“The Flying Trapeze”


"Once I was happy, but now I'm forlorn, Like an old coat that is tatter'd and torn." The singer's young girlfriend has left him for a trapeze artist. This man, who "flies through the air with the greatest of ease," induced her to run away and join his act


Credited to George Leybourne (for whom see the notes on "Champagne Charlie"), but this song, like that one, may be mostly the work of the "arranger," Alfred Lee. Or the tune may be borrowed; at least, Johann Strauss used it as an "English Folk Melody" in 1869. - RBW


  • NLScotland, L.C.Fol.70(124a), "Flying Trapeze," Poet's Box (Glasgow), 1874


  • Aaron Campbell's Mountaineers, "Man on the Flying Trapeze" (Chamption 45038, 91935)
  • Harry "Mac" McClintock, "The Man on the Flying Trapeze" (Victor 21567, 1928)
  • Walter O'Keefe, "The Man on the Flying Trapeze" (Victor 24172, 1932)


  1. RJackson-19CPop, pp. 69-72, "The Flying Trapeze" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Randolph 748, "Once I Was Happy" (1 text plus a fragment, 1 tune)
  3. Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 63-65, "The Man on the Flying Trapeze" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Lomax-ABFS, pp. 338-340, "The Man on the Flying Trapeze" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Silber-FSWB, p. 270, "The Man On The Flying Trapeze" (1 text)
  6. Fuld-WFM, p. 230, "The Flying Trapeze"
  8. Roud #5286
  9. BI, RJ19069


Author: George Leybourne and/or Alfred Lee
Earliest date: 1868
Found in: US(MA,So)