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Are we to Part like this, Bill?

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Performer: Brazil, Danny
Place Collected: Staverton
Date collected: 1978 (5 May)
Collector: Davies, Gwilym
Roud Number: 17700

This sentimental music hall sung was written by Harry Castling (1865-1933) and Charles Collins (1874-1923) who wrote a great many well-known songs between them. The song, like many music hall songs, passed into oral tradition and has occasionally been collected from source singers. Mr Brazil only sings the chorus and one verse, but the complete words are:

 Three weeks ago, no longer
I was as gay as a bird on the wing
But since me and Bill have been parted, you know
Life is a blank and it’s changed everything
I saw him out with another last night
None can guess how I felt at the sight
With tears in my eyes that I tried to keep back
I crept to his side and said,

Chorus: Are we to part like this Bill
Are we to part this way?
Who’s it to be, ‘er or me?
Don’t be afraid to say
If everything’s over between us
Don’t never pass me by
‘Cos you and me still friends can be
For the sake of the days gone by.

We went to school together
Lived side by side, me and Bill, in the mews
When ‘e was ill, too, I stayed up for nights
Nursed him – to do it I’d never refuse
‘E used to tell me his wife I should be
I never thought that he’d turn against me
Sleeping or waking, at work or at home
I find myself murmuring this,


Down in a little laundry
Me and ‘er work side by side every day
She was my pal and I looked to ‘er well
Trusted and helped ‘er in every way
Still if my Bill cares more for ‘er than me
I wish ’em no harm no, but prosperity
I try to forget him, but each day I find
These words running through my mind.


 Notes by Gwilym Davies