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TO APPRECIATE THIS DITTY you have to picture youself in a provincial folk club where some scruffy folknik on the small stage with a battered guitar half sings and half recites it, breaking off now and then for a musical interlude between episodes in the story.



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Well I went on down to London Town
To see if I could make my fortune

The streets are paved with silver and gold
Those were the very words I's told

So I stood outside Victoria Station
There to wait for what would happen

For that was the place I was told to go
When I left my home not so long ago

Well I stood and stood and I waited for days
My money soon gone and frittered away

And no-one said what I was doing wrong
And no-one offered to help me along

And I saw no silver and I saw no gold
All I got was a terrible cold

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So seeing that I was completely down
I approached a man in a fine purple gown

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And I said 'My friend can you tell me where
I go to get rich, is it very far?'

He said 'It's strange but sadly true
That I came here to get rich too

'With nought but this coat I left my home
On advice from a friend who told me gold . . .

' . . . and silver in plenty were here to be found
Been here three weeks and seen none around.'

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So together we decided to take the road
And head down south where at least there's food

To be picked from the hedges and fields and barns
We left right away and were soon among the farms

As we walked down a lane we met a vain man
With a fine yellow cloak and a cane in hand

When he saw my friend he loved his bright gown
And begged him to sell it for a golden pound

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But my friend said 'Sir, I don't need your gold
But for the price of your coat all will be told

'Of where such gowns as mine come free
You'll then only have to go there and see'

So we sent him off to Victoria Station
There to see just what would happen

And off he went and we strolled on
Like two fine gents in the midday sun

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We came in a while to a pretty little town
And strolled up and down till the sun went down

Then just as it did an honest soul came by
Who thought to himself 'Wish I's as rich as they'

He stopped us and asked for our secret of success
For working hard all these years he was still poorly dressed

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My friend looked at me and we said to him
'In exchange for a favour we'll teach you this thing

'In exchange for your poor little tumble-down house
We'll teach you how to be as rich as us . . .'

So we sent him off to London Town
To stand outside Victoria Station

The streets are paved with silver and gold
Those were the very words we told

And settling down by a nice log fire
We drank his beer and our hearts flew higher

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Well the next few days we strolled around town
Not a penny in our pockets but with never a frown

Till the squire he stopped us on our way
To enquire our health and pass the time of day

He asked why two such gentlemen as we
Were staying in a hovel and not with he

So we moved in with him and under pressure we told
The tale of our fortune and our quest for gold

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We told how it was, that we started out poor
And in a secret way became what he saw

How we'd come there to find a suitably small home
(On the lines of his) to rest our bones

'For money' we said 'brings an unquiet mind
It's peace and quiet we're now looking to find

For of glamour and riches and parties and balls
And of life at court we are just too palled . . .

Well he begged us then to tell him all
The secret of our riches and the parties and balls

How to get to court and meet the King
And live in a palace and hear a princess sing

We told him it was secret and we really shouldn't tell
But since his home was just the place we'd really like to dwell

In exchange for it we'd tell him our secret of success
It was worth it just to find at last a place where we could rest

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So we sent him off to London Town
To stand outside Victoria Station

And we settled down by a roaring fire
With wine and port as our hearts flew higher

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We were happy there, didn't have a care
And the people in the town would stop and stare

And raise their hats and make a bow
For we were the lords of the manor now

But as we strolled through the woods and through
The fields, our cup was not quite full we'd feel

And then one day as we were on our rounds
The King himself came into our town

So we invited him into our manor for tea
And told him of the peace in the sweet country

How we'd left the city and travelled around
Till at last we'd settled in this sweet country town

The most perfect manor that could ever be found
Which we wouldn't exchange for the King's own crown . . .

Then the King he frowned and the King he thought
And in the end he asked for how much could it be bought

Well we hummed and ha'd and looked most distressed
And said to sell it we never ever could be pressed

Then he looked most unhappy and we did too
And we sat around like that as the evening shadows grew

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Till at last after lighting the lamps and the fire
We said 'Perhaps after all we can help you, Sire

'For no-one but you, the best of kings
Would we think for a moment of doing this thing

'But for you we'll do it and to do it we'll be proud
We'll lend you this place when of life you are tired

'We'll give up our home to refresh your royal head
And live, while you're here, in your palace instead'

Then the King he smiled and the King he cheered
And said 'My friends you've made me happy indeed

'I was tired of life and weary to death
But if I can stay here I'll soon catch my breath'

So we all drank a toast by the rising moon
And the very next day we set off on our own

We took ourselves back to London Town
And in Hampton Court itself we made our home

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The King was so grateful at the kindness of our deed
That he gave us land and money, carriages and steeds

So we settled down by the roaring palace fire
Drinking champagne and brandy to the strings of a lyre

And the next thing we did after settling in
Was call the carriage driver and say to him . . .

'To Victoria Station take yourself and you'll see
Three friends of ours, bring them here immediately'

Before the hour had passed there came a man without a coat
Another poor and honest looking very, very broke

The squire, goggle-eyed with wonder and surprise
Said 'At times I really wondered if you had told me lies'

And to one we gave a wardrobe of the finest gowns
To the next a sack of silver and a cart to take it home

The squire he moved in with us and he heard a princess sing
And when the King returned to London we three went happily . . . home . . . a-gain

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