Five and twenty years a porter, dad was at the county bank,
Taking stock of all the people, men of high degree and rank.
City swells who came in Broughams, costly flowers in their coats,
Crafty rogues who risked their freedom, came to cash their stolen notes.
I used to witness this scene, you must know,
In fancy again, sets my heart all aglow
What can be done, I'll endeavour to show,
Just by the stroke of a pen.

I shall ne're forget the story, how my dad once saved a life,
He was told to fetch a policeman, but he brought a widowed wife.
For a youth had brought a cheque up, plainly forged another's name,
And the cashier had detained him, 'til his widowed mother came.
'Madame this boy a few moments ago,
Came and presented this cheque, you must know.
Is this your signature, say yes or no!'
Then every moment seemed ten.
But the good woman with affection divine,
Said to the clerk, 'Sir, that signature's mine!'
Saving the lad from the stain of a crime,
Saved by the stroke of a pen.

In the bright and fiery desert, see a rank of soldiers stand,
Each one with a loaded rifle, waiting for the stern command.
Yonder standing like a statue, see a comrade doomed to die,
Branded with the name of coward, waits to say his last goodbye.
But hark to his voice on the winds loud and clear,
'Lord knows that I am no coward, here.
Don't tell my wife and my little ones dear.
Tell them I died with the men.'
'Ready! Present' came the offices cry.
But a horseman seen waving a pardon on high,
That gallant young soldier was freed by and by.
Saved by the stroke of a pen.

In the dimly lighted chamber, see a Squire on point of death,
While the worthy trusted Steward reads the will with nervous breath.
All it now requires is signing, then the shameful deed is done,
For the butler will be master, casting out the squire's son.
'Now sir, let me guide your fingers to sign,
One little effort, sir, here on this line,
You promised me the estate would be mine.
I shall be master, and then...'
'Father! Forgive me!' He hears a voice call.
The Squire holds his hand out and lets the quill fall.
That laddy comes into his own after all.
Saved by the stroke of a pen.

Performed by Bernard Dyllyn
While searching the origins of this particular song, kindly submitted by Stuart Smith, I found the following clippings from two U.S. newspapers:

Bernard Dyllyn evoked considerable enthusiasm with his songs, which are of the descriptive order. One of his best is called, judging from the lines, "Saved by the Stroke of a Pen"
THE ARGONAUT San Francisco July 3rd, 1893

Bernard Dyllyn, "the boycotted baritone" who struck a chorus-girl in the face while in Corinne's burlesque company, is now in London singing a song called "The man who broke the book-maker who broke the jockey who broke the girl who broke the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo."
Now there's a song I'd like to get hold of!!!
From Music Hall Lyrics Collection
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