Come listen to my ditty, I'm a merchant in the city
I've got a wife, the best in life; she's forty, fat, and fair
And though I love her dearly, it happened very queerly
I sent her down to Margate, as she wanted change of air.

(She went by train; I meant to follow by,)

Chorus: The husbands' boat, the husbands' boat
Jolly old boys when we're afloat
The husbands' boat, the husbands' boat
For Margate in the morning.

We had a lovely parting, and just as the train was starting
My wife called out, 'Don't go about to see the sights in town'
Of course I said 'Oh no dear. Without you 'twould be slow dear
So, by the boat, on Saturday, you may expect me down.'

(I kept my promise, and I didn't go to more than five concert halls in one night. The eagle, Highbury Barn, and the National Gallery don't count, of course)

On Saturday according, the boat I soon was boarding
And with a lot of husbands got, a jolly set were we
Imagine my surprise, then, I chanced to turn my eyes on, when
I saw a lovely damsel who was looking straight at me.

We got in conversation; I stood a cold collation,
We soon got near to Margate Pier; the time went quickly by
Around her taper waist, then, my arm I just had placed when
I heard a voice that brought me to my senses instantly.

('Oh, look, Ma! There's Father. Isn't it kind of him to bring your dressmaker with him on board?')

My feelings won't bear painting; my wife with rage was fainting
I'll draw the veil upon a scene so painfully severe
Be careful, I entreat you; your wives may come to meet you
Then take your arm away when you're in sight of Margate Pier.

My wife said 'Dear, now, really. Indeed, I speak sincerely
I think you'd better take the rail when you come down again'
Indeed I don't invent it; you may think that I meant it
But every Saturday, somehow, I chanced to miss the train.

(So with the old girl's permission I returned once more to)

Written and composed by Frank W. Green & Alfred Lee - 1869
Performed by Alfred Vance (1838-1888) a.k.a. ' The Great Vance '
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