The First Cargo
(Tavistock Canal)

 

boat

Home

Song Menu

Reference

notes



Something New is the Cry in this wonderful age
And Novelty charms both the Peasant and sage.
So to me, it appears that the task doth belong
To tug out from my brain box another new song.

The subject, I trow, is most near to us all
Nothing less than the flooding our growing Canal
Which with labour and years to perfection shall rise;
(A giant was once but an infant in size).

In the ages, called antique, no traces there were
Of a Roman Canal or a sluice or a Weir.
But in happier periods of Commerce and Peace
These magnificent Works formed the glory of Greece.

But the prospect in Europe this day. O how grand!
Fields changed into rivers, and rivers dry land!
From Petersburg shores on to China we sail,
And the Caspian and Baltic united we hail.

In Britain where industry ever succeeds
We've the Oxford, Bridgewater, Grand Junction and Leeds.
In France is the justly renowned Languedoc
And may we not one day see the GRAND TAVISTOCK.

Days of wonder! are these, and with enterprise stored!
Who once would have dreamed of a fleet at Fitzford?
A few centuries more, and perchance they may try
Old Tavy to turn over Rock Park, so high.

On life's serpentine stream as our course we pursue.
May the end of our voyage be ever in view.
Fanned by Hope's cheering breeze, may our spirits be strong
While the Brig PERSEVERANCE conveys us along.

With our sentiment tender, I'll end my poor strains,
For our dear native Town, and the souls it contains,
For our Parents, our Bretheren, Friends, Sweethearts and wives,
And may each coming day prove the best of their lives.

This song was provided by Phil Holland. He states that it was copied by a friend about 15 years ago from a copy displayed in Tavistock Museum.

Apparently it was 'Sung at a meeting of the Committee of the Tavistock Canal Company, 17 April 1806'.