THE MAY-DAY FIREMAN
 
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Although our town from fire is free
An idea once occurred to me
I'd raise a kind of fire brigade
For I'd heard there's money to be made
We're not the regular fire brigade
But five good boys who have a trade
A noble this gallant little band
Together we will fall or stand.

(Oh well, that's silly that is, because there's two of them can't stand at all. They've got the gout, and I've just fallen off the engine meself. You know when you start a thing like this there's a lot of trouble occurs. You know, I told the four boys that're with me. We've been out of work now for over a twelve month because they've pulled a house down where we used to stand on the corner. But I told them and I said We can make a bit of money by being a small fire brigade. I said, And I'll pop up and see the Superintendant. So I went up and I said to him er he was in his office. I said er My idea was that we could be of some assistance. I said, er of course, er There was only one fire brigade in the village and that was his. And if a fire broke out at both ends of the village it'd be impossible for him to squirt from one end to the other. So I told him it was my idea I said We could be of some service. I said a sort of little Aid de Camp brigade. And if you had any little fires that you didn't want to attend to, I said, we can pop round and keep 'em going until you come up you see. Of course, he could see the idea. A very nice man he was. He never answered me. And I waited for about half an hour outside. And you see my idea was this. Not so much the fires as the salvage. I said we can light all the boilers. I said we can pop round while the fire is on and look for salvage you see. Or, I said, we can do this all before there's a fire and find a bit of salvage somewhere. Or I said perhaps in the middle of the night we could go into houses and look round and make ourselves acquainted so that if there's a fire we don't come up as strangers. So Butterworth turned round and said why not be burglars? Now, you know, Butterworth's got no brains. You know, of course, we wouldn't have him in the crowd only the engine belongs to him. Well, it's not an engine really, It's more of an enginette. In fact it's a wagonette really. It's what Butterworth moves his furniture with. Isn't it funny how things happen. This is the first day that we've started out on the engine and it's the first day that I've sat on the back of the wagonette without falling off. But it was done and I'm certain of my agility. I turn round to say to Butterworth, 'Have you got the bottled bass in the wagonette?' 'Cos I believe in having the er bass ready in case of accidents. And he gave the horse a jerk and I fell off on to my face, in the mud. Now they've gone to do this you know by themselves. It's very funny, they don't know where they're going, they haven't the address of the fire. And when they get there they can't do anything. I've got the nose of the hose!)

But when the bells begin to ring
We all go tearing about
It takes us just an hour and a half
To get the engine out
Then off we go to answer duty's call
When we get to the fire the fires gone out
Or there isn't a fire at all.
 
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Performed by Dan Leno (1860-1904)
 
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