The Bold Navigators
(The Navvies)



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On Monday morning we make it a rule
For every man to choose his own tool
For he that come first may choose of the best
And he who comes last may take all the rest.

For that's the rule of the bold navigator
For we are jovial banksmen all.

On Tuesday morning when we go to work,
We strip off our jackets and tighten our shirts
We strip off our jackets and let them go free
We drive our poles by one, two or three.

It's when we come to the bottom-most run
We fill up our barrows right unto our chin
We fill our barrow and pile it up high
If you don't wheel it another will try.

It's when that we come to the main plank wheel
We lower our hands and hold fast on our heels
For if the plank does bend or does bow
Our ganger on the top cries "lookout below!"

And when we are struck by hail, frost or snow,
We'll blow up our mess and off we will go
We'll call to our timekeeper without any damp
To let us have our time before we go tramp.

When that it does begin for to rain
We'll take up our barrows and all gang in
For it's into a whiskey shop that we will go
We don't give a damn whether we work or no.

Well tell our gaffer without any damp
We'll not pay his tommy before we go on tramp,
We'll tell our landlady before we do go
That it's not our rule to pay what we owe
Words from a broadside (Manchester library).
Tune "structured from traditional elements" by Jon Raven.
From 'Victoria's Inferno', by Jon Raven.

"tommy shop"= company store

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