Fashion in Song – Mr. Poppleton’s Moustache – c. 1860

I can’t find a publication date for this c. 1860 comic song, but it was composed by English song writer and lyricist Henry Walker and published in London.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They say I should not sigh, and jocosely bid me try
To keep my spirits up, and not look blue;
But it’s very fine to talk when the heart is light as cork
Of patience under grief they never knew.
Matilda, whom I love all other girls above,
Has vow’d she only will become my bride
On cruel terms most harsh, that I shave off my moustache!
My only comfort, happiness, and pride.
On cruel terms most harsh, that my lov’d moustache
Shall fall a victim in its pride.

When it first began to grow, and its downy tufts to show,
How eagerly I watch’d each sprouting hair!
And anxiously did toil, with “circassian cream” and oil,
To gently coax it forth, with tend’rest care!
Thro’ all that time of dread when I fear’d ‘twas turning red,
I tended it with more than woman’s love,
And rose three times each night from my couch, and struck a light,
To note the slightest change all thoughts above.
Yea! watch’d it thro’ the night by the dim rush-light;
Its care, all other thoughts above.

When ‘twas long enough to twirl round my finger tips, and curl,
What sweet anxiety! What endless bliss!
Each taper end to trim till ‘twas glossy, spruce, and prim,
And ev’ry thing the fondest heart could wish.
It seems but yesterday, that I heard two ladies say,
Who pass’d me in the Park, in friendly chat,
“My dear, who can he be? Did you ever really see
Such a love of a moustache as that”!
They said, “who can he be? Did you ever see
Such a love of a moustache as that.”

But regrets alas! are vain! Tho’ to save it I would fain;
‘Tis doom’d a mournful sacrifice to fall,
In its beauty, and its pride; for she will not be denied;
I must woo her, closely shaved, or not at all…
So bring me water, hot, in the fatal shaving pot;
Bring razor, soap-dish, lather brush, and strop!
And ere I be unmann’d, let me nerve this trembling hand
My lov’d moustache: my beautiful! To crop.
Quick! Ere I be unmann’d, this ruthless hand,
My beautiful moustache must crop.

Oh, no! I dare not do it! I never could go thro’ it!
‘Tis too severe a trial, too great a cross!
No razor’s gripe shall clutch it! ‘Twere sacrilege to touch it!
What’s woman’s worth, compar’d to such a loss!
No, no, Matilda, no! You may go to Jericho,
Before I purchase you at such a price!
And all the world may perish, but my lov’d moustache I’ll cherish
For I fear its loss would kill me in a trice.
Tho’ all the world should perish, my moustache I’ll cherish,
For its value is beyond all price.

A recent recording of the song by Reginald Pikedevant:

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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