The Bargee Song

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Trudging along a well worn track
Trailing a barge and pole
Off to the end of the world and back
Never a rest at the goal
Up to the hills and down to the sea
Whose for a trip with a sleepy barge?

By wharf and by quayside
On Mersey or Deeside
I’m strolling but rolling with dusty black loads
Along by the lock-side and down by the dockside
My smokey, old pokey, old dirty back roads

The grey mare I’m leading
Her burden unheading
Is nodding and plodding
While pulling her charge

I drift down a slow path
My life is the towpath
I’m only a lonely old man
With a barge

Out from the town to the open fields
Where all the yokels dwell
Watching the crops that the country yields
Waving to milkmaids as well
Baccy a day, that Brown bread and cheese
Where is a banquet the equal of these?

By Gloucester or Devon
Through Avon or Severn
I ponder and wander
To heaven knows where

Where green willow tinges
The brown water fringes
I look on a new pound
I’m following there

By fenland and good land
Past windmill and woodland
My riches were bridges
Bloom lightly or large

My job where I take it
My life what I make it
I’m only a lonely old man
With a barge
A 1937 performance of this song by the baritone Gerald Nodin can be viewed on the British Pathé website.