ISABELLA, THE BARBER'S DAUGHTER
 
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When you hear my ditty my woes you will pity,
I'm engaged in the City from ten till three,
But I've been betray'd by a fascinating maid,
Who was Bosen in a bonnet shop at Battersea....
Her eyes were as black as the pips of a pear,
No rose in the garden with her cheeks could compare,
She'd a gingham umbrella,
Her name was Isabella
And her father kept a barber's shop at Islington.

On a Monday afternoon in the latter part of June,
From Waterloo I started for a ride to Battersea,
And as we drew near.....to Hungerford pier.....
A lovely lady I chanced to see...
In her hands a nosegay, 'twas a bundle of stocks,
A brown paper parcel and a blue bonnet-box,
A gingham umbrella,
Her name was Isabella
And her father's little barber's shop at Islington.

I rush'd to the gangway and proffer'd my assistance,
Oh the smile that she gave me as I handed her a seat,
I sat down beside her she offer'd no resistance
We talk'd of the weather the rain and the heat..
I asked her--her parents--I asked her their trade,
I asked her, her name, with a look half afraid
She raised her umbrella
"My name is Isabella,
And my father keeps a barber's shop at Islington."

Before we parted she'd all my affection
I enquired, "Should I see her at some future day!"
She simpered and smiled, and said, "she'd no objection"
As light as a fairy she tripped it away.
So we were engaged in a regular way,
My time passed as happy as the flowers in May,
When I thought of Isabella
And her gingham umbrella,
And her father's little barber's shop at Islington.

I took her to the Palace with a ticket of admission,
I took her to Richmond and the Gardens at Kew,
I took her to Madame Tussaud's exhibition,
Eight hours by the sea at Brighton too.
Oh! the presents I made and the letters I wrote,
From the first time I met her on a Citizen boat.
My darling Isabella,
And her gingham umbrella,
Whose father kept a barber's shop at Islington.

When you hear the sequel, you'll say it has no equal
In all the annals of woman's deceit,
I went one night to meet my Isabel,
But no Isabel was there to meet---
I searched far and wide till I happened to drop
In near the Angel, at a "sixpenny hop"---
Oh! there was Isabella
With a ginger-whiskered fellow
Doing "double shuffles" up at Islington!

I staggered with surprise then exclaimed...."Isabella!
"Do I look like a fool? Do you take me for a flat?"
She coolly replied, "Well I rather think I do,
And if you don't like it, take it out of that.
I rushed at my rival, satisfaction to get,
But found that my troubles had not ended yet---
For up jumped Isabella,
With her gingham umbrella,
And smashed my new "six and six" at Islington.

I rushed from the sight of the faithless spinster,
In the Thames dirty water repose for to find:
But before I reached the bridge of Westminster,
My opinions altered, and I changed my mind.
For folly must be paid for and wisdom bought:
There are fishes in the sea that have never been caught
So a fig for Isabella
And her gingham umbrella,
And her father's little barber's shop at Islington.
 
Trivia1

A distinctive type of song became popular in the Music Halls of the 19th Century. Songs typically had a limited musical range consisting of a verse or chorus with simple lyrics, which the audience could pick up quickly, and the performer would adopt a caricatured persona. The lyrics of this song include 'Her eyes were as black as the pips of the pear', which sounds a little strange to us but would have been a common term of endearment. Harry Clifton takes his audience on a tour of attractions around London such as Madame Tussaud's and Kew Gardens.

Trivia3
 
   Written, composed and performed by Harry Clifton (1832-1872) - 1863
From monologues.co.uk Music Hall Lyrics Collection
 
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