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'Ware Out Mother

[ Roud 2551 ; trad.]

Mrs Marina Russell of Upwey, Dorset, sang 'Ware Out Mother in December 1907 to Henry Hammond. This was printed in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society 8 (1930).

Sam Richards and Tish Stubbs sang 'Ware Out Mother in 1979 on their Transatlantic album The English Folksinger.

Melrose Quartet learned 'Ware Out Mother from the singing of Charlie Yarwood. They sang it on their 2017 CD Dominion.


Melrose Quartet sing 'Ware Out Mother

Nightmares, Mother had, of navvies in the cellar
And dark eyes looking through the window outside.
How we used to vex her, how we used to taunt her,
How we would laugh and chant to her dismay.

Chorus (after each verse):
'Ware out Mother! There's a navvy in the cellar
and two more looking through the window outside

Mother heard there was to be a river builded,
Just a stone's throw away from the window outside.
How we hugged each other, as we told our mother,
“It's a canal, there'll be navigators too.”

We told Mother there'd be barges full of jewels
And wondrous things past the window outside,
But where's this river from?wwe said it flows from China.
“Woah,” thought Mom, “there'll be alligators too.”

One night Jimmy led the navvies into town
and they looked like beggars through the window outside.
There were navvies in the ale house, arguments and street fights,
Mother was delicate, she stayed in bed all week.

One night Jimmy had a gentle way with words
and more pairs of hands than was decent, alright.
“Will you come along, me saucy little Susie,
Just let me put a few arms around your waist.”

Soon our mother saw the navvy with her daughter
and she locked her up in the cellar downstairs.
“Do you come along, me naughty filthy hussy,
Else I'll put this stick about your back.”

Jim gave a wink, or it might have been a blink,
and he organised a tunnel 'neath the window outside.
Not a body saw them, then they struck foundations.
“Right,” thought Jim, "“ I shall blow a little hole.”

Muffled bang, and there was dust and rubble everywhere,
And Jim was in the cellar of his Susie once more.
How they hugged each other, yet no-one told our mother,
She still has her dreams, yet she's never learnt the truth.