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A SHANTYMAN'S LIFE

A shanty lad, he leads a dreadful, dreary life,
Though some call it free from care, '
When he swings on his axe from morning until night
In the middle of the forest so drear.

Transported I am from my own native land
Near the banks of the old Delever,
Where the wolves and the owls, with their terrifying growls,
Disturb our nightly dreams.

At two or three o'clock, there's our noisy, noisy cook
As she shouts out bold, "Boys, it's day!"
And broken slumbering the cold, frosty nights,
The cold, wintry nights away.

As soon as the daylight star does appear,
To the wild woods, boys, we will go;
We'll swing on our axe from morning until night
For the forest to lay low.

When springtime comes in, double hardship does begin,
When the water is piercing cold;
Our clothing are all wringing wet,
Our hands scarce the pike poles could hold

The rocks, breaks and jams give employment to all hands,
Our well bounded rafts for to steer;
And the rapids that we run to us are only fun
In the middle of the forest so drear.

Had we gin, wine or beer our spirits for to cheer
While we to the shanty alone;
Had we a glass of any shone, while lying here alone,
We'd forget old Erin's isle.

We'll enjoy one 'nother's hearts, till death does us part
Should our riches be great or small;
We'll enjoy one 'nother's hearts, till death does us part
Should our riches be great or small.

From Folk Songs of the Catskills, Cazden Haufrecht and Studer
Collected from George Edwards.

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