Bible, faith, angels/devils; Crime – robbery/theft, immorality, false witness, punishment, murder; Economy – extortion, hardship/prosperity; Family – children/parents; Employment – apprenticeship/service; Society – neighbours, friendship;  Gender – sex. This argues that ‘all things should be well’ if a daunting series of society’s moral failings were put right.


The tune was also named in several song-books of the period, usually in association with serious moralising texts on themes similar to those discussed above. In Anthony Munday’s Banquet of Daintie Conceits (1588), for example, the melody is named for a song that reveals ‘the morral judgment’ to be deduced from the preceding song (based on a tale from ancient Rome).  In 1602, Thomas Deloney’s Strange Histories nominated the tune for a song about the wars that followed Henry II’s misguided decision to share power with his ambitious son (this opened with general advice on parenting that bears comparsion with An Hundred Godly Lessons). And the tune is called for again in Good and True, Fresh and New Christmas Carols (1642), where it animates ‘A Caroll for Saint Stevens day’. This focuses in particular on the saint’s ill-treatment at the hands of Jews for teaching the word of God and calling attention to the sins of society (it includes a graphic description of his execution). The song that follows is called, a little misleadingly, ‘Another merry Carroll, for the same day’.

Christopher Marsh


William Ballet, Lute Book, Trinity College Dublin, MS 408, p. 112 (transcribed in Simpson).

Thomas Dallis, Lute Book, Trinity College Dublin, MS 410/1, p. 20.

Thomas Deloney, Strange Histories (1602), A8v-B2r.

Good and True, Fresh and New Christmas Carols (1642), A4v-5r.

Matthew Holmes, Lute Book, Cambridge University Library, MS Dd. 5. 20, fo. 6.

Anthony Munday, Banquet of Daintie Conceits (1588), H4r-v.

Claude M. Simpson, The British Broadside Ballads and its Music (New Brunswick, 1966), pp. 783-85.

John M. Ward, ‘Apropos The British broadside ballad and its music’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 20.1 (Spring 1967), p. 85.

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Featured Woodcut History

Standard woodcut name: Mother on deathbed

The purpose of this section is to provide evidence relating to  the career of the image under discussion, paying particular attention to the ‘reflections’ (inter-song associations and connections) that may have been set up if it was chosen to illustrate more than one ballad. The list given below includes all ballads from the Pepys and Roxburghe collections that feature this woodcut or a close variant (these are the two largest collections, including approximately 3300 sheets, in total). References to ballads from other collections occur only when the featured edition of the song under consideration here (or the featured edition of another song from our list) comes from such a source. Ballads from our chart of best-sellers are presented in bold type, and they also appear in colour where there is a link to another song in the database. Please note, however, that the editions of hit songs listed below are not necessarily those for which digital images are presented on this website. Cross-references to other examples of our featured woodcuts are also presented in bold. It is extremely difficult to date many ballads precisely and the chronological order in which the songs are listed is therefore very approximate (we have drawn on previous attempts to date the ballads, making adjustments when additional evidence can be brought into play).

Reflections (an overview)

This scene was strongly associated with An Hundred Godly Lessons and it appeared on nearly all surviving editions from the seventeenth century. The fact that the woodblock was already well-worn and peppered by worm-holes in the 1670s also suggests that it had been around for many decades, probably appearing on editions of the ballad that are now lost. The picture was occasionally used on other sheets, however, and several of these also dealt with the deaths of pious Christians. These included a man and a young maiden, despite the fact that a mother and her children are clearly represented in the picture. Consumers were evidently not put off by discrepant details that we might regard as incongruous.

In The Kentish MIRACLE, the woman does not die and the image instead stands for maternal devotion (though perhaps it carries a whiff of death because of its previous history). In this case, it seems that some care was in fact taken to ensure consistency between text and picture: there are seven children in both, and one wonders whether this particular detail of the narrative was adjusted to fit the well-known woodcut. All surviving versions of the image seem to have been produced from the same woodblock.

