‘She Was Poor, But She Was Honest’

‘She Was Poor, But She Was Honest’

“She was poor, but she was honest,
Victim of the Squire’s whim,
First he loved her, then he left her,
And she lost her honest name.

Then she ran away to London,
For to hide her grief & shame,
There she met another squire,
And she lost her name again.

See her riding in her carriage,
In the park and all so gay,
All the nibs & nobby persons,
Come to pass the time of day.

See the little old-world village,
Where her aged parents live,
Drinking the champagne she sends them,
But they never can forgive.

In the rich man’s arms she flutters,
Like a bird with a broken wing,
First he loved her, then he left her,
And she hasn’t got a ring.
See him in the splendid mansion,
Entertaining with the best,
While the girl as he has ruined,
Entertains a sordid guest.

See him in the House of Commons,
Making laws to put down crime,
While the victim of his passions,
Trails her way through mud & slime.

See her on the bridge at midnight,
Crying “Farewell, faithless love”,
There’s a scream, a splash – Good Heavens!
What is she a-doing of?

Then they dragged her from the river,
Water from her clothes they wrung,
They all thought that she was drownded,
But the corpse got up and sung:

“It’s the same the whole world over,
It’s the poor as gets the blame,
It’s the rich as gets the pleasure
Ain’t it all a blooming shame?””

In the middle of each month, one member of Headley Poetry Group chooses a poem to be shared among group members ahead of their next meeting. This month it’s the turn of an anonymous poem, believed to have come from 19th century music hall.

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