Narrow Lock Gates

by Bill Caddick


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There once was boatman or so I've heard say
Who plied the canals most every day
One morning he came to some narrow small lock
And upon the lock-keeper's door he did knock

Well a fine young woman just then she looked out
'Good morning and what do you want? she did shout
I've a fine load of coal and that cannot wait
And I'd love to come up your narrow lock gates

Well me father close guards this lock it's a fact
It's his joy and his pride and he keeps it in tact
And before that he left to me he did state
Don't let anyone make a hole in your gates

Well father's away so pay what I ask
And I'll let you through and I'll help with the task
I don't demand much just give me a speck
Of that fine lumpy coal I see on your deck

Oh father's away she said but don't fear
For I'll be your guide and I'll pull you through here
Keep your hand on your tiller, promise me true
That you'll hold your boat back when you're half way through

So he doffed his cap and away he did float
And into her basin he eased his long boat
And the way that he entered the lock made her roar
Oh! you've been through a lock and a tunnel before

At the way that she helped him he marvelled indeed
And he pressed his boat in at a dangerous speed
His promise forgotten, ahead he did forge
And he rammed the main gates with the end of his barge

Well the water poured in, the lock it ran high
She was soaked through while he remained dry
And seeing her thus with nothing to lose
He opened the gates and this time he shot through

Oh! me father will rage she cried out aloud
For I've lost me main gates of which he was proud
But the boatman he laughed as away he did stroll
Oh I've left you a fine lump of coal in your hole

And he sang as he sailed along

A mildy bawdy ballad which appears to tell the tale of the lock-keeper's daughter helping the boatsman pass through the lock.

Recorded on :

and 'Unicorns' by Bill Caddick, Working Joe Music WJM2003 (2002)