When you see 'pros' on the stage, you never give a thought
To the scene-shifters, the men who move the lime
Now, I'm a scene-shifter by trade - a beer shifter by birth
And I've done a bit of shifting in my time
We only get small pay, but we make shift with what we get
While the shift that I'm wearing was a gift
But still the wife and I jog on, and - jog along
And if we can't pay the rent - well, we can shift.

Chorus: I think I'd better shift this scene
I think I'd better shift this scene
Of course, you know, the wife and I, we hit it splendidly
Well, she does the hitting when we chance to disagreee
But mind, I wouldn't lose her, well, I couldn't if I would
And only three months married we have been
Three months, and we've a lovely little, pretty little kitten
But I think I'd better shift this scene.

I don't suppose you knew that I was once in Irving's crowd
And I don't suppose you care much now you know
Well, anyway, it is so - and one night I shan't forget
Ellen Terry came to me and she said, 'Joe.'
(Mind, they call me other names) But she said, 'Joe,
I want.' (Oh Henry Irving's on the stage, you understand)
She said, 'Joe, when Henry comes off at this side,

Chorus: I want you to shift this scene
I want you to shift this scene
I said, 'All right, Miss Terry' and I stood there at the side
When Irving pointed at me from the stage, and wildly cried
'Ah, ah, a knave is lurking there at yonder castle gates
Methinks 'twere best that I should intervene
The good Queen's life the ruffian seeks.' I said, 'Don't you tell lies
I'm only waiting here to shift this scene.'

We scene shifters are merry dogs, we laugh and sing 'Oh, Oh,'
At the 'owe-owe' business we are very thick
Although when I got wed, I bought the furniture for cash
Well, the clock, I think, is all we had on tick
But speaking of my home, when I got in the other night
In our little sitting room I chanced to go
The wife sat on the sofa with the lodger hand-in-hand
I took off my coat and said, 'well, I don't know

Chorus: I think I'd better shift this scene
I think I'd better shift this scene
And so I did, I sold the couch, and spoke cross to the wife
But have I told you of the proudest moment of my life?
'Twas one night, at the 'Lane',
The King came round behind the stage
And when he introduced me to the Queen
He said, 'Come, Joe, and wine with us.'
I said, No, Ted, I can't old man
I've got to stop and shift this scene.'

Last Christmas, at the 'Theatre Royal', they ran a pantomime
When I say it 'ran' that's rather overdone
It didn't 'run', it only walked - and very slow at that
So they took it off because it wouldn't run
My missis went as dresser, and I went to shift the scenes
And be generally useful for a quid
The Chorus:girls were great, and if the wife had not been there
I'd have had a better time than what I did.

Chorus: I think I'd better shift this scene
I think I'd better shift this scene
Those girls would flock around me - Oh! I had a lovely time
I felt more like a Rajah in a far-off Eastern clime
They'd say, 'Come in the Green Room,
Joe, and have a drink with us.'
To take it on, mind, I felt very keen
But when I thought of 'Adam and the Apple' and my missis, I said
'No, I'd better shift this scene.'
Written and composed by F. Leo - 1905
Performed by Wilkie Bard (1874-1944)
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