Here Come the Navvies

by Ian Campbell



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I am a navigational and come from County Cork
And I had to leave my native land to find a job of work
The crops were bad in Ireland and the tax too much to pay
So here I am in England digging up the waterway.

Here come the navvies, out to earn their pay
We work with barrow, plough and spade to clear the cut away
And when we put the puddle in, with sweat we wet the clay
And we scar the face of England for to make the waterway

Once I was a ploughman and I did a decent job
I worked from dawn 'til darkness just to earn a couple o' bob
But when the praties died on us I couldn't pay me way
And so here I am in England ploughing up the waterway

The lads who built the waterway we are a motley crew
And when we've sweated all day long, we like a drink or two
The local folk don't take to us, but still I'm proud to say
In years to come our monument will be the waterway


Tune : Little Beggarman

According to the sleeve notes on the album "Ian Campbell and the Ian Campbell Folk Group" issued in 1969, "Here Come the Navvies" was written by Ian Campbell for a BBC Radio programme about the men who built the canals. This was the 'lost' Radio Ballad entitled 'Cry from the Cut' which has now come to light thanks to the endeavours of Chris Brady.



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