“She Was Poor But She Was Honest (I)”


A mock lament in which the village maid seduced goes to London to become a prostitute. While her customers prosper, she becomes a pox-ridden streetwalker burdened with piles. The moral: the rich takes their pleasures while the poor get the blame.


The Sandburg text is described as "fortified in part by H.L Mencken and a contributor to The American Mercury." - RBW

Cross references


  1. Cray, pp. 128-132, "She Was Poor But She Was Honest I" (3 texts, 1 tune)
  2. PBB 108, "She Was Poor, But She Was Honest" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Sandburg, pp. 200-201, "It's The Syme the Whole World Over" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. JHJohnson, pp. 15-16, "She Was Poor But She Was Honest" (1 text)
  5. Silber-FSWB, p. 27, "It's The Syme The Whole World Over" (1 text)
  6. DT, SYMEOVR5*
  7. Roud #9621
  8. BI, EM128


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1923
Keywords: bawdy humorous
Found in: Australia Canada Britain(England) US(SW)