The Chickaleary Cove

The Chickaleary Cove
c. 1864
By Vance; see notes.


I’m a ‘Chickaleary bloke’ with my one, two, three, 1 Whitechapel swell
  Whitechapel was the village I was born in,
For to get me on the hop, or on my tibby drop, 2 got the better of me
 You must wake up very early in the morning.
I have a rorty gal, also a knowing pal, 3 flashly dressed; clever
 And merrily together we jog on,
I doesn’t care a flatch, as long as I’ve a tach, 4 halfpenny; hat
 Some pannum for my chest, and a tog on. 5 eatables; coat
   I’m a Chickaleary bloke with my one, two, three,
   Whitechapel was the village I born in,
   For to get me on the hop, or on my tibby drop,
   You must wake up very early in the morning.


Now kool my downy kicksies—the style for me, 6 look; trousers flashy cut
  Built on a plan werry naughty,
The stock around my squeeze a guiver colour see, 7 neck; flash
  And the vestat with the bins so rorty, 8 vest; pockets
My tailor serves you well, from a perger to a swell, 9 teetotaller
  At Groves’s you’re safe to make a sure pitch, 10 place
For ready yenom down, there ain’t a shop in town, 11 money
  Can lick Groves in The Cut as well as Shoreditch. 12 beat
    I’m a Chickaleary bloke, etc.


Off to Paris I shall go, to show a thing or two
  To the dipping blokes what hangs about the caffes, 13 pickpockets
How to do a cross-fam, for a super, or a slang, 14 watch; chain
  And to bustle them grand’armes I’d give the office:
Now my pals I’m going to slope, see you soon again, I hope,
  My young woman is awaiting, so be quick;
Now join in a chyike, the jolly we all like, 15 salute; shout
  I’m off with a party to the Vic.
    I’m a Chickaleary bloke, etc.


Vance, a music-hall singer and composer in the sixties, made his first great hit in Jolly Dogs; or Slap-bang! here we are again. This was followed by The Chickaleary Cove: a classic in its way.

Taken from Musa Pedestris, Three Centuries of Canting Songs and Slang Rhymes [1536―1896], collected and annotated by John S. Farmer.

previous * next


. . .
The Dashy, Splashy.... Little Stringer
The Bould Yeoman
The Bridle-Cull and his little Pop-Gun
Jack Flashman
Miss Dolly Trull
The By-Blow Of The Jug
The Cadger’s Ball
Dear Bill, This Stone-Jug
The Leary Man
A Hundred Stretches Hence
The Chickaleary Cove
Blooming Æsthetic
’Arry at a Political Picnic
Rum Coves that Relieve us
Villon’s Good-Night
Villon’s Straight Tip To All Cross Coves
Culture in the Slums
A Plank-Bed Ballad
The Rondeau of the Knock
The Rhyme of the Rusher
. . .