Sample Lyrics

"The Bowery" and "After the Ball"

"The Bowery"

Music by Percy Gaunt

Lyrics by Charles H. Hoyt

This song was introduced by Harry Conor in the Broadway musical A Trip to Chinatown (1892). Although the lyrics had nothing to do with the plot of a show set in San Francisco, the number became so popular that it became a major factor in the show's success.

This is the lyric as it appears in the original sheet music, published by T.B. Harms & Co. (NYC) in 1892 -- including a number of eccentric spellings. The entire song is in 3/4 time.

Verse 1
Oh! the night that I struck New York,
I went out for a quiet walk;
Folks who are "on to" the city say,
Better by far that I took Broadway;
But I was out to enjoy the sights,
There was the Bow'ry ablaze with lights;
I had one of the devil's own nights!
I'll never go there anymore.

The Bow'ry, the Bow'ry!
They say such things,
And they do strange things
On the Bow'ry! The Bow'ry!
I'll never go there anymore!

Verse 2
I had walk'd but a block or two,
When up came a fellow, and me he knew;
Then a policeman came walking by,
Chased him away, and I asked him why.
"Wasn't he pulling your leg?," said he.
Said I, "He never laid hands on me!"
"Get off the Bow'ry, you Yap!," said he.
I'll never go there anymore.

(Repeat Refrain)

Verse 3
I went into an auction store,
I never saw any thieves before;
First he sold me a pair of socks,
Then said he, "How much for the box?"
Someone said "Two dollars!" I said "Three!"
He emptied the box and gave it to me.
"I sold you the box not the sox," said he,
I'll never go there any more.

(Repeat Refrain)

Verse 4
I went into a concert hall,
I didn't have a good time at all;
Just the minutes that I sat down
Girls began singing, "New Coon in Town,"
I got up mad and spoke out free,
"Somebody put that man out," said she;
A man called a bouncer attended to me,
I'll never go there anymore.

(Repeat Refrain)

Verse 5
I went into a barbershop,
He talk'd till I thought that he'd never stop;
I, cut it short, he misunderstood,
Clipp'd down my hair just as close as he could.
He shaved with a razor that scratched like a pin,
Took off my whiskers and most of my chin;
That was the worst scrape I'd ever been in.
I'll never go there anymore.

(Repeat Refrain)

Verse 6
I struck a place that they called a "dive,"
I was in luck to get out alive;
When the policeman heard of my woes,
Saw my black eye and my batter'd nose,
"You've been held up!," said the copper fly.
"No, sir! But I've been knock'd down," said I;
Then he laugh'd, tho' I could not see why!
I'll never go there anymore!

(Repeat Refrain)

"After the Ball"

Music and Lyrics by Charles K. Harris

This number was interpolated into the score of the hit musical A Trip to Chinatown (1892) during its record-setting Broadway run. It was introduced by J. Aldrich Libbey. When Kern and Hammerstein wanted to add period flavor to Show Boat (1927), they used "After the Ball" in the Trocadero scene -- where it was performed by Norma Terris.

This is the lyric as it appears in the original 1892 sheet music, published by Charles K Harris (NYC) -- he was such a successful songwriter that he owned his own publishing house. We have added some punctuation for the sake of clarity. The inexact rhymes and irregular application of the rhythm to the lyric are as originally published. The entire song is a classic waltz in 3/4 time.

Verse 1
A little maiden climbed an old man's knee,
Begged for a story – "Do Uncle please.
Why are you single; why live alone?
Have you no babies; have you no home?"
"I had a sweetheart years, years ago;
Where she is now pet, you will soon know.
List to the story, I'll tell it all,
I believed her faithless after the ball."

After the ball is over,
After the break of morn –
After the dancers' leaving;
After the stars are gone;
Many a heart is aching,
If you could read them all;
Many the hopes that have vanished
After the ball.

Verse 2
Bright lights were flashing in the grand ballroom,
Softly the music playing sweet tunes.
There came my sweetheart, my love, my own –
"I wish some water; leave me alone."
When I returned dear there stood a man,
Kissing my sweetheart as lovers can.
Down fell the glass pet, broken, that's all,
Just as my heart was after the ball.

(Repeat Refrain)

Verse 3
Long years have passed child, I've never wed.
True to my lost love though she is dead.
She tried to tell me, tried to explain;
I would not listen, pleadings were vain.
One day a letter came from that man,
He was her brother – the letter ran.
That's why I'm lonely, no home at all;
I broke her heart pet, after the ball.

(Repeat Refrain)

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