This world is all chequered with pleasures and pain
Though our hopes are in brightness arrayed
Our Summer is spoilt by a downpour of rain
And our life has less sunshine than shade
See the youth in the happy excitement of love
As he whispers the old old tale
And the maid answers yes like the sigh of a dove
Then she dreams of her bridal veil.

Refrain: And the first year of marriage runs smoothly and well
Till their dear little baby is born
Then the money won't last and the wife has to tell
How the wedding ring went to the pawn
And to keep out of debt how the poor fellow tries
But the troubles increase and the tears in their eyes
Till the climax is reached when their little one dies
What a picture of sunlight and shadow.

'Stand back!' cry the police, 'Clear the road , here they come.'
Then the crowd cheer and shout till they're sore
How inspiring the music_ the beat of the drum
It's the soldiers en route to the war
How the face of each man beams with pleasure and pride
As he thinks of promotion and fame
And he yearns for the time when his pluck shall be tried
And his country shall hear of his name.

Refrain: What a change on the day they return from the fight
There's the same eager crowd as before
But the men that are left_ good God, what a sight
Is it this, that's the glory of war?
See the poor dying wretches, the limping, the lame
What a ghastly reward for their search after fame
When they die in the workhouse we'll hear of their name
What a contrast of sunshine and shadow.

How the public delight in a case of divorce
What amusement it seems to afford
The judge will p'r'haps venture a joke, rather coarse
When the densely packed court will applaud
How they laugh as the letters are read_ who'd have thought
Such a story of folly they'd tell
And when it transpired how the wife was first caught
How the crowd is convulsed with a yell

Refrain: But there's one piteous wretch, with her head bowed in shame
Who inwardly prays she might die
Perhaps after all she's not wholly to blame
She was led and deceived by a lie
But now it is hopeless the verdict to gain
All her life is exposed_ every blemish and stain
To a world whose chief pleasure is some wretch's pain
That's a picture of sunshine and shadow.

'Tis Christmas, with laughter the theatre resounds
Smiles light e'en the face of the sage
With jests, quips, and smiles, and a few lively bounds
Our old friend, the clown, takes the stage
How the children delight at his comical face
And their elders applaud each queer sign
Ah! light-hearted jester, thou king of grimace
What life could be happier than thine?

Refrain: Now the theatre is empty, and out in the night
Comes the clown at a quick , hurried pace
'Pray God I'm in time' and the glare of the light
Shows his pitiful, haggard white face
Home at last_ up the stairs, with a slow, frightened tread
He tremblingly creeps to his poor child's sick bed
Too late_ on his knees then he sobs by the dead
What a picture of sunlight and shadow.
Performed by Vesta Tilley (1864-1952)
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