American Old Time Song Lyrics: 39 The Stage Of Life

Theater, Music-Hall, Nostalgic, Irish & Historic Old Songs, Volume 39

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copyright. 1893. by Frank Harding.
Words by J. Campbell and Edward Leslie. Music by George Le Brunn.
Arranged by G. M. Rosenberg. Sung by Harry Leclair.

'Twas Shakespeare said the world's a stage, where each man plays a part-
In comedy And tragedy- life scenes oft touch the heart;
the rich, the poor, the fool, the knave, all play upon life's stage;
Each struts his hour upon the stage, and exits there with age;
but diff'rent from life's tragedy is fancy's the ideal,
Where heroes play the leading parts that villains play in real,
Upon the mimic stage you'll find that joy will follow strife,
While brilliancy, ne'er meets its fate upon the stage of life.

So daily are scenes ever shifting here,
Where hypocrites thus act their parts.
Where misers are coddling their gold with fear,
Where cruelty crushes our hearts,
Where thieves creep with stealth and a scowling frown,
Where the murderer follows with knife,
Where misery'll beg till the curtain rings down
Upon the stage of life.

We see the lover play his part each day throughout the year;
Some truthful are, while faithless ones cause many a burning tear.
He'll boast of conquests, yes, and scoff at virtue's innocence,
Then when his old love tires him, he'd exclaim, be gone, out hence.
The poor, confiding creature who left home and all for him.
Her life is shattered, wrecked and spent, her hopes of future dim;
She cries, why has he left me here, his own affianced wife?
The curtain drops, 'tis but one eceue upon the stage of life.

So daily are scenes ever shifting here,
Where the fool struts about with a smile,
Where the knave plays his part with a cunning leer,
White the gambler stakes his pile.
Where innocence walks hand-in-hand with crime,
Where men forsake children and wife.
Where! misery'll reign till the end of time.
Upon the stage of life.

The heartless and ungrateful son his little part plays well,
To gratify his own desires his parents' lives he'd sell,
For years they've toiled and cared for him from early morn till late;
He heedless notes their feeble health when grown to man's estate.
The poor old father, weak with age, asks for his son's support,
An angry scene soon follows, and then comes the brute's retort:
You'll trouble me no more, old man, then gleams the deathly knife,
The climax is a patricide upon the stage of life.

The poor mother cries in her anguish loud,
Kind heaven forgive such a son;
In shame, grief and sorrow, my head is bowed,
God pardon the deed he has done;
He has also killed me, for death never will part
The husband now slain from his wife;
She falters, she dies of a broken heart
Upon the stage of life.

A ragged, tattered character appears before our gaze,
An object of derision, who has seen much better days;
Though now a tramp, he once enjoyed sweet luxury And wealth,
But scheming brothers worked his ruin by their deceit and stealth.
He, shivering, tries to cross the street, a carriage rolls along.

His brother in affluence sits behind those horses strong;
He slips, he falls, the carriage wheels soon end his earthly strife-
Such scenes are witnessed every day upon the stage of life.

The carriage here stops, and the brother's eyes
Soon rest upon the poor man's face-
Great God! 'tis my brother, and there he dies-
Drive on, man, hasten your pace!
The coward drives off with a feeling of dread,
When noise and confusion are rife.
Despising the living, neglecting the dead,
Upon the stage of life.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III