Modern Street Ballads


One night, being pressed by his old friend Chubb,
To go to an Undertaker’s Club,
I’ll furnish you all, if that I dare,
With a mournful account of this grave affair.

For such a black looking lot is this Club of
Undertakers, such a black looking set
            You never did see.

This selfsame Club, and House of Call,
Was held at Blackheath, or else Blackwall,
The landlord’s name it was Blackmore,
And an African Chief hung over the door.

The Undertakers had all met.
They were dress’d in black a dingey set,
The picture frames black, and so were the walls,
And the window curtains made of palls.

The stove black leaded not long had been,
On the table was laid Blackwood’s magazine,
The carpet was black and so was each chair,
The chairman’d black whiskers and raven hair.

The supper was laid, there were lots of black game,
With polonies in mourning to match with the same,
There were blackbird pies, and nothing but good ‘uns,
And a quantity of good black puddings.

The knives were black, and so were the forks,
Black strap in black bottles, with black sealed corks,
The rules of the club, were done in black figures,
And the waiters and cooks were all of them niggers.

The dessert was black grapes, and black heart cherries.
Blackcurrants, and mulberries, and blackberries.
Prunes and elder wine were there,
Which just made up this black bill affair.

Mr. Sable sang first, and what should he choose on,
But the favourite ballad of black eyéd Susan,
The coal black steed, Mr. Hatband chose,
And Mr. Merryhall sang coal black rose.

The best that was sung and that all did confess,
Was the favourite song of My bonny Black Bess,
The Chairman then whistled, when his throat was clear,
The fav’rite grand march that is played in Black Beard.

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The End As I Know It: A Novel of Millennial Anxiety, by proprietor Kevin Shay, is now available in paperback.

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