Modern Street Ballads


’Twas down in a snug little country town,
A barber once lived, named Jonathan Brown,
A man very tidily settled in life,
For he wanted for nothing excepting a wife.

A staring large bill in his window, displayed
The various branches he had in his trade,
Such as “shaving and dressing,” and then underneeth,
Was “Cupping and bleeding,” and drawing of teeth.*

But he wasn’t like one of your dentists in town,
Who for drawing a grinder would charge you a crown.
For, if you were only to give him the job,
Oh! he’d draw you all over his shop for a bob.

But he found the advantage of working so cheap,
For customers flock’d to his shop in a heap;
He cut hair for twopence and rubb’d ’em with grease,
And he tortured their chins at a penny a piece.

Thus single he lived, yet thriving his trade,
Yet still to get married, he constantly prayed,
Till a damsel, one day, came to give his mind ease,
And says she, Sir, I want my front dressed, if you please.

From that moment his heart was in Cupid’s net caught,
She encouraged his visits, but just as he thought
To make her his own, as she’d given her word,
A rival he found in a tailor,—Good Lord!

One night, unexpected, he popped in to see
How she was, when the tailor was sitting at tea,
Now, Sally, says he, turn him out if you can,
Don’t you know that he’s but the ninth part of a man?

The Tailor’s blood now, beginning to rise,
He swelled himself up to near double his size,
And he told him he wished that he never might squint,
But he’d pummel him well for his barbarous hint.

Now, Sally, she said she was sorely perplexed,
To know, which of the two she could fancy the best,
And to see them go quarrel for her she was loth,
For she thought she could very well manage them both.

They told her, that certainly wouldn’t be right,
But to see which would have her, they’d willingly fight,
Then to settle the job, they went in the next room,
And Sal, with a cobbler, jumped over a broom.**

* This notice still survives in some parts of the suburbs; and the barber’s pole, striped with its bandages, indicative of bleeding, is fast becoming obsolete.
** A form of marriage practised among the gipsies.

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