THE OLD BARNSTORMER
by Frank Wood & Cuthbert Clarke (1933) Don't wake me up, for I'm dreaming to-night Of the good old days long since taken flight. We were either play-acting or running a booth With animals, freaks, and our motto, 'The Truth!' Walk up! Walk up! Walk up and see The horse's head where his tail ought to be. Yes that was the old Barnstormers' cry In the good old days long since gone by. The unselfish days when each of us shared The good with the bad and nobody cared. When luck was out and little to eat, The ground for a bed, the sky for a sheet. Walk up! Walk up! Walk up and see The Horse's head where his tail ought to be. How the people laughed when his 'rudder' they saw In the manger while there was his head on the floor. Walk up and see the Giddy Giraffe, With a neck ten foot long that'll make you 'laff, And all that he lives on is one meal a day, 'Cos a little with him goes a blooming long way. Walk up! and see the famous freak, The Bearded Lady' from Cripple Creek. There's only two nights to gaze on this freak, He's got to go back to his wife next week. The Human Ostrich, a funny galloot. Swallowed swords and chewed glass like a kid eating fruit. Then he had to lay off, for the silly great goat Had some kippers and got a bone stuck in his throat. Jugo the Juggler, who juggled with knives, And scared all the audience out of their lives. His wife on the stage, and he in the pit, While ev'ryone marvelled why she wasn't hit. He'd throw at her head and he once got so near, By the eighth of an inch a big knife grazed her ear. And a navvy somewhere in the back seats roared 'I'm blowed if 'e ain't gone and missed 'er, the fraud!' Walk up! Walk up and take a good view Of the old spotted leopard from Wongapaloo! He can change all his spots and without any bother, When he's tired of one spot he sits on another. Here walk up and see the performing flea, He was born in Brighton in seventy-three. To the people what went there to spend a week-end, He was known to the crowd as a bosom friend. I shall never forget our old play-acting crowd, We'd tramped fifty miles and though poor we were proud. We arrived at a village and there we could see The sun in the distance as bright as could be; I cried, 'Cheer up, laddies, and on with the show, Yon sunset provides us a welcoming glow.' Then a yokel cried, 'That be no sunset, ole Squire, Vor that be the bloomin theatre on fire.' Walk up! Walk up! what glorious times — No velvet curtains with headlights and limes — None of your talkies and music that's canned A drum and a whistle that did for a band. When the curtain falls and a voice calls me To a place be it colder or warmer I hope I shall hear 'Walk up and see, The last of an old barnstormer!'
The end