When I was but a boy, it was my greatest joy,
To go upon the stage and be an actor.
I ran away from school, just like a little fool,
Thinking I should find a benefactor.
But alas for me, I had no £.s.d.
And nobody would condescend to take me,
Although I full well knew, if I had a job to do,
My talent on the boards would simply make me.

Chorus: You've all gone mad on 'Enery Irving,
And talk about his latest, greatest hits;
Give me a tragedy part, where the villain has got no heart,
I could knock him into fits, paralyse ye gods and pits,
Tho' I've not played at Windsor Castle,
They may want me when it's too late;
I'm what you'd call the very latest,
Don't forget the very greatest,
Acrobatic actor up to date.

To see me play Macbeth would take away your breath,
Likewise the ghost of Sweeney Todd the barber;
Jack Sheppard too I've played and never got waylaid,
Because I never went too near the harbour.
Hamlet, ha, ha, he, he, now that's the play for me,
Your Irvings and your Barratts they can't do it;
Put me before the Queen, in that play, let me be seen,
She'd faint away befor I got half through it.


I played a part called 'Spoof' in that great drama 'Proof',
And from the bricks and eggs I've done some dodging;
But like an actor true, I've boozed my little screw,
And had to do a bunk and owe my lodging.
Before the Prince of Wales, in workhouses and gaols,
I've acted and my work they all admire,
And now I feel quite sure, if I say any more,
You'd be tired of listening to such a liar.

Written, composed and performed by Tom Woottwell (1865-1941)
From Music Hall Lyrics Collection
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