THE STORY OF A SHILLING
 
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Once a little well-worn shilling in my purse I chanced to see
Unto me it told in fancy its eventful history
Said the shilling, 'I was given to a beggar in the Town
He cried, 'This'll run a supper, and a three-penny shake down.

Chorus: He hurried on with head on high
His nose three points up in the sky
But as a 'public' he passed by
He for a drink felt willing
He ordered half a pint of 'four'
When 'twas drawn he gave a roar
His dream of grub and doss were o'er
He'd lost the blooming shilling.


Said the little well-worn shilling, 'I was found at break of day
By a working man who with me took his wife to see the play
When at length the show was over I migrated round the stage
There a hungry supper got me for his scanty evening wage.

Chorus: He hurried home to wife and child
With cold and hunger nearly wild
But when they saw me how they smiled
What joy their hearts were filling
Soon in their room a fire's bright glow
Did on a steaming supper show
'Tis only good and poor folks know
The value of a shilling.


Said the little well-worn shilling, 'After that by chance I went
In the keeping of a gambler who had all his fortune spent
So he wrote to his old uncle whom he knew had lots of pelf
'I am ruined, send some money, or else I shall drown myself.'

Chorus: Next morning's post to him revealed
A letter registered and sealed
It ran, 'To your request I yield
And as you talk of killing
That you may not by drowning die
But end your life on land that's dry
Some good strong rat poison to buy
I send this little shilling.'


Said the little well-worn shilling, 'After fortune good and bad
I went from an army sergeant to a new enlisted lad
He had left his country ploughshare where since boyhood he had been
Seeking fickle fame and fortune in the service of the queen.

Chorus: Soon o'er the ocean with his corps
He stood in Britain's ranks of war
In battle ever to the fore
When bugle calls were thrilling
With just one prayer for child and wife
He rushed out bravely in the strife
And risked his limbs - aye, gave his life
For England and a shilling.
 
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Performed by Marie Loftus (1857-1940)
 
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