I sing you a ditty of a damsel so pretty
Who lived from the city some seventeen miles
Her name is Maria, her worthy old Sire
Was clerk and town cryer. His name was John Styles
With lips like a cherry, a smile too so merry
I thought her the very one suited to please
And when I first met her and tried hard to get her
For worse or for better, she was shelling green peas.

Chorus: Under the trees, a bowl on her knees
Maria sat silently shelling green peas.

I'd long loved her dearly, truly sincerely
At length I thought really I'd settle for life
Although aged fifty I'd been very thrifty
And thought it was high time to be taking a wife
With bosom on fire... in search of Maria
Thro' lanes of wild briar o'er shadowed by trees
I strolled to the spot where outside her cot
She was sitting so patiently shelling green peas.

I stepped up unto her, commencing to woo her
I said, 'There's no truer heart could be found
Than mine, if she'd take me, some morning and make me
The happiest mortal for twenty miles round.'
I said, 'Our life might be one round of delight
Like the little birds singing upon the green trees.'
To a whisper then dropping, my voice without stopping
The question was popping, as she popped the peas.


No answer she made, and I was much afraid
That this beautiful maid had not heard all I said
At her feet kneeling, I tried to be stealing
A kiss when came reeling her hand on my head
'Do you think I'll engage' she cried out in a rage
'With a man twice my age, so clear out if you please'
In a terrible passion, at me she sent crashing
On my head smashing the bowl of green peas.


By way of addenda, she said, 'Sir, remember
That May and december can never unite
Your leave, Sir, be taking.' My neck nearly breaking
I made my escape in a terrible fright
I never will marry, but single will tarry
Tho' friends and acquaintances do nothing but tease
Whenever they meet me, in this style they greet me
'Old boy what's the price now of lamb and green peas?'

Chorus: Yes, how they tease, whenever they please
By shouting out after me, 'Lamb and green peas.'
Written composed and performed by Harry Clifton (1832-1872) - 1897
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