Pg. 196

  • A man and wife are preparing a dinner on a November night and both don’t want to close the door.
    • They are both stubborn; the woman says that she is busy with her chores and that if her husband really wants the door closed he can do it himself

  • This is a humorous ballad of a married couple
    • They both are so stubborn that neither of them wants to get up and do something the other has asked of them
  • Robbers come into their house at midnight and neither of them say a word
    • One robber grabs a knife and says that he will cut the husbands beard and kiss his wife.
    • The husband finally stands up and asks if they would do such a thing
    • The wife stands, takes three steps and says “Goodman, you’ve spoken the foremost word; Get up and bar the door.” (line 41, pg 197)

  • This poem shows that the woman is so busy with chores in the house and she stands up to her husband because he just sits there while she is preparing food for them and expects her to do one more thing when he can do it perfectly fine all his own.


Who do like better; the goodman or the goodwife?
Who is more foolish?
What serious point about the stubbornness does the poem make?

Key Words

Martinmas time - November
hussyfskap - household duties
An it should ... me - "If it has to be barred by me, then it will not be barred in a hundred years."
Paction - agreement
Them - the man and his wife
They - the strangers
Muckle - much
What...broo - "What's the matter with puddingwater?"
Into - in
Scad - scald
Bree - broth