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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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THE SHANTY BOY

"AS I WALKED OUT ONE EVENING, JUST AS THE SUN WENT DOWN.
I CARELESSLY DID RAMBLE TILL I CAME TO SAGINAW TOWN.
I HEARD TWO GIRLS CONVERSING, AS SLOWLY I PASSED THEM BY;
ONE SAID SHE LOVED A FARMER'S SON, AND THE OTHER A SHANTY
BOY.
"THE ONE THAT LOVED THE FARMER'S SON, THESE WORDS I HEARD
HER SAY,
'THE REASON WHY I LOVE HIM IS AT HOME WITH ME HE'LL STAY;
HE'LL STAY AT HOME ALL WINTER, TO THE WOODS HE WILL NOT GO,
AND WHEN THE SPRINGTIME COMES AGAIN, HIS LANDS HE'LL
PLOW AND SOW.'
'I SHALL ALWAYS PRAISE MY SHANTY BOY WHO GOES TO THE
WOODS IN THE FALL,
HE IS BOTH STOUT AND HEARTY AND FIT TO STAND A SQUALL;
WITH PLEASURE I WILL GREET HIM IN THE SPRING WHEN
HE COMES DOWN.
HIS MONEY ON ME HE'LL SPEND IT FREE WHEN YOUR MOSSBACK
HE HAS NONE.'
HOW CAN YOU PRAISE YOUR SHANTY BOY WHO TO THE WOODS
DOES GO?
HE'S ORDERED OUT BEFORE DAYLIGHT TO FACE THE FROST AND SNOW,
WHILE HAPPY AND CONTENTED MY FARMER'S SON WILL LIE,
SOFT TALES OF LOVE HE'LL TELL TO ME WHILE THE STORMS
ARE BLOWING BY.'
'I NEVER CAN STAND THAT SOFT TALK,' THE OTHER GIRL DID SAY,
'THE MOST OF THEM THEY ARE SO GREEN THE COWS COULD EAT
THEM FOR HAY;
HOW EASY IT IS TO KNOW THEM WHEN THEY COME INTO TOWN,
THE SMALL BOY SHOUTING AFTER THEM, "MOSSBACK, HOW COME
YOU DOWN?'
'WHAT I'VE SAID UNKIND OF YOUR SHANTY BOY, I DO NOT
MEAN IT SO,
AND IF EVER I MEET WITH ONE OF THEM ALONG WITH HIM
I'LL GO,
AND LEAVE MY MOSSBACK FARMERS' SON TO PLOUGH AND PLANT
HIS FARM.
WHILE MY SHANTY BOY SO BOLD AND FREE WILL SAVE ME FROM
ALL HARM.

Submitter comment: THIS SONG COMES FROM NOT AN EDUCATED PERSON BUT FROM
THE HEART OF A LUMBERING CREW. IT FITS THE MENTALITY
OF THE AVERAGE LOGGING CREW.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAGINAW

Keyword(s): LOGGING SONGS ; SHANTY BOY

James Callow Keyword(s): CONTRASTED OCCUPATIONS

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Ballad Epic

Date learned: 03-04-1990

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