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Song Profile

Source: Silver Songster 1905
Tune: Ere the lamps Are Lit


In Sydney\'s great city
When the lamps are lit
Mark the weary faces
That across the windows flit.
Woe and want and sorrow,
Beauty clad in rags;
Weary unemployed jostling
Those with money-bags;
Wandering slowly onwards
In the vale of tears,
Squalid woe and want
In a country young in years.

Stay and let us watch together
\'Neath the gaslight\'s glow,
Faces that come from dreamland,
Faces that come and go;
Newsboys in tatters and merchants grand
On through the twilight flit,
Hearts that are gay and hearts that are sad,
After Sydney lamps are lit.

Comes a poor old actor,
Once well-known to fame,
Until beer and brandy
Robbed him of his name,
See his cold lips moving,
Begging but a single copper
From the passers by.
Hear him curses mutter
At the cold, piercing rain,
See him pace the pavement
A player king again.

Ha! Ha! I am now alone,
An outcast – has it come to this!
    Come, lay aside thy mantle, girl,
    And give thy old dad a kiss.
    Once the \'heavy\' at the Royal,
    Now not for a super fit,
    He wanders a homeless wanderer
    After Sydney lamps are lit.

See with tottering footsteps,
Young in sin and years,
A little blushing lassie,
Her eyes bedimmed with tears.
A pretty little lassie,
Once fair as summer day,
Now lost and forgotten,
A lamb that\'s gone astray.
Weary, fainting, heartsore,
With sorrow in her breast,
She sinks down on the doorstep
And sobs herself to rest.

Dreaming of childhood days,
Of a poor heartbroken mother,
Of a sister fair, an angel face,
A father and a brother,
Of a voice that spoke of happiness,
Of a dream of early love,
Lost on earth for evermore,
Lost to her above.

When the lights in the harbour
Are all burning bright,
And the ships like gaunt shadows
Move through the moonlight,
And the sweet sound of music
Is borne on the breeze,
And the lovers they wander
Far under the trees,
And the songs of the children
Are heard on the strand,
And the silence of midnight
Comes over the land.

There are hearts merry and hearts sad,
And outcasts who wearily roam
And faces that smile and bosoms that are glad,
And fond love to bless a dear home
There are shadows of hope and joy,
And shadows of sorrow they flit,
And weary hearts and weary souls
After Sydney\'s lamps are lit.

SITE SOURCE: Sydney Folklore Project - Section 14: CITY LIFE

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