Modern Street Ballads


You lads and you lasses so gay,
Now keep yourselves tidy and sober,
And never forget the grand day,
The thirtieth day of October.*
When the QUEEN and Prince ALBERT so grand,
With their dear little sons and their daughter,
Will all get in a boat at Whitehall,
And go down to the city by water,
      To open the New Coal Exchange.

To tell you about the concern,
It is Queen VICTORIA’S desire then,
Her pocket is got very low,
Through her journey to Scotland and Ireland.**
To see them along go so gay,
Throw open your doors and your windows,
A coal shed they’ve took, so they say,
To retail Newcastles and cinders,
      A coal porter Albert will be.

Such a sight sure there has not been seen,
Believe me my friends there has never,
As there is to see England’s Queen,
In a collier so gay on the river.
Not a gun must be fired on that day,
Not a barge nor a boat must be stopping,
But they must be all cleared away,
Three miles and a half below Wapping.
      Won’t that be a glorious sight!

The Dukes, Lords and Ladies so gay,
Will whistle and sing when they’ve started,
And when they arrive near the key,
They will anchor near Billingsgate Market.
And then all on shore they will go,
To be gazed at by wise folk and simple,
Where they’ll have a good blow out of crabs,
Of oysters, red herrings and winkles.
      Move on and get out of the way.

To receive them will be the Lord Mayor,
And his lady, as sweet as a myrtle,
Lots of Aldermen too will be there,
To treat her with salmon and turtle.
At the Custom House Pier they will stand,
And the citizens gay will receive her,
And make ALBERT, as we understand,
An out and out sstunning coalheaver.
      Such wonders we never did see.

To the brim they will fill up a sack,
And drink a good health to the nation,
Then clap it on Prince ALBERT’S back,
What a change it will be in his station.
There will be dukes and earls too,
Coal merchants, silk weavers and wasters,
When AL will put on his smock frock,
Knee breaches, white stockings and gaiters,
      A coal porter ALBERT will be.

Let us hope they will have a good trade,
And be able to flare up like flinders,
There’s many a fortune been made
By wetting the coals and the cinders.
Prince ALBERT will not be compelled
To carry the sacks, but he’d rather,
And the young PRINCE OF WALES will be there,
For to measure the coals for his father.
      Seven pounds for a penny, good weight.

So now to conclude, my good friends,
If it won’t be a sight, it’s a pity,
The QUEEN and her husband so fine,
And her children, all down in the City.
The colliers drest in all their best,
At the Custom House wait to receive her,
Here’s a health to VICTORIA so grand,
And Prince ALBERT the slashing coalheaver,
      A dealer in Newcastle coals.

* 1849.
** Scotland, September, 1844; Ireland, August, 1849.

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