If I Ever Marry, I'll Marry A Maid

Original Text: 
Stationers' Company, London, Extracts from the Registers of the Stationers' Company from 1557 to 1587, ed. John Payne Collier (London: Shakespeare Society, 1853). D-10 7681 Fisher Rare Book Library
2To marry a widow, I am sore afraid:
3For maids they are simple, and never will grutch,
4But widows full oft, as they say, know too much.
5  A maid is so sweet, and so gentle of kind,
6That a maid is the wife I will choose to my mind
7A widow is froward, and never will yield;
8Or if such there be, you will meet them but seeld.
9  A maid ne'er complaineth, do what so you will;
10But what you mean well, a widow takes ill:
11A widow will make you a drudge and a slave,
12And, cost ne'er so much, she will ever go brave.
13  A maid is so modest, she seemeth a rose
14When it first beginneth the bud to unclose;
15But a widow full-blowen full often deceives,
16And the next wind that bloweth shakes down all her leaves.
17  The widows be lovely, I never gainsay,
18But too well all their beauty they know to display;
19But a maid hath so great hidden beauty in store,
20She can spare to a widow, yet never be poor.
21  Then, if ever I marry, give me a fresh maid,
22If to marry with any I be not afraid;
23But to marry with any, it asketh much care;
24And some bachelors hold they are best as they are.


1] This may be a forgery. The manuscript from which Collier took the poem has not been traced and certain lines in the text suggest alterations on his part. Collier forged dramatic records of Shakespeare's period. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.240; RPO 1996-2000.