Songs and summaries

An Hundred Godly Lessons, That a Mother on her Death-Bed gave to her Children (F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright and J. Clarke, 1675-80; our featured edition, published in 1687-88, used the same picture). Euing 143; EBBA 31851. Family – children/parents, pregnancy/childbirth; Death – godly end; Morality – familial, general, social/economic; Religion –moral rules, charity, church, prayer, Christ/God, Bible,Gender – courtship, femininity; Society – old/young, neighbours. A dying mother dispenses moral advice to her children, covering all subjects from church attendance to choice of marriage partner (picture placement: the scene appears beneath the title).

The Dying Tears of a penitent Sinner.  Which was written as he lay on his Death bed, according to his own direction (F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, J. Clarke, W. Thackeray, and T. Passinger, 1680-81).  Roxburghe 2.113; EBBA 30599.  Death – godly end; Religion – Christ/God, heaven/hell, sin/repentance, prayer, Bible; Family – children/parents; Gender – marriage; Morality – general; Society – neighbours.  A dying man repents his many sins, expresses his faith in Christ and appeals to God for mercy (picture placement: the scene appears beneath the title and there are no other woodcuts).

The Kentish MIRACLE; OR, A Strange and Miraculous Work of Gods Providence (J. Deacon, 1684).  Pepys 2.54; EBBA 20678.  Religion – prayer, divine intervention, Bible, Christ/God, faith; Family – children/parents; Gender – femininity; Bodies – nourishment; Society – criticism; Economy – hardship, household; Morality – social/economic; Crime – robbery/theft; Places – English.  A poor widow prays to God and is miraculously enabled to keep her seven children alive for seven weeks on a single loaf of burnt bread (picture placement: the scene appears beneath the title and there are no other woodcuts).

The Godly Maid of Leicester. Being a true Relation of Elizabeth Stretton, who lying upon her Death-bed, was wonderfully delivered from the Temptations of Satan (no imprint, later seventeenth century).  Roxburghe 2.186-87; EBBA 30658.  Death – godly end, illness; Religion – angels/devils, Christ/God, Bible, body/soul, church, prayer, sin/repentance, election; Gender – femininity; Bodies – health/sickness; Emotions – hope.  A dying maiden is visited by the Devil but, protected by Christ, she regains consciousness long enough to pass on others news of the wondrous things that she has witnessed (picture placement: the scene appears beneath the title and there are no other woodcuts).

Christopher Marsh

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Related Texts

The short, chronological list presented below identifies other works of the seventeenth century that share thematic and/or textual material with An Hundred Godly Lessons and that might therefore have had some relationship with our ballad.

The most significant item is the anonymous chapbook, The Mothers blessing, published in 1685 by a group of men who also specialised in ballads (indeed, Thomas Passinger and William Thackeray were responsible both for the chapbook and for the featured edition of our ballad). The Mothers blessing, like the ballad, presents a dying woman who passes on pearls of wisdom to her assembled children. The advice in the two texts is very similar, though the mother in the book speaks initially in prose rather than verse. At the end, however, the full text of the ballad is reproduced. The mother is aware that she has already given her children plenty of points to consider, ‘But because Songs and Rhimes may make better impression, and stick faster in your Memories, hear them in verse’.

This chapbook was probably intended to exploit the popularity of the ballad by providing readers/listeners with a more substantial publication. Its title may also have been intended to imply a connection with an immensely successful book by Dorothy Leigh, also named The mothers blessing (first published in 1616). In truth, this was a different type of publication entirely, 270 pages long and far more detailed than either the ballad or the later chapbook in its treatment of prayer, Bible-study, the importance of Christ, and so on. On the other hand, Leigh’s book, like the other sources, includes practical advice on choosing wives and using one’s goods, and all three publications purport to present the words spoken by a dying mother to her children. It is difficult to be sure whether the ballad or Leigh’s book came first, and whether either influenced the other, but they were both highly successful in the same period, a fact that must have encouraged comparison.

In the ballad, the 'Mother on her Death-bed' also draws regularly on the Bible and encourages her offspring to follow her example. The warning that ravens will pick out the eyes of ungrateful children is, for example, lifted from Proverbs 30:17, and the advice to ‘Strive not with a mighty man’ comes from Ecclesiasticus 8:1 (part of the Apocrypha). The ballad’s initially perplexing statement, ‘better is one bit of bread/ then [than] a fat Ox with ill will’, makes more sense when compared with Proverbs 15:17: ‘Better is a dinner of herbes where love is, then [than] a stalled oxe, and hatred therewith’ (the Scriptural quotations given here are all from the King James Bible).

