"She Was Poor But She Was Honest" aka "It's The Same The Whole World Over"
According to Ed Cray in the second edition of The Erotic Muse: American Bawdy Songs, "She Was Poor But She Was Honest" was originally "a bathetic lament, sung with tongue in cheek by English music hall singers" and probably dates from the latter half of the 19th Century. There are numerous versions; when it crossed the Atlantic, it was adapted as a jibe at James Folsom.
It was popular in bawdy versions in the British Army during World War I (1914-1918)
"She Was Poor But She Was Honest" is also known as "It's The Same The Whole World Over" and can be rendered as both a poem and a monologue. The theme is hardly new or entirely fictional, and has undoubtedly inspired many songs both before and since including the tragic "Kitty Jay" which is based on the legend of Jay's Grave.
In 1923 Robert W. Gordon collected a version by E.S. Fowlds, Hidalgo, Mex., 9/17/23
It is song # 246 in The Gordon 'Inferno' Collection Index
This song is also mentioned in Carl Sandburg's "American Songbag" (1927) as "It's The Syme The Whole World Over"
A 1930 version by Bob Weston and Bert Lee was regularly performed by the comic entertainer Billy Bennett (1887–1942). The lyric exists in varying forms, and has been lewdly adapted for drinking songs, but the gist is always of a country girl who is seduced and abandoned by a wicked squire. Fleeing to London, she receives similar treatment from gentlemen in positions of authority. Finally she throws herself from a bridge into the Thames at midnight. In one version she drowns but in others she is rescued.
Here's the first recorded version I could find by British comedian Billy Bennett.
(o) Billy Bennett 1930
Released on Columbia DB 164
Written by R.P. Weston (music) and Bert Lee (lyrics)
2 years later Billy recorded another version on the Regal Zonophone-label
(c) Billy Bennett 1932
Released on Regal Zonophone MR 147
(c) Cyril Smith (1949 ??)
Released on Castle Records # CA-261
(c) Original Soho Skiffle Group (=Vipers Skiffle Group) 1960 (recorded in 1957)
Listen to a sample here;
(c) Derek Lamb 1962 (as "She Was Poor But She Was Honest")
Listen to a sample here:
(c) Ian Whitcomb 1965 (Poor But Honest)
The lyrics were also in Sing Out ! magazine : Volume.15 Issue number 4 page 35 (1965)
In Danmark and Sweden the song was then very popular in the folk-circuit after Per Dich wrote Danish lyrics for the saong from that Sing Out ! magazine
(c) Per Dich (1966) (as "Kapitalismen")
This is the Danish version by Per Dich who also wrote the Danish lyrics
(c) Fred Åkerström ( as "Kapitalismen")
And this is the Swedish version, with Swedish words by Patrik (=Per-Anders Boquist)
(c) Leen Jongewaard 1967 (as "De Schuld van het Kapitaal") (Dutch lyrics Michel van der Plas)