Paddy upon the Canal


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When I came to sweet Newcastle
It happened to be in the fall
Never gave way to my rigging
Until I landed upon the Canal

To look at such terrible rumour
It filled my heart with surprise
To see such great undertakings
The like I never saw with my eyes

So farewell father and mother
And fare ye well Ireland too
So fare you well sister and brother
So kindly I bid you adieu

I being a poor Irish stranger
And knowing not what for to say
When the ganger came up in a hurry
Saying boys it’s a gay time of day

They all stood up in good order
You’d thought him father of all
I was wishing that very same moment
I was dying upon the Canal

I fell in love with a farmer’s daughter
And she was right proud do you see
I caught her right round by the middle
And set her right down on my knee

That old woman got up in a hurry
And loudly began for to bawl
Saying get out you saucy big jade
For Paddy will prove your downfall

The girls they do all love me here
Or where ever that I do go
There’s Sarah and Betsy and Polly
They all do call me her bean

The old woman got up in a hurry
And loudly began for to bawl
Saying we never got good of our daughter
Since Paddy came on the canal

I learnt the art of Navigation
I think it a very fine trade
I can handle the pick and the shovel
Likewise the wheelbarrow and spade

I learnt to be very handy
Although I am not very tall
I could handle the sprig of shillelagh
With ever a boy on the Canal

So now to conclude and to finish
And publish in every degree
I’m just as true hearted an Irishman,
As ever your country did see

So fill up your glass and be hearty
And drink a good health to us all
And to every true hearted Irishman
That’s digging upon the Canal
Words from a broadside inscribed 'Bought Newcastle Race Week 1847'.
Reproduced in 'Canal Songs by Jon Raven.