IN THE DAYS OF THE CAVALIER
 
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I am but the shadow of men passed away
A race out of place in the world of today
A world of deceit and of new-fangled views
Of proud, vulgar upstarts, and rich parvenues
Whose loud voices ring through our ancestral halls
Whose fancies disfigure their time-honoured walls
For though in some things improvement is shown
In others, egad, the past still holds its own.

Chorus: For men were men in the olden time
Not money making schemers
We had less poverty, want and crime
And socialistic dreamers
Life was worth living, for England's wealth
Was shared with justice sincere
More equally twixt the masters and men
In the days of the Cavalier.


Our quarrels at dawn, whether peasant or lord
We met and fought out at the point of a sword
We did not, like curs, seek the lawyers crafty aid
But in 'pinking' our man every insult repaid
Then the women of England were honest and true
And with powder and paint had but little to do
With their home and their duties contented - not then
Imitating the dress and the manners of men.

Chorus: For men were men in the olden time
Not bogus-bank promoters
We had less poverty, want and crime
No would-be women voters
Women were women, and if untrue
To those they had sworn to revere
No divorces we sought - the betrayers we fought
In the days of the Cavalier.


Our travelling then was with whip, spur and reins
On a fleet-footed steed through old England's green lanes
The pace was but slow, but untroubled by jars
Or the tricks and the smells of your new motor-cars
Our land then a refuge had long proved to be
For those driven out from their homes o'er the sea
To the poor and oppressed our true sympathy shown
But not by a way that meant starving our own.

Chorus: For men were men in the olden time
each helper his poorer neighbour
We had less poverty, want and crime
And no cheap foreign labour
Strikes were unknown, and our workmen then
At a fair day's wage, without fear
Could find labour at home, without crossing the foam
In the days of the Cavalier.


For the love of true sport then were Englishmen famed
And in cottage and hall it was boldly proclaimed
And our taste for the field, and the staff, and the chase
Had helped in the world to give England her place
Then each dressed to his station, and not on the plan
That fashions the master the same as the man
Their guineas spent freely, but debts always paid
And said in plain English a spade is a spade.

Chorus: For men were men in the olden time
Not petty, prim deceivers
Sporting had not been deemed a crime
By anti-gambling Leaguers
Diplomacy then did not rule the age
And, though hated by foes far and near
Englishmen they would trust - for they knew they were just
In the days of the Cavalier.


For humbugs and frauds then our hatred was keen
For an Englishman's hate of the ways that are mean
Our pleasures and games too, we freely enjoyed
Nor allowed them by cranks to be ruled or destroyed
Our navy was then every Englishman's toast
And it's old wooden walls could of victory boast
Manned by brave hearts and hands who proved staunch and true
And against Spain's Armada showed what they could do

Chorus: For men were men in the olden time
Not narrow-minded canters
We had less poverty, want and crime
And no salvation ranters
Our country we loved, and its strength and fame
Our foes we had taught to revere
And they dreaded our steel - for they knew it was real
In the days of the Cavalier.


And yet, looking back through the years fading fast
I see a link binding present and past
A woman ruled them - as a woman rules now
To whose laws and whose wishes men proudly would bow
And our land they have blessed, for when ruled by a queen
Its best and most glorious days it has seen
And though in Victoria today you possess
Truer woman and monarch than we did in 'Bess'.

Chorus: For men were men in the olden time
With noble words and actions
Their loyalty shown to the crown and the throne
And, spite of party factions
Englishmen proud of Victoria's reign
Will be, when they honour it here
As loyally seen singing 'God Save the Queen'
In the days of the Cavalier.
 
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Performed by Vesta Tilley (1864-1952)
 
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