Modern Street Ballads


O, what a world of flummery, there’s nothing but deceit in it,
So you’ll find al through life, as you travel on,
High and low, rich and poor, every one you meet in it,
’Tis the same, I will maintain, and prove it in my song;
When I was poor, I found that friends did very seldom heed me,
Till true ones came, and left me cash that set me all afloat,
So I thought among my friends I’d try who would relieve me,
And, to fathom out deception, I put on a ragged coat.

I thought my friends I’d try the first, for I had got a many,
At least that professed to be—at Kew was Mr. Ford—
So I thought a trip by steam would be as cheap as any,
Went down to London Bridge, and set my foot on board.
I heard a puppy say, though lowly he did breathe it,
“It’s a shame, to let such ragged people board a steam boat,”
But, says I, My foolish fellow, there’s a good heart beats beneath,
So don’t despise a man because he wears a ragged coat.

The journey o’er, and safe arrived, I set my foot on shore, Sir,
Glad enough from such a crew was I to get relief,
So I walk’d up to the house, and knock’d loud at the door, Sir,
All the people eyeing me, as if I was a thief.
But the door was slammed in my face, with many a bitter snarl, Sir,
So I shouted out, Good Mr. Ford, I’ve come to pay that note;
O dear, (says Ford) pray step this way, and show’d me to the parlour, Sir,
We thought you came a begging in that ragged coat.

A chair was quickly placed for me, and down I sat instanter,
You came from town, you must be tired, pray stop here and dine,
Jane, bring the glasses, and likewise the decanter,
Ah, Sir, you’ll find this some excellent port wine.
Your wine, Sir, you may keep, although I have no dress on,
I have changed my mind, and mean to keep my note.
And put it to some better use, so let this be a lesson,
Don’t despise a man because he’s got a ragged coat.

Next I went courting the brisk widow Moore,
Reached the house, gave a tap, and boldly in I goes,
My suit I pressed, buy she exclaim’d, Here, show the knave the door,
For at sight of my appearance, she turn’d up her nose,
But, when I show’d a bag of gold, she wish’d to be a talker,
At the sound of the rhino she quickly chang’d her note,
But, says I, I’m off, dear ma’am, it’s time my name was Walker,
So don’t despise a man because he’s got a ragged coat.

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