Comparison can also be made with another ballad, first registered in 1586 and usually known in the seventeenth century as Solomons Sentences. This successful song preceded An Hundred Godly Lessons and seems likely to have influenced it. In Solomons Sentences, the moral advice is passed on by a famous father rather than an ordinary mother, but the two ballads clearly emphasise the same duties (fear God, honour your parents, avoid harlots, and so on). Both mention ‘precepts’ in the second line, and there are several expressions in our hit ballad that seem to echo phrases found in the earlier song. Compare, for example, ‘Plant well these sayings in your heart’ (Solomons sentences) and ‘Print well in your remembrance’ (An Hundred Godly Lessons). The fact that the two ballads are set to the same tune amplifies the echo. Perhaps the mother’s Hundred Godly Lessons were conceived as a female-focused counterpart to Solomons sentences. If so, the strategy was obviously highly successful in the marketplace.

Christopher Marsh

Texts (in chronological order)

A most excellent new dittie, wherein is shewed the sage sayings, and wise sentences, of Salomon (1598-1617?), EBBA 32519. Later editions were entitled Solomons sentences.

Dorothy Leigh, The mothers blessing. Or the godly counsaile of a gentlewoman not long since deceased (1616).

Anon, The Mothers blessing. Being several godly admonitions given by a Mother unto her Children upon her Death-bed, a little before her departure (1685).


Hyder E. Rollins, An analytical index to the ballad-entries (1557-1709) in the Registers of the Company of Stationers of London (1924; Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1967), no. 2378.

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An Hundred Godly Lessons,/ That a Mother on her Death-Bed gave to her Children; whereby they may know how to guide themselves towards God and/ Man, to the benefit of the Common-Wealth, joy of their Parent, and good to themselves.

 To the Tune of, Dying Christians Exhortation.

[Play each verse by clicking anywhere within its text. Please note that verses in square brackets have not been recorded]


MY children dear mark well my words,

and keep by Precepts well,

Consider daily in your minds

the words which I shall tell:

The gain is great which shall ensue,

good counsel doth direct,

Their ways and actions for the best,

that do it not neglect.


First Worship God above all things,

vain swearing see you shun:

Hear much, but see you little say,

thereby much good is won;

Speak thou no ill of any man,

tend well thine own affairs,

Bridle thy wrath and anger so,

that thereof comes no cares.


Be mild and gentle in thy speech,

both unto Man and Child,

Refuse not good and lawful gains,

with words be not beguil’d:

Forget not any good turn done,

and help thy Neighbours need,

Commit no ill in any case,

the hungry see thou feed.


[Cast no man in the teeth with that

which thou for him hast done;

Remember flesh is fond and frail,

and hatred see thou shun.

Leave wicked things, then no mishap

shall thee to trouble bring,

Crave no preferment of the Lord,

nor honour of the King.]


Boast not thy self before God’s sight,

who knows thy heart alway:

Offend not thou the multitude,

faint not when thou dost pray:

Scorn not a man in misery,

esteem not tatling tales,

Consider reason is exil’d,

when as a Drunkard rails:


Use not thy Lips to loathsome lyes,

by craft increase no wealth,

And strive not with a mighty Man,

with temperance nourish health.

Look that thou order well thy words,

leave not thy Friend for Gold,

Trust not too much before thou try,

in venturing be not bold.


In God Repose thy strength and stay,

with tongue extol his praise,

honour thy Parents, and the Lord

he will prolong thy days.

He that his Father honour doth,

God will forgive his sin,

He that his Mother loves, is like

one that doth favour win.


A Child obedient to the Lord,

his Mother comfort shall,

The Fathers Blessing stays the house,

his curse doth make it fall.

A wise Child makes the Father glad,

Fools do their Mother grieve,

And shame shall come to such as do

their Parents not Relieve.


He that his Mother doth defie,

shall come to naught and worse,

The Ravens shall pick out their eyes,

that do their Parents curse:

From needy men turn not thy face,

let not thy right hand know,

What thou dost with the left hand give,

or on the poor bestow.


