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Navvy Boots

  • (Trad)

    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 cot 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 line - railway line

    (as sung by The Spinners)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1956:] A widespread but seldom printed song concerns a young man who pays a night-visit to his girl with a billycock on, a cattle-smock on, a leather-apron on, his navvy boots on. The song gets its laugh because whatever happens to the hero, he never removes the badge of his standing or trade. The song is known to northern industrial workers as well as to southern farm labourers. [Pit Boots] is the miners' version. (A. L. Lloyd, notes 'The Iron Muse')

  • [1967:] The gradual reorganization of agriculture, which had already begun by the end of the seventeenth century, made itself bitterly felt towards the end of the eighteenth, and many small farmers and cottagers had [...] to go as pick and spade men on the canals (the 'navigation', hence 'navvy') [...]. (Lloyd, England 218)

  • [1974:] Most occupations have their own versions of this song [...] and the navvy version is as widespread, seemingly, as the railways and canals they navigated through the land. The words don't change much. As I first got it from Fred McKay, it was almost identically the same as sung by the Belfast tinker lady, Lal Smith, on Topic 12T158. The two verses about being sued for maintenance [not included] were collected by Russell Quay and Hylda Sims in the Queens Arms, South Norwood. When I was in the circus we had a fair number of labourers on the run from maintenance orders. (Dallas, Toil 43)

Quelle: England

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