THE COCKNEY TRAGEDIAN
 
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I used to wheel a barrow for my father down the 'cut'
Until I saw a drama at the 'Brit' wot turned my nut.
About a bloke in Manchester, unfortunately dumb,
Then like the villain of the play, said I, 'A time has come.'
I got a job to super, at, I think, a bob a night,
I waved a banner proudly as I entered from the right.
Since then I've played a lot of parts, but life ain't been too smooth,
They say, tho' unlike Irving, that my style suggests a Booth.

Chorus: I've played Rosencranz in 'Hamlet' and the crowd in 'Julius Caesar,
And Polonius, the father of Leartes, who's a 'geezer.
I'm told as 'Dunkin' in 'Macbeth' I very brightly shone,
I've played 'Touch-i-stone' in 'If you like it,' still I don't get on.

I travelled round the country with a ghost show for a week.
But chucked it 'cos they cut the only line I 'ad to speak;
I 'ired a little 'all and gave a round of Shakespeare's plays,
And 'ad 'em acted just as in the good old palmy days.
I thought with my experience the best thing I could do,
Was just to see if I could get an aspirant or two;
I taught 'em what i knew, which they declared was simply 'cod'
And all I got for teaching 'em was eighteen months in quad!

Chorus:

The Press, too, ain't been kind to me, I've copped it from 'em 'ot,
I've 'ad a pile of notices, not one good one in the lot;
They said when I played Shylock that it wasn't like a Jew,
They talked about my mannerisms, p'r'aps I 'ave a few!
They said I dropped my aitches when I played the wicked 'Bart',
But aitches don't make artists, and there ain't no 'H' in 'art'.
They oughter seen me wallow in the murky pool o' blood,
When I starred for 'Eavies down at Slocum-in-the-Mud.

Chorus:

 
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Performed by Albert Chevalier (1861-1923)
From monologues.co.uk Music Hall Lyrics Collection
 
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