They that upon the poor bestow,

unto the Lord do lend,

And God unto such men again,

a thousand fold will send:

As water doth the fire quench,

whose fury great doth grow,

Even so shall mercy quench their sins,

the which do mercy show.


[Hear thou God’s word with earnest care,

with wisdom answer make,

Be thou not mov’d with every wind,

such course do sinners take;

Thy talk will shew thy fame or shame,

fools oft themselves annoy,

Trust not thy own will overmuch,

for that may thee destroy.]


They that the living God do fear,

a faithful friend shall find:

A true friend is a jewel rare,

and comfort to the mind.

Hear Sermons that good sentences

thou maist conceive aright,

In Gods commandments exercise,

thy self both day and night.


Think on the pain thy mother had,

in bringing thee to life;

Fear God who knows thy secret thoughts

and look thou make no strife.

Visit the sick with carefulness,

the Prisoners grief consider,

Shew pitty to the fatherless,

and God will thee deliver.


[Help still to right the widdows wrong,

remember still thine end,

So thou shalt never do amiss,

nor wilfuly offend:

Trust not a reconciled friend,

more then an open foe,

Who toucheth pitch, shall be defil’d,

take heed thou do not so.]


Take not a Wife that wanton is,

and full of shameful words,

The flattering of an Harlot is

at length more sharp then Swords.

Cast not thy love on such a one,

whose looks can thee allure,

In every face where beauty is,

the heart’s not always pure.


A Woman fair and undiscreet

is like a Ring of Gold

The which in a Swines Snout is set,

unseemly to behold:

The malice of lewd women shun,

for they will thee destroy,

Hate her that doth on every Man

set her Delight and joy.


[From others let thy praise proceed,

boast not thy self in ought,

Nor do not hear a flattering tongue,

thereby much ill is wrought:

The Child that doth his Parents rob,

and counteth it no sin,

A vile destroyer he is deem’d,

and shall no favour win.]


Correction bringeth wisdom sound,

fools hate good counsel still,

That child doth shame his mother much,

that’s let to have his will:

The good mans path shines as the light

that beautifies the day,

The wicked know not where they walk

for darkness is their way.


[Put far from thee a froward Mouth,

a slanderous tongue is ill,

And do not thou an envious mind,

in any way fulfill.

A Harlot brings a man to beg,

in her is found no truth,

In gladness therefore live and dye,

with the wise of thy youth.]


Much babling breedeth great offence,

he that speaks least is wise,

Gods blessing only makes men rich,

from thence all joys arise.

Better is little fearing God,

then bags of gold got ill,

And better is one bit of bread,

then a fat Ox with ill will.


[Who brooks no warning hates his so[ul,]

true age worship aright,

A patient man far better is

then one indued with might.

Mans credit comes by doing good,

an humble mind indeed

Is better then a Lyar proud,

from whence vain brags proceed.]


By this dear children you may learn,

how to direct your ways,

To God, To Prince, to Common-wea[lth]

whereon your welfare stays.

Print well in your remembrance,

the Lessons I have shown,

Then shall you live in happy state,

when I am dead and gone.

Printed for W. Thackeray, and T. Passinger.

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This ballad is included according to the criteria for List A (see Methodology). The evidence presented here is accurate, to the best of our knowledge, as of 1st January 2024.

Shirburn ballads: not included.

Appearances on Ballad Partners' lists: Pavier and partners, 1624; Coles, Vere, Wright and Gilbertson, 1656; Coles, Vere, Wright and Clark, 1675; and Thackeray, 1689.

Other registrations with Stationers' Company: 1675.

No. of known editions c.1560-1711: 7

No. of extant copies: 6

New tune-titles generated: none known.

Specially-commissioned woodcuts: Mother on deathbed on featured edition (and other editions).

Vaughan Williams Memorial Library databases: 10 references, with no evidence of later collection as a folk-song (Roud no. V30856).

POINTS: 0 + 40 + 5 + 14 + 6 + 0 + 5 + 0 = 70

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This box will be used to highlight any new information on this song that might come to light after the launch of the website.

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