Modern Street Ballads


John Hodge bid his dad and his mammy good bye,
And he set off for London his fortune to try,
For he, by a great many folks had been told,
That in London the streets were all paved with gold.

But, when he came there, to his great surprise,
Like a duck against thunder, he rolled up his eyes;
He search’d all around, but the devil a one,
Could poor Johnny find, but was paved with stone.

Now, in London, says John, I have heard people say,
That your pockets they’ll pick in the midst of the day!
I’ll take pretty good care that they shall not pick mine,
If they do, not a penny in them will they find.

One guinea I’ve got, and of that will take care,
I’ll put it in my mouth, for they can’t find it there,
So deceived was poor Johnny, this caution he took,
For a boy overheard every word that he spoke.

Now the boy being determined the guinea to gain,
Tumbled down on the stones, and then called out amain,
Stop that thief, said the boy, that clod hopping ninny,
He has knocked me down, and ran off with my guinea.

When the people they heard the poor boy so take on,
They scampered away, and soon overtook John,
What mean you? you rascal, they all then did cry,
You’ve robb’d the boy, though the theft you deny.

Then John he stood trembling and quaking for fear,
Crying, I ne’er touched the boy, nor his guinea, I swear,
But the boy coming up, still a lie he bawled out,
For you know that my guinea, you’ve got in your mouth.

Then they opened John’s mouth, where the guinea was found,
Which was presently shewn to the people all round,
’Twas given to the boy, who off with it did run,
And he laugh’d for to think how the Bumpkin he’d done.

Then John, he stood roaring, just like a great calf,
Whilst those standing by, did heartily laugh,
The people all thought that the boy he did rob,
Says John, from this time I’ll ne’er do such a job.

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