Bold English Navvy /
Navvy Boots
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I'm a bold English navvy that fought on the line
The first place I met was Newcastle-on-Tyne
I've been tired, sick and weary through working all day
To a cut down by the hillside I'm making my way

Well, I first had my supper and then had a shave
For courtin' this fair maid I highly prepared
The stars in the sky and the moon it shone down
And I head for the road with my navvy boots on

I knocked at my love's window, my knock she did know
And out of her slumber she wakened so slow
I knocked her again and she said, "Is that John?"
And I quickly replied, "With my navvy boots on"

So she opened the window and then let me in
'Twas to her bedroom she landed me then
The night being warm and the blankets rolled down
So I jumped into bed with my navvy boots on

Well then early next morning at the dawn of the day
Says I to my true love, It's time to go away
Sleep down, sleep down, you know you've done wrong
For to sleep here all night with your navvy boots on

So I bent down my head with a laugh and a smile
Saying, What could I do, love, in that length of time
And I know if I done it I done it in fun
And I'd do it again with my navvy boots on

Well now, six months being over and seven after this
This fair pretty maid she grew stout round her waist
Then eight months being over, the ninth comes along
And she handed me a young son with his navvy boots on

So come all you pretty fair maids, take heed what I say
And never let a navvy come into your bed
For the night being warm and the blankets rolled down
Sure he'll jump on your bones with his navvy boots on
The above version is as recorded by the Spinners. It is much the same as the version below which is from the Peter Kennedy book 'Folksongs of Britain and Ireland' and which was recorded by the Irish Rovers.

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I'm a bold English navvy that fought on the line
The first place I met was Newcastle-on-Tyne
I being tired, sick, and weary of working all day
To a cut down by the hillside I'm making my way

A digging and a-picking as I was one day
The thought of my true love it led me astray.
The day it was gone and the night coming on
And I hit for the road with my navvy boots on.

Oh I first had me supper and then had a shave
For courtin' this fair maid I highly prepared
Th'ould stars in the sky as the moon it shown down
And I hit for the road with my navvy boots on

I knocked at my love's window: my knock she did know
And out of her slumber she wakened so slow
I knocked there again and she said, "Is that John?"
And I quickly replied, "With me navvy boots on"

Oh she opened the window and then let me in
'Twas into her bedroom she planted me then
Th'ould night being cold and the blankets rolled on
So I slipped into bed with my navvy boots on

Oh then early next morning at the dawn of the day
Said I to my true love, "It's time to go away"
"Sleep down, sleep down, you know you've done wrong
Sure the child will be born with his navvy boots on"

Oh he bent down his head with a laugh and a smile
Saying, "What could I do love in that little while
And I know if I done it, I done it in fun
And I'll do it again with my navvy boots on"

Oh then six months being over and seven at the last
When this pretty fair maid grew stout round the waist
For eight months being over when nine comes along
And she handed him a young son with his navvy boots on

"Oh come all you pretty fair maids, take a warning," she said
"Don't ever leave a navvy get into your bed
For when he'll get warm and think upon you
Sure he'll jump on your bones with his navvy boots on."
The following version is from 'Songs of the Midlands', edited by Roy Palmer; EP Publishing Ltd, 1972. It was collected from the singing of Eileen Hannoran, an Irish traveller, at Pelsall Common, Staffordshire, by members of the Birmingham and Midland Folk Centre, 1st October 1967. The pentatonic tune is a variant of Green Bushes.

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I'm a bold Irish navvy. I worked on the line
I worked in a place called Newcastle-on-Tyne
My journey was long, I'd no moon out to shine,
I was caught by the hillside with my navvy boots on.

I went to her window, my knocks they were low;
I knocked at her window, my knock she did know;
I knocked there again and she said, "Is that John?"
And I quickly replied, "With my navvy boots on."

Early next morning in the scarce break o' day,
I says to my maid, "Now I must be away."
"Lay down there," she said, "don't you know you done wrong,
You have slept here all night with your navvy boots on."

He held down his head with a laugh and a smile,
Saying, "What could I do in that length of time?
Whatever I done, I just done it for fun,
And I'll do it again with my navvy boots on."

Six months is over and three had to leave
When this pretty maid she got stout round the waist,
Six months being over and three just being gone
Then she gave him a young son with his navvy boots on

Let all youse young maidens take a warning by me,
Do never let that navvy get into your bed.
When the nights they'll blow stormy and the blankets roll on,
Then he's bound to play tricks with his navvy boots on.