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In the Shade of the Old 'Arris Mill

[trad. ?]

This is from Mike Harding, Folk Songs of LancashireFolk Songs of Lancashire, Manchester: Whitethorn Press, 1980, p 78. There is no source given but the tune is In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree (Roud 10242), written by Harry Williams and Egbert Van Alstyne and published in 1905. The verses are in limerick structure similar to the song Poverty Knock, and a few lines seem to have been taken from The Doffing Mistress.

Jon Boden sang In the Shade of the Old 'Arris Mill as the September 9, 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day, and Fay Hield sang it in 2012 on her CD with the Hurricane Party, Orfeo.

Lyrics

In the shade of the old 'Arris Mill
It's enough to make anyone ill.
    The reelin' is rotten,
    And so is the cotton,
We'll have to give gaffer a pill.
And then when th'ower-looker comes round
An' he sees all us doffers sat down,
    He says, “Eh ger up
    And tie yer ends up!”
In the shade of the old 'Arris Mill.

Our stockin's are all full of holes
An' our clogs they are losin' their soles;
    Our shawls are all torn
    And our petticoats are worn,
We'd be better off diggin' coal.
You can't see yer hand for the lint
And by Wednesday we're all bloody skint,
    But we don't give a jot,
    We're a bloody fine lot,
We're the girls from the old 'Arris Mill.

Eh Aw wish pay day Friday would come
By but we'll have some rare fun,
    Cos each Friday night
    We go out and get tight
And troubles and cares are all done.
And then when we spent all us brass
And Monday morn comes round at last
    Then for me an' our Jack,
    It's time to get back
In the shade of the old 'Arris Mill.

Links and Acknowledgements

See also the Mudcat Café threads History of Cotton in Song and Songbook: Folk Songs of Lancashire.