[Ballooning and Victorian Music Hall.] Anonymous Manuscript of the lyrics of two comic songs: 'Balooning [sic]' (inspired by a piece in Charles Dickens's 'Household Words') and Harry Sydney's 'It's just as well to take it in a quiet sort of way'.

[Ballooning and Victorian Music Hall; Harry Sydney, music hall artiste and songwriter; Charles Dickens and 'Household Words']
Publication details: 
Without place or date. [London? Circa 1865.]
SKU: 21138

3pp., foolscap 8vo. On a bifolium of laid paper. In fair condition, aged and worn. The first poem, 'Balooning [sic]', covers both sides of the first leaf. No evidence has been discovered that this poem was ever published, but it is inspired by the exploits of 'Mr. Green' in a humorous essay titled 'Ballooning', which appeared in Charles Dickens's 'Household Words' on 25 October 1851. The choice of two phrases ('pipes & backy' and 'Mounted Meershaums') is given in the present manuscript, these variants perhaps suggesting that this item is authorial rather than a transcription. The second poem, which covers the recto of the second leaf (the verso being undated), is untitled in the manuscript, but is Harry Sydney's 'It's just as well to take it in a quiet sort of way', which was published in 1865 in London by Henri D'Alcorn [George Henry Stannard Allcorn]. ONE: 'Balooning [sic]'. 2pp. The poem is forty-eight lines long, divided into twelve stanzas, each stanza followed by the refrain 'Fal de ral.' The present poem begins: '1st. Verse | When the London people used to think of going out of Town | They'd take a Stage & that would to the Country take 'em down | But Mister Green has lately proved as clear's the sun at noon | The finest way to take the air is to take an air balloon - | Fal de lal. | 2. | The other day when Mister Green went out just for a fly | He took up two companions for a ride towards the sky | Though Lords & Butler thus ventured up they found the difference soon | For they were all reduced to Carmen when they rode in the Balloon | Fal de ral.' The poem describes their journey, made without 'fears of Highwaymen'. In the ninth stanza the travellers 'take their pipes & backy out', and the word 'backy' is glossed with the variant reading for 'pipes & backy' at the foot of the second page: 'Mounted Meershaums out.' The final stanza reads: '12. | Now we find that different trav'lers will travel diff'rent ways | Some like a railroad, some a stage & some a Horse & Chaise | Some being fond of water think a steam boat (quite) exquisite | But there's nothing like an air balloon to pay a flying visit. | Fal de ral'. TWO: Untitled [Harry Sydney's 'It's just as well to take it in a quiet sort of way']. 1p. Twenty-four lines in eight stanzas. Begins: '1 | We smile at the unnecessary trouble people take | For fortune is not regulated by the fuss we make. | I don't advise indifference, but this I mean to say: | Its just as well to take things in a quiet sort of way.' The poem was hugely popular, being described as 'a certain sort of comic singing which I can't stand' by a character in Fun magazine, 2 September 1865. The American impressario Tony Pastor (1837-1908) published a version of the poem in New York in 1868, without the following stanza of the present manuscript: 'To rise in your opinion most earnestly I hope, | But promise you I'll never mount the trapeze or the rope: | I fancy in the long run that common sense will pay; | And its just as well to take things in a quiet sort of way.'