Clifton, Harry; Composer
Clifton, Harry; Lyricist
Clifton, Harry; Performer
Concanen, Lee & Siebe; Artist

Published: Hopwood & Crew, 42 New Bond Street, W ; London ; 1865

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Music Hall songs were not written for the critic, the intellectual or scholar, they were for the people in the 'pit', the audience. Audiences were not afraid to shout their disapproval and even when enjoying the performance heckling was common. Simple humour and tragedy were the most popular topics, songs about the 'mother in law' and 'unrequited love', were popular, as is the case here. Choruses had to be simple and catchy so that everyone could join in, and the characters satirised by the performers had to be familiar so that anyone could sympathise with them.
Harry Clifton, 1832-1872

I am a broken-hearted milkman, in grief I'm arrayed
Through keeping of the company of a young servant maid.
Who lived on board and wages the house to keep clean
In a gentleman's family near Paddington Green.

She was as beautiful as a butterfly
and proud as a Queen,
Was pretty little Polly Perkins
of Paddington Green.

She'd an ankle like an antelope and a step like a deer,
A voice like a blackbird, so mellow and clear,
Her hair hung in ringlets so beautiful and long,
I thought that she loved me but I found I was wrong.

When I'd rattle in the morning and cry "Milk below!",
At the sound of my milk cans her face she did show,
With a smile upon her countenance and a laugh in her eye.
If I'd thought that she loved me I'd have laid down to die.

When I asked her to marry me she said 'Oh what stuff',
And told me to drop it, for she'd had quite enough.
Of my nonsense -- At the same time, I'd been very kind,
But to marry a milkman she didn't feel inclined.

"The man that has me must have silver and gold,
A chariot to ride in and be handsome and bold.
His hair must be curly as any watch-spring,
And his whiskers as big as a brush for clothing."

The words that she uttered went straight through my heart
I sobbed and I sighed, and I straight did depart.
With a tear on my eyelid as big as a bean
I bid farewell to Polly and to Paddington Green.

In six months she married, this hard-hearted girl,
But it was not a Wi-count, and it was not a Nearl,
It was not a 'Baronite', but a shade or two wuss,
It was a bow-legged conductor of a tupenny bus.