Modern Street Ballads


Two jolly old toppers once sat at an inn,
Discussing the merits of brandy and gin,
Said one to the other, I’ll tell you what, Bill,
I’ve been hearing to day, of Father Mathew’s Mill.

You must know that this comical Mill has been built,
Of old broken casks, when the liquor’s been spilt,
You go up the steps, and when at the door sill,
You’ve a paper to sign at Father Mathew’s Mill.

You promise, by signing the paper (I think),
That ale, wine and spirits, you never will drink,
You’ll give up, as they call it, such rascally swill,
And then you go into Father Mathew’s Mill.

There’s a wheel in this Mill that they call “self denial,”
They turn it a bit, just to give you a trial;
Old clothes are made new ones, and if you’ve been ill,
You’re very soon cured in Father Mathew’s Mill.

Bill listened, and wondered, and at length he cried out--
“Why, Tom, if it’s true what you’re telling about,
What fools we must be, to be here stting still,
Let us go and look in at Father Mathew’s Mill.”

They gazed with amazement, for up came a man,
With disease and excesses, his visage was wan,
He mounted the steps--signed the pledge with good will,
And went for a turn in Father Mathew’s Mill.

He quickly came out quite the picture of health,
And walked briskly on in the highway of wealth,
And, as onward he pressed, he shouted out still,
Success to the wheel of Father Mathew’s Mill!

The next that went in were a man and a wife,
For many long years they’d been living in strife,
He had beat and abused her, and swore he would kill,
But his heart took a turn in Father Mathew’s Mill.

And when he came out, oh how altered was he!
His conduct was changed; and how happy was she!
They no more contended--no, you shan’t--yes, I will,
But together they’re blessing Father Mathew’s Mill.

Then next came a fellow as grim as a Turk,
To curse and to swear seemed his principal work,
He swore that that morning, his skin he would fill,
And, drunk as he was, he reeled into the Mill.

But what he saw there, sure I never could tell,
But his Conduct was changed, and his language as well,
I saw, when he turned round the brow of the hill,
That he knelt and thanked God for Father Mathew’s Mill.

The poor were made rich, the rich were made strong,
The shot* was made short, and the purse was made long,
These miracles puzzled both Thomas and Bill,
At length they went in for Father Mathew’s Mill.

A little time after, I heard a great shout,
I turned round to see what the noise was about,
And a crowd, among which were both Thomas and Bill,
Were shouting hurrah for Father Mathew’s Mill.

* Credit.

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