Housewife's Lament From the diary of Mrs. Sara A. Price, Civil War era. Recorded by Walt Robertson - American Northwest Ballads. Sung by Graham Cousins. SheetMusic

One day I was walking, I heard a complaining             / G / G / C / C /
And saw an old woman the picture of gloom                / D7 / D7 / D7 / G /
She gazed at the mud on her doorstep, 'twas raining  / G/ G / C / C /
And this was her song as she wielded her broom        / D7 / D7 / D7 / G /

     Life is a toil and love is a trouble                                / Em / Em / D / D /
     Beauty will fade and riches will flee                           / C / C / D7 / D7 /
     Wages will dwindle and prices will double              / G / G / C / G /
     And nothing is /as I would /wish it to be.                / D7 / D7 / D7 / G /

There's too much of worriment /goes to a bonnet
There's too much of ironing /goes to a shirt
There's nothing that pays for the time you waste on it
There's nothing that last us but trouble and dirt.

In March it is mud, it is slush in December
The midsummer breezes are loaded with dust
In fall the leaves litter, in muddy September
The wall paper rots and the candlesticks rust

Last night in my dreams I was stationed forever
On a far distant rock in the midst of the sea
My one chance of life was a ceaseless endeavor
To sweep off the waves as they swept over me

Alas!  ‘Twas no dream; ahead I behold it
I see I am helpless my fate to avert
She lay down her broom, her apron she folded
She lay down and died and was buried in dirt.

“This song was copied from the diary of Mrs. Sara A. Price of Ottawa, Illinois. She had seven children and lost them all. Some of her sons were killed in the Civil War. Thus, this version can be dated about mid-Nineteenth Century. It sounds like a composed song, written in the United States, not Ireland; although the tradition is that of Irish topical ballads. It has been variously titled "Life Is a Toil" and "Housekeeper's Lament." It has been recorded by Walt Robertson for Folkways Records.” - Reprints from Sing Out!