American Old Time Song Lyrics: 32 The Man With An Elephant On His Hands

Theater, Music-Hall, Nostalgic, Irish & Historic Old Songs, Volume 32

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THE MAN WITH AN ELEPHANT ON HIS HANDS.
Copyright, 1891, by T. B. Harms & Co
Words by J. Cheever Goodwin. Music by Woolson Morse.

oh, there once was a king, as minstrels sing, who a herd of elephants had;
And a peasant poor, who lived next door, he wanted an elephant had;
So the generous king did a foolish thing by giving the peasant one;
For sky-blue ruin at once began brewin' for that luckless son-of-a-gun;
For that elephant ate all night, and that elephant ate all day;
Do what he would to furnish him food, the cry was still "more hay I "
Till he tore his hair, in wild despair, and piped his lachrymal glands.
And cursed his lot that ever he got an elephant on his hands.

Chorus.
So great the beast's demands, that his lachrymal glands
He piped like mad, because he had an elephant on his hands.

He had honed to ride, in pomp and pride, on the elephant down the street.
While the boys should cheer, as he drew near, and the girls say, ain't he sweet 7 i
But, to his disgust, it was hustle or bust, for the elephant must he fed,
or the S. F. T. P. C. T. A. the riot act would have read.
For that elephant ate all night, and that elephant ate all day;
And ev'ry cent of his earnings went to keep the wolf away,
Till he envied the lot of a Hottentot on Africa's burning sands.
And cursed the whim that had saddled him with an elephant on his hands.

Chorus.
So great the beast's demands, that his lachrymal glands
he piped like mad, because he had an elephant on his hands.

At length, one day, so runs the lay- as the king sat on his throne.
Came crawling in a man so thin, he was simply skin and bone.
"Great king," said he, "have pity on me before my name is mud.
Take back your elephant sire, I beg; he's too rich for my blood.
For I find he eats all night and I find he eats all day;
And I'm nearly dead from the life I've led to furnish that beast with hay;
I'll gladly crave to become your slave, and obey your last demands,
But, for heaven's sake, send round and take that elephant off my hands."

Chorus.
Oh! with joy his breast expands when the king gives commands
That no longer he a man need be with an elephant on his hands.

You think, no doubt, you've all found out that the moral of this sad song
Is, "Be content, though you haven't a cent; "but that's where you are wrong.
For the moral is, to know your hiz; and when pie is passed by fate.
Not to trouble invite by taking a bite you cannot masticate.
Remember the saying trite, that to over-indulge don't pay;
And a steady diet, even of pie, pall on one's palate may.
So take my friends what fortune sends, without "ifs," "buts" or "ands,"
And avoid the plight of the luckless wight with an elephant on his hands.

Chorus.
Comply with fate's commands, without "ifs," "buts'' or "ands,"
And avoid the plight of the luckless wight with an elephant on his hands.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III