Boater's Glory

by David Blagrove (1998)


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Your boats fed the factories that gave us our wealth
The commerce of England was bought with your health
In the wars for our freedom, where so many died
Your boats and your labour did keep us supplied.

Chorus :
Boatmen and boatwomen of days long gone by!
Your proud old traditions we’ll not let them die.
Your stories and glories we shall not forget,
For the cut is still there and the trade’s running yet.

Your roses and castles, your brasses so bright,
Your plates and your crochet and rope work scrubbed white,
Your staunch independence where e’er trade you plied,
Were the signs of your calling and tokens of pride,

Chorus

Betrayed by your bosses, ignored by the mass
And treated with scorn by the townies so crass,
You kept the boats moving for many a year,
Till better times came your boats kept the cut clear.

Chorus

Though the years they have passed and the cut’s not the same,
Keeping trade on the move is the name of the game
And the country that spurned you and used you so ill
Has need of your knowledge and need of your skill.

Chorus

Written 1998 on the occasion of the Government White Paper on Transport, when for the first time for decades official encouragement of freight by water became National policy. It went the way of all other New Labour promises.
Tune: “To Thine be the Glory”