Stitch in Time

 words by Mike Waterson, tune by  Martin Carthy, ca. 1984

Audio

This example of "Stitch in Time" is performed by Wild Thyme
Please refer to Cantaria's Copyright information

Based on a true story and other ballads of the same ilk.
Mudcat forum discussion about this song: http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=12331

Oh there once was a woman and she lived on her own
She slaved on her own, she skivvied on her own
She had two little girls and two little boys
And she lived all alone with her husband

For her husband he was a hunk of a man
A chunk of a man and a drunk of a man
He was a hunk of a drunk and skunk of a man
Such a boozing bruising husband

And when he'd come home late each night
He thrashed her black, he thrashed her white
He thrashed her too within an inch of her life
Then he slept like a log till the morning.

One night she gathered her tears all round her shame
She thought of the bruising, cried with the pain
"Oh he'll not do that to me again
"I won't live with a drunken husband"

And as her husband lay snoring in bed
Well a strange old thought came into her head
She went for the needle, went for her thread
Went straight in to her sleeping husband

And she started to stitch with a girlish thrill
A woman's heart, a seamstress' skill
She bibbed and tucked with an iron hard will
All around her sleeping husband

Oh the top sheet, the bottom sheet too
The blanket stitched to the mattress through
She stitched and stitched the whole night through
Then she waited till dawn on her husband

And when her husband awoke with a pain in his head
He found that he could not move in bed
"Sweet Christ, I've lost the use of me legs"
But this wife just smiled at her husband

For in her hand she held the frying pan
With a flutter in her heart she given him a lam
He could not move but he cried "God damn" (replaced with a Gaelic curse)
"Don't you swear," she said to her husband

And she thrashed him black, she thrashed him blue
With the frying pan and the colander too
With a rolling pin, just a stroke or two
Such a battered and bleeding husband

She says, "If you ever come home drunk any more
"I'll stitch you in I'll thrash you more
"Then I'll pack my bag and I'll be out the door
"I'll not live with a drunken husband"

Oh isn't it true what the small can do
With a needle and a thread and a stitch or two
Oh she's wiped his slate and his boozings through
It's farewell to the drunken husband