Lies are sometimes very handy, and with me you all must hold
But to make them serve your purpose they must be correctly told
When our landlord called, for instance, Monday last, I gave a shout
Said to Tommy, that's our youngster, 'Go and say your Father's out.'

Chorus: At my base suggestion he turned very red
Then with a rush to the door-way he fled
Opened the door and stood scratching his head
Bashful and stupidly shy
Twiddling his thumbs like a silly young lout
These are the words that I hear Tommy shout
'Please Mr Landlord, Papa says he's out.'
That's how he tells the lie.

Scene the second is a police-court, where we see a girl in tears
'Call defendant' says his worship - then a smart young chap appears
Says his worship, 'Now young fellow, you can see the girl's a ma,
Somebody has grossly wronged her - she declares that you're the pa.'

Chorus: 'Excuse me, my Lord, I'm a bit of a dunce
I've not known this girl - well, not more than three months
I own that I did go to tea with her once
It's true - s'help me bob, may I die
I certainly did ask her once if she'd wed
But don't take no notice of what she has said
It's got auburn hair, mine's carroty-red'
That's how he tells the lie.

Lies by motives have been prompted, pure, unselfish and divine
For a purpose good and noble, and without a base design
In the dock a pris'ner standing, on his brow the brand of shame
Hear his mother pleading for him, though he's forged his father's name.

Chorus: 'My Lord, oh, have mercy, my only son spare
He's never done wrong in this world, I declare
Release him. or else I shall die.'
Despite his dishonour, he's loved by her still
As once more she speaks, through the court runs a thrill
'My Lord, I'll confess it, it was I forged the bill.'
That's how she tells the lie.

See a gay recruiting sergeant, touting round Trafalgar Square
When up comes a country bumpkin, out of work, and in despair
Listen to the tale he tells him, tales of glory, and of fame
How he'll win a proud position, fighting in Victoria's name.

Chorus: 'When they see you dressed up in your uniform smart
Upright and manly, straight as a dart
The girl who has snubbed you will break her young heart
And for your love she will sigh
When for your country your blood you have shed
A pension awaits you, you're clothed and you're fed
You'll ne'er be in want of a meal or a bed.'
That's how he tells the lie.
Written and composed by Norton Atkins - 1896
Performed by J.H. Hurst (d. 1905)
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