In life we all must wear a mask - some facial disguise
To hide the workings of our hearts from other people's eyes
The thief, before his judge, will wear the mask of penitence
The magistrate assuming that of sham benevolence
While in some little hamlet, where the squire's a man of might
His servants say, 'How good he is, how generous, how upright.'
They know him for a tyrant, yet they wear a mask each day
And praise his many virtues - why - because they find it pay.

Chorus: See him in church, what piety
He reads his prayer-book fervently
On each subscription list, we see
His name in several places
But, when at home, a servant's slow
Or growing old, it's 'Out you go'
'Tis then he'll his true colours show
In the play of Masks and Faces.

Observe, upon the mimic stage, the pet comedian plays
What wit's in every quaint grimace, how whimsical his ways
He sings his song, then Lo, behold, the house is in a roar
A roar of laughter, loud and long, while great is the encore
And languid ladies, through their glass the acor's features quiz
Then nod approvingly, and say, 'How very droll he is.'
Ah, happy actor, idolised, alike by stalls and pit
How joyous all his life must be, blessed with so choice a wit

Chorus: But see him when an hour has fled
Beside his dear wife's dying bed
He smooths the pillow 'neath her head
Returns her weak embraces
Then, slow but sure, before his eyes
Great Heavens! his cherished darling dies
Ah, then he learns what mockery lies
In the play of Masks and Faces.

When Brown and Jones meet, it's 'What Brown, it's ages since we met
Well, I am glad to see you boy, let's go and have a 'wet'
Well, how are the dad and ma'am, and that nice sister? you know Nell
The one with the dark hair and eyes, and granny, is she well?
You're in the Civil Service, eh, you ought to get on too
Another drink! um well, all right, i don't mind if I do
Another kind love, old boy, what's that, five past two? I must go
Ta-ta now call and see me boy - delighted don't you know.'

Chorus: But when of Jones's company rid
Brown's sentiments are no more hid
'Don't like that fellow, never did
Too fond of cards and races.'
While Jones thinks 'Ugh! the stuck up clown
Insufferable cad - that Brown.'
That's quite the usual thing in town
In the play of Masks and Faces.

A homely, everyday verse is this - no lady great shall be
It's heroine, ah no, but one of low degree
A woman, type of many such - a workman's humble wife
Untaught, save by that one Great Book, the seamy side of life
No face more bright than hers can be, as to and fro she goes
Soothing her husbands heartaches, and the children's petty woes
'Tis hard sometimes to make ends meet,
But though tears fain would start
She wears the mask of cheerfulness, to hide an aching heart

Chorus: With busy fingers - never still
And eyes which in compassion fill
For every fret and every ill
She in each dear one traces
She lives her life 'mid sorrows ken
A friend upon whom all may lean
So weak, yet brave - a heroine
In the play of Masks and Faces.
Written and composed by John P. Harrington & George Le Brunn - 1888
Performed by Jenny Hill (1849-1896)
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