“The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze”, also known as “The Man on the FlyingTrapeze”, is a very well-known 19th century popular song about a flying trapeze circusperformer, Jules Léotard. The song was first published in 1867, with words written by theBritish lyricist and singer, George Leybourne, with music by Gaston Lyle, and arrangedby Alfred Lee. The lyrics were based on Leotard’s phenomenal success. Comedian WalterO‘Keefe was the first to record the song, in 1934. It became his theme song whenever heappeared on radio or television.Once I was happy, but now I’m forlornLike an old coat that is tattered and torn;Left on this world to fret and to mourn,Betrayed by a maid in her teens.The girl that I loved she was handsome;I tried all I knew her to pleaseBut I could not please her one quarter so wellAs the man upon the trapeze.He’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease,That daring young man on the flying trapeze.His movements were graceful, all girls he could pleaseAnd my love he purloined away.This young man by name was Signor Bona Slang,Tall, big and handsome, as well made as Chang.Where’er he appeared the hall loudly rangWith ovation from all people there.He’d smile from the bar on the people belowAnd one night he smiled on my love.She wink’d back at him and she shouted “Bravo,”As he hung by his nose up above.Her father and mother were both on my sideAnd very hard tried to make her my bride;Her father he sighed, and her mother she cried,To see her throw herself away.‘Twas all no avail, she went there every night,And would throw him bouquets on the stage,Which caused him to meet her; how he ran me down,To tell you would take a whole page.
One night I as usual went to her dear home,
Found there her father and mother alone.I asked for my love, and soon they made known,To my horror that she’d run away.She’d packed up her box and eloped in the nightWith him, with the greatest of ease;From two stories high he had lowered her downTo the ground on his flying trapeze.Some months after this I went to the Hall;Was greatly surprised to see on the wallA bill in red letters, which did my heart gall,That she was appearing with him.He’d taught her gymnastics and dressed her in tights,To help him live at his ease,And made her assume a masculine name,And now she goes on the trapeze.She’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease,You’d think her the man young man on the flying trapeze.Her movements were graceful, all girls she could please,And that was the end of my love