Derek B. Scott, Professor of Critical Musicology, University of Leeds, located this old recording and scanned the text and cover of "My Old Dutch" from a copy in his personal collection. Using ABBYY FineReader 5 and BBEdit, George P. Landow transcribed it and formatted it. Many thanks to Professor Scott!]

            I've got a pal,
A reg'lar out an' outer,
She's a dear good old gal,
I'll tell yer all about 'er.
It's many years since fust we met,
'Er 'air was then as black as jet,
It's whiter now, but she don't fret,
            Not my old gall

cover of Old Ditch

Chorus. — We've been together now for forty years,
An' it don't seem a day too much,
There ain't a lady livin' in the land
As I'd "swop" for my dear old Dutch.

            I calls 'er Sal,
'Er proper name is Sairer,
An' yer may find a gal
As you'd consider fairer.
She ain't a angel — she can start
A-jawin' till it makes yer smart,
She's just a woman, bless 'er eart,
             Is my old gal! Chorus.

cover of Old Ditch

            Sweet fine old gal,
For worlds I wouldn't lose 'er,
She's a dear good old gal,
An' that's what made me choose 'er.
She's stuck to me through thick and thin,
When luck was out, when luck was in,
Ahl wot a wife to me she's been,
             An' wot a pal! Chorus.

            I sees yer Sal —
Yer pretty ribbons sportin'
Many years now, old gal,
Since them young days of courtin'.
I ain't a coward, still I trust
When we've to part, as part we must,
That Death may come and take me fust
            To wait.......... my pal! Chorus.

[R & C0 237]

Dutch: In cockney rhyming slang “Duchess of Fife” = “wife,” and therefore “Dutch” is a shortening of “Duchess of Fife.” According to Dave Russell, who explains how Chevalier performed the song on stage,

As with many music hall songs, the lyrics dealt with poverty and gender differences. When introducing the song, Chevalier would enter dressed as an elderly Cockney man with his elderly partner. They would head towards a workhouse, whereupon the porter would separate them under the sexual segregation rules. Chevalier's character would cry out in refusal, "you can't do this to us; we've been together for forty years!" The porter and woman then exited the stage, and Chevalier would begin the song. [127]

Related Material


Chevalier, Albert. My Old Dutch: A Cockney Song. London: Reynolds & Co., 1892. Music by Charles Ingle.

Elgar and His World. Program for the Bard Music Festival. Anandale-on-Hudson: Bard College, 2007, pp. 49-50.

Russell, Dave. Popular Music in England, 1840-1914. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997. Quoted in Wikipedia. Web. 13 February 2016.

Last modified 13 February 2016