Your Molly has never been false, she declares, Since last time we parted at Wapping Old Stairs, When I swore that I still would continue the same, And gave you the 'bacco box, marked with your name. When I pass'd a whole fortnight between decks with you, Did I e'er give a kiss, Tom, to one of the crew? To be useful and kind, with my Thomas I stay'd, For his trousers I wash'd, and his grog too I made. Though you threaten'd, last Sunday, to walk in the Mall With Susan from Deptford, and likewise with Sal, In silence I stood your unkindness to hear, And only upbraided my Tom, with a tear. Why should Sal, or should Susan, than me be more priz'd? For the heart that is true, Tom, should ne'er be despis'd; Then be constant and kind, nor your Molly forsake, Still your trousers I'll wash, and your grog too I'll make.
Note provided by Emily Ezust: this poem appears in many collections of Thackeray's work and is therefore mistakenly attributed to him, but this is because it is included as the original of two parodies he wrote, titled "The Almack's Adieu" and "The Knightly Guerdon". It can be found in an 1812 publication, The Banquet of Thalia, Or the Fashionable Songsters Pocket Memorial, 1812, pages 83-84. It is referred to in chapter 25 of Thackeray's Vanity Fair as a "favourite song".
- by Anonymous / Unidentified Author, "Wapping Old Stairs" [author's text not yet checked against a primary source]
- sometimes misattributed to William Makepeace Thackeray (1811 - 1863)
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by William Walton (1902 - 1983), "Wapping Old Stairs", 1962, published 1962 [voice and piano or orchestra], from A Song for the Lord Mayor's Table, no. 3. [ sung text verified 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]