Modern Street Ballads


What a pleasure it is to have a good wife,
One that is steady and willing,
To help and to comfort a man through his life,
One who knows how to eke out a shilling.
With my own little wife I can’t grumble at all,
But my family’s a rummy lot, rather,
Thirteen boys and girls I can count, great and small
Now there’s a fine sight for a father!

There’s Anna Maria, a young woman grown,
How often I wish she would marry!
She goes out every night (I can’t keep her at home)
With a young chap who calls himself Harry.
Out of doors, once, I bolted her tight,
And on the door I put a bar there,
But she said “Let me in, or I’ll stop out all night.”
Now there was a sight for a father!

Our Tom was so proud, he vowed he would be
Either a Squire or a Knight, Sir,
So to better his fortune he bolted from me,
And for many years kept out of sight, sir.
I stept in a shop to get shaved t’other day,
And my face was covered with lather,
When I found it was Tom who was scraping away,
Now here was a sight for a father!

On going home once, there was the devil to pay,
My wife she was calling for water,
From the neighbors I learnt some man ran away
With Amelia, my good-looking daughter.
My youngest girl Nance, on the very same day,
Wrote a letter, which made me mad rather,
To say she was in a particular way.
Now here was a sight for a father!

I’ve three great hulking boys, who in service won’t stop,
They’re too lazy to earn their own victuals,
They only seem happy when in the gin-shop,
And I’m told they’re all sharpers at skittles.
I get up every night to let in the dears,
But as soon as they spie their mamma there,
They jump into my bed, and I sleep on the chairs/
Now there’s a fine sight for a father!

There’s my last daughter Bet, the worst of them yet,
Her heart must be hard as the path stones,
For she’s run away with a queer-looking chap,
Who goes about selling of hearth stones.
With a bag on her back I met her once plump,
(I couldn’t help wishing her farther)
Crying out, “Hearth stones, a penny a lump.”
Now here was a sight for a father!

Now all married men, pray take my advice,
And if you would keep your honest right, Sirs,
Don’t let your daughters dress up over nice,
Nor ramble out late of a night, Sirs.
Keep your girls at their needles, your boys at their pens,
I’ve bought my experience dear, rather,
But be sure keep your girls away from the men,
Or, there’ll be a fine sight for a father!

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