Sample Lyrics

Two Songs with Music by Victor Herbert

1. "The Streets of New York"

Words by Henry Blossom

Music by Victor Herbert

Victor Herbert is usually remembered for his operettas, but the musical comedy The Red Mill (1906) was one of his biggest hits. The plot involves two American vaudevillians who are stuck in Holland and trying to get enough money to get back to New York. This showstopper was introduced by the popular team Dave Montgomery and Fred Stone. In the long-running 1945 Broadway revival, it was performed by Eddie Foy Jr. and Michael O'Shea.

This is the lyric as it appears in the original sheet music published by M. Witmark and Sons (NYC) in 1906. The entire song is in 3/4 time "Tempo di Valse."

Verse 1
In dear old New York it's remarkable very!
The name on the lamp-post is unnecessary!
You merely have to see the girls
To know what street you're on!
Fifth Avenue beauties and dear old Broadway girls!
The tailor made shoppers the Avenue A girls,
They're strictly all right but they're different quite
In the diff'rent parts of town.

In Old New York! In old New York!
The peach crop's always fine!
They're sweet and fair and on the square!
The maids of Manhattan for mine!
You cannot see in gay Paree,
In London or in Cork!
The queens you'll meet on any street
In old New York!

Verse 2
If a spare afternoon you should happen to have and you
Start on a leisurely stroll up Fifth Avenue,
There is where with haughty air
You'll see them as they walk!
With velvets and laces and sable enfolding them,
Really you'll nearly fall dead on beholding them,
Lucky's the earl that can marry a girl
From Fifth Avenue New York.

(Repeat Refrain)

Verse 3
Whatever the weather is shining or showery,
That doesn't cut any ice on the Bowery.
Ev'ry night till broad daylight,
They dance and sing and talk!
The girls are all game and they're jolly good fellows,
They're not very swell but they're none of them jealous,
They go it alone in a style of their own
On the Bowery in New York.

(Repeat Refrain)

2. "I Can't Do the Sum"

Music by Victor Herbert

Lyrics by Glen MacDonough

This parody of classroom math problems was introduced in Babes in Toyland (1903). The refrain was punctuated by the ensemble clicking on small blackboards with pieces of chalk. It is performed in 4/4 time.

Verse 1
If a steamship weighed ten thousand tons
And sailed five thousand miles
With a cargo large of overshoes
And carving knives and files,
If the mates were almost six feet high
And the bos'n near the same,
Would you subtract or multiply
To find the captain's name?

Oh! Oh! Oh!
Put down six and carry two,
Gee, but this is hard to do.
You can think and think and think
Till your brains are numb,
I don't care what teacher says,
I can't do the sum.

Verse 2
If Clarence took fair Gwendolin
Out for an auto ride,
And if at sixty miles an hour
One kiss to capture tried,
And quite forgot the steering gear
On her honeyed lips to sup,
How soon could twenty men with brooms
Sweep Clare and Gwennie up?

(Repeat Refrain)

Verse 3
If Harold took sweet Imogene
With him one eve to dine,
And ordered half the hill of fare
With cataracts of wine,
If the bill of fare were thirteen ninety-five
And poor Harold had but four,
How many things would Harold strike
Before he struck the floor?

(Repeat Refrain)

Verse 4
If a woman had an English pug,
Ten children, and a cat,
And she tried in seven hours to find
A forty-dollar flat,
With naught but sunny outside rooms
In a neighborhood of tone,
How old would those ten children be
Before they found a home?

(Repeat Refrain)

Verse 5
If a pound of prunes cost thirteen cents
At half-past one today,
And the grocer is so bald he wears
A dollar-five toupee,
And if with every pound of tea
He will give two cut-glass plates,
How soon would Willie break his face
On his new roller skates?

(Repeat Refrain)

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