Modern Street Ballads


It’s of a tradesman and his wife, I heard the other day,
Who did kick up a glorious row; they live across the way;
The husband proved himself a fool, when his money all was spent,
He asked his wife, upon her life, to say which way it went.

So she reckon’d up, and told him, and showed him quite complete,
How five and twenty shillings were expended in a week.

He says my wages are all gone, and it does me perplex,
Indeed, said she, then list to me, my bonny cock of wax.
Continually you make a noise, and fill the house with strife,
I’ll tell you where your money goes; I will upon my life.

There’s three and twopence house rent; now attend to me she said,
There’s four shillings goes for meat, and three and ninepence, bread,
To wash your nasty dirty shirt, there’s half a pound of soap,
There’s eightpence goes for Coals, old boy, and sixpence wood and Coke.

There’s fourpence for milk and cream, and one and fourpence malt,
Three halfpence goes for vinegar, one halfpenny for salt;
A penny goes for mustard, a halfpenny for thread,
And you gave threepence the other night, for a piece of pig’s head.

A red herring every morning is sevenpence a week,
Sometimes you send me out for fish, you say you can’t eat meat,
Last Monday night you got so drunk, amongst your dirty crew,
It cost two pence next morning for a basin of hot stew.
There’s a penny goes for pepper too, as you shall understand,
Twopence soda, starch and blue, and a halfpenny for sand,
Sevenpence for Candles, a halfpenny for matches,
And a penny worth of Corduroy, I bought to mend your breeches.

A shilling potatoes and greens, with tenpence butter, you see,
Sixpence Coffee, ninepence Sugar, and sevenpence for tea,
There’s a penny goes for this thing, and twopence that and t’other,
Last week you broke a water jug, and I had to buy another.

There’s sixpence for tobacco, and a halfpenny for pipes,
Seven farthings goes for snuff, and twopence halfpenny swipes;
A penny you owed for shaving, over at the Barber’s shop,
And you know last Sunday morning, you’d a bottle of ginger pop.

There’s a penny goes for blacking, and eight pence halfpenny cheese,
A three farthing rushlight every night, to catch the bugs and fleas;
And when you go to the public house, and sit to drink and sing,
I pop into the liquor vaults, to have a drop of gin.

<< Hurrah for Father Mathew's Mill   The Way to Live >>

The End As I Know It: A Novel of Millennial Anxiety, by proprietor Kevin Shay, is now available in paperback.

Please visit for more information.