Saturday, May 21, 2011

Look Out Below!

Charles Thatcher

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A young man left his native shore,
for trade was bad at home.
To seek his fortune in this land,
he crossed the briny foam.

And when he came to Ballarat,
it put him in a glow,
to hear the sound of the windlasses
and the cry. "Look Out Below!".

Wherever he turned his wandering eyes
Great wealth he did behold,
and peace and plenty hand in hand,
by the magic power of gold.

Quoth he, ""As I am yong and strong
to the diggin's I will go,
for I like the sound of the windlasses
and the cry, "Look Out Below!".

Among the rest he took his chance,
and his lick at first was vile,
but still he resolved to persevere,
and at length he made his pile.

So says he, "I'll take my passage
and home again I'll go,
and say farewell to the windlasses
and the cry, "Look Out Below!".

Arrived in London once again,
his gold he freely spent.
And into every gaiety
and dissipation went.

But pleasure, if prolonged too much,
oft causes pain you know,
and he missed the sound of the windlasses
and the cry, "Look Out Below!".

And thus he reasoned with himself
"Oh why did I return?"
For a digger's independent life
I now begin to yearn.

Here, purse-proud lords the poor do oppress,
but there it is not so.
Give me the sound of the windlasses
and the cry, "Look Out Below!"

So he started for this land once again
with a charming little wife.
And he finds there's nothing that comes up to
a jolly digger's life.

Ask him if he'll go back one day,
he'll quickly answer, "No",
for he loves the sound of the windlasses
and the cry, "Look Out Below!".

Charles Thatcher was also the author of the song Where's Your License, posted here on April 9.

These words come from a post on Mudcat:

My parents had a book and record, published in 1970 by Jacaranda Press, by Peter O'Shaughnessy, Russell Ward and Graeme Inson, titled "The Restless Years".
Peter O'Shaughnessy, Marian Henderson and Alex Hood sing the song by Charles Thatcher, titled "Look Out Below", accompanied by band members Ron Carson, Richard Brookes and Robert Iredale.

The tune is from Mark Gregory's Australian Folk Song site (where slightly different words appear), reported as collected by John Meredith with the tune being from Sally Sloane.

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