Modern Street Ballads


Two Israelite brothers in New York once dwelt,
And, in all kind of Merchandize freely they dealt,
They were thought to be wealthy, between me and you,
And each brother was really as rich as a Jew.

No creditor e’er went away from their door,
Till death called on Moses to settle his score;
No mortal can ever evade such a call,
So Moses, he slept, Sirs, his last sleep of all.

Then Isaac, his brother, exclaimed, lucky elf,
All his goods and his monies belong to myself.
Ah! but stop, dere’s his will, I must just read it through,
To see what poor Moses would have me to do.

The Will it ran thus, when I shall cease to live,
All my cash, and my goods, to my brother I give,
Upon this condition, that hard he shall toil,
To bury my body in real English Soil.

Isaac tried every Captain, but could not prevail,
For none would agree with the body to sail,
But, not to be baulked, he set quickly to work,
And embarked it at last as a barrel of pork.

Mo was cut up in pieces with chopper and knife,
He had never been cut up so much in his life,
Isaac wrote to his agent to tell him his plan,
And begged of him to bury the poor pickled man.

Some months after this, as he walked on the wharf,
He met with the Captain, a yellow fac’d dwarf,
Vell, goot Captain, he cried, looking steadfastly round
You delivered my barrel, I hope, safe and sound.

Said the Captain, Friend Isaac, I’m sorry to say,
That during our trip, we were near cast away,
When in sight of old England, we lay a sheer hulk,
As provisions were scarce, we were forced to break bulk.

Preak pulk! roar’d out Isaac, you’re worse than a Turk,
Put, surely, you ne’er proke my parrel of pork?
Indeed, but we did, cried the Captain, don’t huff,
For I’ll pay a good price, though ’twas defilish tough.

Ach! mein Gott! cried poor Isaac, as I am a sinner,
You have eaten my poor proder Moses for dinner;
Your brother! why zounds! then myself and my crew,
Have feasted three days on a piece of tough Jew.

But come, now, my friend Isaac, to finish this work,
I’ll pay you for your brother, as if he’d been pork;
No, no, replied Isaac, though we cheat one another,
Our law won’t permit us to sell our own prother.

In his purse back, the Captain was putting his gold,
Which Isaac, espying, cried, Goot Captain, hold,
Though I can’t touch the cash, for that proder of mine
You can pay me, you know, for the parrel and prine.

<< Things I Don't Like to See   All Round My Hat >>

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.