From the album The English Lament

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English Folk-Heritage

I searched the Internet and found little information on this song except
that it is widespread throughout the English-speaking world, but is English in origin.
It features a man of unknown age bemoaning the fact that his present dilapidated pecuniary and physical state of being had a lot to do with spending much of his youth (and possibly middle-age) enjoying fairly expensive and probably debauched company.
Possibly it is a parable set to music, warning us all to beware of the self-inflicted excesses of a hedonistic lifestyle. If that is the case, then it is a timeless warning that is, equally timelessly, ignored.

Lyrics

English Folk-Heritage

Once I had a colour as red as a rose
But now I'm as pale as the lily that grows.
As the lily in the garden my colour has all gone
And you see what I'm coming to from loving that one.

Chorus: (same tune as verse)
So take this yellow handkerchief in remembrance of me
And tie it round your neck, my love, in yer flash companie.
Flash companie’s bin the ruin of me and a great many more
If it hadn't a been for flash companie I should never ‘a been so poor.

For the singing and the dancing 'twas all my delight
And the keepin’ of flash companie’s been the ruin of me quite.
Flash companie’s bin the ruin of me and a great many more
If it wasn’t for flash companie I should never ‘a been so poor.

For once I loved a young girl as I loved my life
And I thought in my heart I would make her my wife.
With her white cotton stockings, and her high ankle shoes
And she wears a yellow handkerchief wherever she goes.

© PhilDrane Music 2016