The Life of the Boatman by William Bates The life of a boatman is tough and hard Making a living out of old Tooley's yard But it won't be long if we skimp and save And I'll make Number One then there's money to be made It's the age of a boat towed by a horse From morning to dusk we follow the course No talk of pollution, no talk of the cold It's survival that matters, which favours the bold With a length of hemp rope attached to the tow The progress we make is steady but slow For a bag of good oats, and a chance at the hay Fifteen hands of good muscle will pull through the day The choice of a boatman is limited at best To deliver the goods before we can rest How far can we travel before we're tired through How much must we take 'til we know that it's through After a day at the tiller the job does not end The horse needs feeding at the next bend But with four good feet that are sturdy and sound If we pull together we'll make the next pound Oh it's hard being a boatman but at least we have work To keep job and a roof it's best not to shirk Away from pollution it can't be all bad With life in the city all choking and sad In exchange for wages we accept our lot Queuing for days to maintain our slot With a draft that's now shallow and an empty hold It's time to move on to collect our next load The life of a boatman is tough and hard The life of a boatman is tough and hard On the above video this song is sung by Brian Chignell, a friend of the author. Brian supplied me with William Bates' lyrics and put the tune to them.
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