LIFE IN THE EAST END OF LONDON
 
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If you want to see the bustle of our East End London life
'Tis a matter very easy - soon your in the busy strife
'Here you are, sir, Mile End Road, sir - Jump up here along o' me.'
O'er the bridge and through the city off you rattle speedily
Hear the merry busman's banter with the cabmen on the way
'Now then, olden, come, pull up there! Ain't you had a fare all day?'
Up through Fenchurch Street he takes you, and before long you get down
'Midst the scenes you've come to visit in the wild wild east of Town.

Refrain: There you see the busy throng - How they push each other along
Some with a jovial laugh and song, some with woe quite undone
Who shall ever stay that tide? to the end it will abide
Riches and poverty side by side.
That is life in the East End of London.

See the coster with his barrow, loudly shouting buy, buy, buy
Fine and large, who'll buy a marrow?' Sells his lot - feels bloonin' dry
Goes into a pub 'close handy' but he knows the one to choose
Stops until he's chucked out singing, 'rooty songs' and full of booze
Then on Sundays he and others take their 'donahs' for a drive
(And to seat behind one gee-gee they can manage twenty-five
Off to Epping, good old Epping - late at night come home again
No one knows which is his donah - each one shouts a different strain.

Refrain: 'When The Bloom is on the Rye', 'Hi tiddley hi ti hi ti hi'
'Drink up boys and Never say Die' (Never is the fun done)
'Gipsy Maid' must harmonise with 'Two lovely fine black eyes'
'Happy-go-lucky the coster boys'
That is life in the East End of London.

Mark, the Jew there, old clothes selling, swears the coats a perfect love
'Fitsh yer where it touches, does it? S'elp me fitsh yer like a glove.'
See the loafing drunken ruffian - children clinging to his knees
'Come home father, we're so hungry - do come home to mother please
See the chick-a-leary joker - does the 'dipping' knows his game
See the outcast on the pavement - once so pure, now lost to shame
See the heartless wealthy 'sweater', fat and sleek and 'knows his book'
Then upon his toil-worn victim let us cast a pitying look.

Refrain: Stitch, stitch, stitch in your poverty,
Every night and day is she
For her starving children three,
Harder work by none done
Stitch, stitch, stitch while bread they crave
Doomed to die the 'sweater's' slave
Her only rest is the pauper's grave
Such is life in the East End of London.

 
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Performed by J.W. Rowley (1847-1924)
From monologues.co.uk Music Hall Lyrics Collection
 
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