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'When a Man's a Little Bit Poorly', sheet music, United Kingdom, 1838-1855

‘When A Man’s A Little Bit Poorly’, was a song which claimed that doctors only made their patients worse. The chorus goes: “When a Man’s a little bit poorly, he makes a fuss, wants a nurse, Thinks he’s going to die most surely, Sends for a doctor who makes him worse.” It goes on to list the treatments he receives, including examinations, pills and drugs, and bloodletting. The doctor in the song has to call a physician, showing the different types of doctors and levels of expertise available in the 1800s. The song ends with the patient claiming he got better without medical help and would rather die in the ‘natural’ way than at the hands of a doctor.

Object number:

1984-56/3

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Glossary:

Glossary: sheet music

Music printed on unbound sheets of paper.

Glossary: comedy

a play, film, etc., of an amusing or satirical character, usually with a happy ending. The traditional theatrical genre can be simply described as a dramatic performance which pits two societies against each other in an amusing agon or conflict. However, in modern times the term has adopted a popular connotation associated with a variety of different media that proports to make others amused.