Captains of the Waterways

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Now we are young and in our prime,
we sail the cut like captains on an ocean line
With the first mate at the horse's head
and the crew to steer the ship that's how we earn our bread

And most of us when the frost does fall
can moor our boats and sit snug in some wayside pub
Whilst our wives and children in some cottage play
with a roaring fire to keep the night (and cold) at bay

A bob or two in hand we always have,
to buy the vittles and to pay the club
And even then some left to buy tobacco,
and a pint of the best down at the pub

Wherein such jovial company you'll find,
the nailers, colliers and others of their kind
Gathered there to chance an arm at dice,
the cocking or some other sport that brings no harm

So that you till the soil or dig for coal,
and you that in some burning forge must toil
Must envy us our better days
for we're the captains of the waterways.
A variant of the tune Hostess's Daughter, see Wanton Seed, EFDS Publications Ltd.
Words to be found in 'Canal Songs' by Jon Raven.

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