While riding on the top of an omnibus,
I'll tell you all about it in my song;
I looked in all the second-storey windows,
As the omnibus was moving right along:
Some were eating, some were drinking, some were sleeping,
I could plainly hear the little baby's cry;
And some very funny sights I saw there,
As the omnibus was slowly passing by, Oh!...

Chorus: Riding on top of an omnibus,
It's pleasant and it just suits me;
Take it day or night, you'll experience delight,
And some very, very funny sights you'll see.

First of all I saw a woman washing,
The steam was flying thick around her head;
In another room I saw a lovely picture,
'Twas a pretty girl making up a bed:
Then I saw a giddy, married lady,
Flirting with the lodger on the sly;
While her husband he was singing to the baby,
I'll be happy in the 'Sweet bye-and-bye.' Oh!...


In another house I saw a yellow bull-dog,
Shaking a rat around the room;
Then I saw an angry little woman,
Chasing her husband with a broom:
I saw a 'Bobby' waiting for his mutton,
While the servant girl had gone to fetch the beer;
In another house a fellow had his sweetheart,
And was pouring tales of love into her ear. Oh!...


In an upper room I saw an aged bachelor,
Trying to sew his trousers with a nail;
Then again I saw a little baby,
It was trying hard to bite a kitten's tail:
Then I saw a little woman waiting,
For her husband dear to come and get his tea;
But I saw him in a house around the corner,
With another fellow's wife upon his knee. Oh!...


The omnibus was a popular form of transport during the Victorian period and they numbered approximately 3,000 by 1855, each carrying approximately 300 passengers a day. They were known as 'knifeboards' because of the rows of top hatted gentlemen sitting on the top deck. Women travelled inside the buses as climbing the stairs would have given people on the pavements an indecent glimpse of their ankles.

Written, composed and performed by G.W. Hunter (1851-1936) - 1886
From monologues.co.uk Music Hall Lyrics Collection
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