THE LAY OF THE ONE FISH BALL
1. There was a man went up and down,
To seek a dinner through the town.
2. What wretch is he who wife forsakes,
Who best of jam and waffles makes?
3. He feels his cash to know his pence,
And finds he has but just six cents.
4. He finds at last a right cheap place,
And enters in with modest face.
5. The bill of fare he searches through,
To see what his six cents will do.
6. The cheapest viand of them all,
"Twelve-and-a-half cents for two Fish-ball."
7. The waiter he to him doth call,
And gently whispers-"one Fish-ball."
8. The waiter roars it through the hall,
The guests they start at "one Fish-ball."
9. The guest then says, quite ill at ease,
“A piece of bread. Sir, if you please."
10. The waiter roars it through the hall,
"We don't give bread with one Fish-ball."
11. Who would have bread with his Fish-ball,
Must get it first, or not at all.
12. Who would Fish-balls with fixins eat,
Must get some friend to stand a treat.
George Martin Lane (1823-1897)
Harper's, July 1855