THE GRAVEDIGGER’S WEDDING
by Kevin Paul and Harold Arpthorp (1926)
‘Twas the day of the gravedigger’s wedding,
The churchyard was shrouded in gloom,
And the lads of the village sat silent,
As they played tiddley winks on a tomb.
The villagers trooped up the High Street,
Trying their best not to grieve,
They were losing their jolly young sexton,
And alas there could be no reprieve,
Mr. Coffin, the star undertaker,
Was giving his daughter away,
And despite his morose occupation,
Was doing his best to look gay.
He had finished the final arrangements,
And had measured both bridegroom and bride,
He had ordered the finest brass fittings,
And the hearse in which homeward they’d ride.
The villagers all were invited,
Invitations sent out to each guest,
Said, “Be in the churchyard at mid-day,”
And ended “No flowers by request.”
The bride wore a gown of black muslin,
And everyone said she looked grand,
A veil of black crepe o’er her shoulders,
And she carried a wreath in her hand.
The bridegroom had laid down his shovel,
In order to take up a wife,
And he whispered aloud to the verger,
“It’s the sorriest day of my life!”
He arrived an hour late for the wedding,
And the crowd were all getting alarmed,
He had been in the old “Crown and Anchor”
Getting completely embalmed.
The parson was solemnly waiting,
The bride and the groom at the rails,
Her train was held up by two pages,
His pants were held up by two nails,
And when the parson had joined them and blessed ’em,
They were sentenced for better or worse,
And the organ played “Rescue the Perishing,”
As they hurried away in the hearse.
The guests followed on to the breakfast,
The bridesmaids were sent in a cab,
The feast was laid out in the parlour,
The best man laid out on a slab.
The verger had charge of the breakfast,
The most popular toast that he gave,
Was “Health and long life to the bridegroom,
May he live to dig many a grave.”
The breakfast was very near over,
The guests were half screwed in their chairs,
The husband was asked where the bride was,
He answered, “The body’s upstairs.”
Hat-tip: Pete Smith. Thanks!