Notes

Original poem by
C. Fox Smith

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MP3 Sample

The Jolly Bargeman

Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Adapted and musically arranged by Charlie Ipcar 5/23/10

Tune: Mike Kennedy chorus/Charles Ipcar verse

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Chorus:
And it's "Gee-hup, Mabel," we'll do the best we're able,
For the Country's took us over an' we're helping her to win,
An' when this war is over, we'll all lay down in clover,
An 'we'll drink all together at the Navigation Inn!

I've put the old mare's tail in plaits now ain't she lookin' gay?
Bright ribbons in her mane, you'd think it First o' May;
For why? We're under Government, though it ain't quite plain to me
If we're in the Civil Service or in the Admiralty!

(chorus)

Now I brought the news to Missis, an' to her these words did say:
"Just chuck your old broom-handle an' some rusty nails this way:
We're bound to have a flag-staff for our old red, white an' blue,
For now we're under Government we'll have our ensign too."

(chorus)

Now the Navy is the Navy, an' it sails upon the sea,
The Army is the Army, an' on land it has to be;
There's the land an' there's the water, an' the Cut comes in between,
And I don't know what they'll call me if it ain't the Horse Marine.

(chorus)

So the Missis sits an' steers the barge, from where she used to sit,
But they'll have her in the papers now for "doin' her own bit":
And I trudge upon the tow-path here as proud as anything,
Though I sure ain't got no uniform, I'm serving of the King.

(chorus)

Picture of horse pulling canal boat under a stond bridge, taken by Judy Barrows, Llangollen, Wales, Octover 2006
Going Under Stone Bridge on Canal
Llangollen
Wales
October 2006

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Notes:

From Small Craft: Sailor Ballads and Chantys, edited by Cicely Fox Smith, published by George H. Doran Co., New York, US, 1919, pp. 72-73. First published in Punch Magazine, Volume 152, May 16, 1917, p. 320.

Captures a moment in World War 1 when the British Government has issued an order mobilizing the canal bargemen into the war effort, replete with great detail.

The header graphic was photographed by Judy Barrows in 2006.

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The Jolly Bargeman

By Cicely Fox Smith
From Small Craft: Sailor Ballads and Chantys, edited by Cicely Fox Smith,
published by George H. Doran Co., New York, US, 1919, pp. 72-73.
First published in Punch Magazine, Volume 152, May 16, 1917, p. 320.

I've put the old mare's tail in plaits now ain't she lookin' gay,
With ribbons in 'er mane likewise, you'd think it First o' May;
For why? We're under Government, though it ain't quite plain to me
If we're in the Civil Service or the Admiralties!

An' it's "Gee hup, Mabel," an' we'll do the best we're able,
For the country's took us over an' we're 'elpin' 'er to win,
An' when the war is over, oh, we'll all lie down in clover,
With a drink all together at the Navigation Inn!

I brought the news to Missis, an' to 'er these words did say:
"Just chuck yon old broom-'andle an' a two-three nails this way:
We're bound to 'ave a flag-staff for our old red, white an' blue,
For now we're under Government we'll 'ave our ensign too."

The Navy is the Navy, an' it sails upon the sea,
The Army is the Army, an' on land it 'as to be;
There's the land an' there's the water, an' the Cut comes in between,
An' I don't know what they'll call me if it ain't an 'Orse Marine.

The Missis sits upon the barge, the same's she used to sit,
But they'll 'ave 'er in the papers now for Doin' 'er Bit:
An' I walk upon the tow-path 'ere as proud as anything,
If I 'aven't got no uniform, I'm serving of the King.

An' it's "Gee hup, Mabel," oh, we'll do the best we're able,
For the country's been an' called us, an' we've got to 'elp to win;
An' when this war is over, then we'll all lie down in clover,
With a drink all together at the Navigation Inn!

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