Modern Street Ballads


Of all the gay fashions that are come in vogue,
Since wearing the mantle, or bonny red brogue,
There’s none so praiseworthy—you’ll find—I declare,
As the elegant fashion of papering the hair.

The modern dames, both abroad and at home,
Have got such a fashion of wearing the comb;
To church or to market, they cannot repair,
But must take an hour to paper their hair.

When in the evening they chance for to walk,
To see their sweethearts, and with them to talk,
An hour or two they must certainly spare,
To fit in their combs, and to paper their hair.

From walking at evening these ladies retire,
They draw up their seats, and chat by the fire,
The tongs then to warm, they ready prepare,
To squeeze up the papers quite tight in their hair.

And when that these ladies give over their talk,
Then up to the looking-glass straight they will walk,
They’ll dance, and they’ll caper, their arms they will square,
To see if the papers look tight in their hair.

It’s the cheapest of curling that ever was found,
You may do it with pipes, white, black, or brown;
For colour of hair, I suppose they don’t care,
For they tear up the Bible to paper their hair.

All you young lads that are frisky and trig,
Pray shun the old females that wear a false wig;
To toy with a young one, still make it your care,
Whose delight is to trim up, and paper her hair.

Should you meet with a female, whose hair is cut short,
Among other fair ones she is but a sport;
She looks very shabby and out of repair,
When she’s wanting the comb, and the paper’d-up hair.

But when they are married, it’s just the reverse,
The paper and combs they quickly disperse;
For nursing and cooking is then their whole care,
They may then bid adieu to the paper’d-up hair.

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