I COULDN'T
 
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I went to see some dear old pals of mine the other night,
And we'd drinks and smokes and jolly jokes, and I fancy I got tight.
When I got home, 'twas half past three, or rather, nearly four.
I found my latch key and I tried to open the street door.

Chorus: I couldn't! I couldn't! I'll not tell you a lie.
I couldn't! That's a fact, and so the truth I'll not deny.
It's no use me deceiving you. Upon my word, I wouldn't.
I tried to get the latch key in, but 'pon my soul I couldn't!


I couldn't find the keyhole, though very hard I tried,
When all at once the street door was thrown open very wide.
There stood the missus, who exclaimed, "You nasty, horrid man!
I can see what you've been at. You're tight. Deny it if you can."

Chorus: I couldn't! I couldn't! I'll not tell you a lie.
I couldn't! That's a fact, and so the truth I'll not deny.
It's no use me deceiving you. Upon my word, I wouldn't.
I tried to say I wasn't tight, but 'pon my soul I couldn't!


I shut the door, looked dignified, and tried to walk upstairs,
But my dignity was dropped, and so was I, quite unawares.
My foot caught in the carpet, and down I went full stretch.
My wife said, "This is dreadful, James! Get up, you horrid wretch!"

Chorus: I couldn't! I couldn't! I'll not tell you a lie.
I couldn't! That's a fact, and so the truth I'll not deny.
It's no use me deceiving you. Upon my word, I wouldn't.
I tried my hardest to get up, but 'pon my soul I couldn't!


At last she got me up the stairs and into the bedroom,
And said, "You've made me feel so faint, I know that I shall swoon."
I sat down on a chair and oh! the pains in my poor head!
My wife said, "James, undress yourself at once and go to bed."

Chorus: I couldn't! I couldn't! I'll not tell you a lie.
I couldn't! That's a fact, and so the truth I'll not deny.
It's no use me deceiving you. Upon my word, I wouldn't.
I tried to take my garments off, but 'pon my soul I couldn't!


Now I never was teetotal, and I never drink too much,
But spirituous liquors from that night I never touch,
And I feel so much better that, upon my word, I think
That coffee, tea and chocolate from this time forth I'll drink.

Chorus: I couldn't! I couldn't! I'll not tell you a lie.
I couldn't! That's a fact, and so the truth I'll not deny.
It's no use me deceiving you. Upon my word, I wouldn't.
I've tried to be teetotal, but 'pon my soul I couldn't!
 
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Written, composed and performed by Arthur Lloyd (1840-1904)
From monologues.co.uk Music Hall Lyrics Collection
 
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