'What will my boy become when he grows to man's estate?'
Thus spoke a woman so lovingly,
As she rocked her baby on her knee.
Although it was early dawn, daddy had just gone out,
Taking his jemmy, revolver too,
Burglary his game, no doubt;
So she asks of that child of the slum,
'Ah! what will become?'

Chorus: Why, at home all day, in the house he'll stay,
Then creep out at night on the burgling lay;
Robbing anybody in the old sweet way,
Though seven years, if caught, hangs o'er him.
Over the walls he will gaily climb,
Capture the swag, 'do the guy' sublime,
He'll get nabbed nad then, and do his bit o' time,
As his father did before him.

'What will my boy become when he grows to man's estate?'
Thus spoke a bull-necked pugilist, who
Once was Pet of the 'Fancy crew';
The youngster play'd round his knees,
With never a thought of care,
And the fond father smiled at the antics of
His rough little son and heir;
Then he mumbled, in tones rather glum,
'Ah! what will he become?'

Chorus: Why, he'll make a match for a thousand pounds,
Hoax the British public beyond all bounds;
'Knock out' his opponent in about two rounds,
With a gentle little tap he'll floor him.
Then, when their backers have gone from view,
And no-one's about to see what they may do,
He'll cut up the stakes and the British Public too,
As his father did before him!

'What will my boy become when he grows to man's estate?'
A mother once asked of her orphan boy,
A wee lad of seven, her pride and joy;
They sat in a cheerless room,
Laden with care and toil;
And she thought of her husband who'd fought and bled,
Out on a foreigner's soil.
'Will he follow the beat of the drum?
Ah! what will he become?'

Chorus: When Britain wants soldiers to face the foe,
His services he'll give and be proud to go;
The same old British pluck then, as of yore, he'll show,
When fighting with the dear old colours o'er him!
Then, when old age on the hero shall steal,
And death shall release him and his wants repeal,
He'll be buried by the parish, in a coffin of deal,
As his father was before him.

Written and composed by Harry Castling - 1898
Performed by Rosie D'Alberg
From Music Hall Lyrics Collection
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