Modern Street Ballads


It’s a woeful bad take I’m about to relate,
It happened years back, but I don’t know the date;
It’s a heart rending tale of two babbies so good,
Vot vos starved to death in a blackberry wood.
Ven they vos quite infants, they lost their mamma,
They vos both left alone in the vorld vith their pa,
To attend to his babbies vos alvays his plan,
But their nunky he vos such a vicked old man,
Their nunky he vos such a hard hearted man.

In their daddy’s last moments and on his death bed,
He sent for their nunky, and to him he said,
“I feel I am going, come, tip us your fin,
Look after my babbies, take care of their tin:
But should they both croak, vich I hope they vont do,
The whole of their ochre I give unto you.”
Says he “My dear brother, I’ll to all I can—
But their nunky he vos a deceitful old man.
Their nunky he vos, etc.

He’d scarce laid his brother under the ground,
Vhen he sold all the things in the house vot vos found;
He took the two babbies home to his abode,
And he bought ’em some hard bake to eat on the road,
He bought ’em some apples—he bought ’em parched peas,
A new penny loaf, and a ha’porth of cheese;
He blowed out their bags with all sort of scran,
But their nunky he vos a deceitful old man.
Their nunky he vos, etc.

Vhen he looked at the kids, he longed for their gold;
In damp sheets he laid ’em, ‘cos he thought they’d catch cold;
They both cought the measles, and the whooping cough,
And he prayed every night that it would take em off,
But they got over that, and all other disease
Vich kids mostly have—which it didn’t him please;
So to cook the poor babbies, he thought on a plan,
For their nunky he vos such a vicked old man.
Their nunky he vos, etc.

He hired two barbers vot vos both out of vork,
To take the two babbies to Norwood to burk,
Now ven they got there, they altered their minds—
They both cut their sticks—left their babbies behind.
They wandered about, did those infants so good
They ate all the blackberries that growed in the wood,
Vith hips, haws, and sloes, their bellies did cram,
Through their nunky who vos such a vicked old man,
Their nunky he vos, etc.

They liv’d till next night ven they guv up the ghost,
They vos both on ’em freezed as stiff as a post;
A cock robin vos perched on a tree close by,—
He vept as he vitnessed those babbies die;
Then he kivered ’em over, as nice as could be,
Vith some cabbage leaves fresh, vot he picked off a tree,
And he hopped, and he twittered, and the song that he sang,
Vos “Their nunky he must be a vicked old man.
Their nunky he vos, etc.

Not a vink of sleep, after, nunky he got,
The whole of his body was seized vith the rot,
The whole of his toes dropped off his feet,
And teeth tumbled out of his mouth in the street.
The ghosts of the babbies, next night it is said,
They com’d and they tore all the hair off his head.
And vhen he valked out, the boys arter him ran,
Crying, cruel old nunky, you vicked old man.
Cried after their nunky, etc.

He dwindled away to a mere bag of bones,
Till the neighbors von night vos alarmed at his groans,
His house on that night vos burned down to the ground,
Not a remnant of nunky vos there to be found.
The ruins so strongly of brimstone did smell,
And the neighbors all round this story do tell;
That the devil that night avay vith him ran,
‘Cos their nunky he vos such a vicked old man.
Cos their nunky he vos, etc.

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