Modern Street Ballads


Good people, attend to my song,
And listen to something that’s witty,
It is not too short, or too long,
But concerning town, country and city.
Advice to all tradesmen I give,
Snips, bakers, snobs, grocers and tanners,
I’m a lady possessed of three outs,*
I’ve neither wit, money, nor manners,
      So pray of the bottle beware.

My old man is a ranting old snob,
He looks in the face like a monkey,
All night like a goose he does sob,
And he’s just as much sense as a donkey.
He sold all the old shoes in the shop,
And poured the contents down his throttle,
All day he sits hugging the pot,
And singing success to the bottle.

He has but one shirt to his back,
And that is all rent into stitches;
He has never a crown to his hat,
He has worn out the seat of his breeches.
An old sack for an apron he wears,
And his nose is as big as a pottle,
Last night he fell over the stairs,
Singing joy and success to the bottle.

Our bed clothes are all up the spout,
And jigs to the lapstone may whistle,
He the chairs and the tables took out,
His leather, awl, lapstone and bristles.
He sold all the lot for a bob,
And sent the proceeds down his throttle,
Bad luck to the drunken old snob,
May the devil take him and the bottle.

My gown the old rogue sold for rags,
Though with him I had a good tussle,
My nightcap he sold for a mag,
And three halfpence my bonnet and bustle.
There’s a hump growning out of his back,
Just nine times as large as a wattle,**
Last night he woke up in a fright,
And killed the poor cat with the bottle.

There’s the landlord calls three times a day,
And the butcher and baker, by jingo,
And if the old rogue doesn’t pay,
They’ll shove him for twelve months in limbo,
But they may as well talk to a post,
For the money all goes down his throttle,
Bad luck to the ugly old ghost,
May the devil fetch him and the bottle.

He says unto me, I am poor,
And call me his dear loving doxey,
And when he gets out of the door,
The boys holloa out after him, “Waxey.”
Enough for to drown a bull,
Every morning he pours down his throttle,
Don’t you think that I’ve got a good pull,
With the ranting old snob and the bottle.

The bottle has quite ruined me,
Though quiet and easy I take it;
The bottle has robbed me of tea,
And left me both hungry and naked.
The bottle has robbed the old snob,
And burnt all his tripes and his throttle
And, at length, what an excellent job!
Old Nick fetch’d the snob and the bottle.

* This is a cant term for a quartern of gin served in three glasses, which, between them, exactly hold the quantity.
** This word seems simply to be used in order to make up a rhyme. Of course, there are wattles of turkeys and wattles (hurdles), but neither are applicable.

<< I Likes a Drop of Good Beer   Rory O More Turned Teetotal >>

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.