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As me and me marrow was gangin to wark,
We met with the Deel, it was i' the dark;
I up wi' my pick, it was i' the neet,
I knock'd for his horns, likewise his club feet.

Follow the horses, Johnny my laddy!
Follow them through, my cannie lad, O!
Follow the horses, Johnny my laddy!
O lad lye away, canny lad, O!

As me and my marrow was putten the tram,
The lowe it went out, and my marrow gat wrang;
How ye wad ha' laugh'd had ye seen the fine gam,
The deel got my marrow, but I gat the tram.

Oh! marrow, Oh! marrow, Oh! what dost thou think,
I've broken my bottle, and spilt all my drink;
I've lost all my shin splints amang the great stanes;
Draw me to the shaft, lad; it's time to gan hame.

Oh! marrow, Oh! marrow, where has te been?
Drivin the shaft fra' the law seam;
Driven the shaft fra' the law seam;
Had up the lowe, lad; deel stop up thy een.

There is my horse, and there is my tram;
Twee horns full o' grease, will mak her te gan;
There is my hoggars, likewise my half shoon,
And smash my pit sark, for my putten's a' done.

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Source: Palmer, R,A Ballad History of England,BT Batsford Ltd, 1979

The text was first published in the Northumbrain Garland of 1793. The text and tune together were published in The Bishoprick Garland editor J Ritson, in 1834.

Roy Palmer provides these translations of the dialect:

Marrow: workmate
Deel: Devil
Putten the tram: pushing the coal truck
Lowe: light
Gam: game
Law: low
Had up: hold up
Hoggars: stockings with the feet cut off, used as gaiters
Sark: shirt

The song is adopted as the book title by Robert Colls: The Collier's Rant: Song and Culture in the Industrial Village (Croom Helm/Rowman & Littlefield, 1977).

"The Collier's Rant" (the same version with some minor differences) is also in Allan's Illustrated Edition of Tyneside Songs ([1862, revised edition, 1891]; Facsimile edition, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Frank Graham, 1972, pp. 25-26; without music), with this note [the date of Ritson's book is different]:

Sir Cuthbert Sharpe writes:--"This is a true pit song, which singers can do justice to. Those who have had the advantage of hearing it sung by the late Mr. W.S--, sen., of Pictree, will not readily forget the marvellous effect he produced on his hearers by his powerful voice and genuine humour."

The song appeared in Cuthbert Sharpe's Bishoprick Garland (1834), not to be confused with Joseph Ritson's Bishopric Garland (1784). Ritson printed the song, without tune, in his Northumberland Garland (1793, song XIII).

Roud: 1366 (Search Roud index at VWML)

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