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Folk Song Lyrics


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Poverty Knock

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Traditional

Poverty poverty knock, the loom it is saying all day
Poverty poverty knock, gaffer's too skinny to pay
Poverty poverty knock, keepin' one eye on th clock
I know ah can guttle when ah hear me shuttle go poverty poverty knock.

  1. Up ev'ry morning at five,
    It's a wonder that we keep alive.
    Tired and yawning
    On the cold mornin'
    It's back to that dreary old drive.
    Poverty poverty knock, the loom it is saying all day
    Poverty poverty knock, gaffer's too skinny to pay
    Poverty poverty knock, keepin' one eye on th clock
    I know ah can guttle when ah hear me shuttle go poverty poverty knock.
  2. Oh dear, we're goin' to be late;
    Gaffer is stood at the gate.
    We're out o' pocket,
    our wages they're docket
    We'll 'a' to buy grub on the slate.
    Poverty poverty knock, the loom it is saying all day
    Poverty poverty knock, gaffer's too skinny to pay
    Poverty poverty knock, keepin' one eye on th clock
    I know ah can guttle when ah hear me shuttle go poverty poverty knock.
  3. And when our wages they'll bring,
    We're often short of a string;
    And while we are fratchin'
    Wi' gaffer for snatchin',
    We know to his brass he will cling.
    Poverty poverty knock, the loom it is saying all day
    Poverty poverty knock, gaffer's too skinny to pay
    Poverty poverty knock, keepin' one eye on th clock
    I know ah can guttle when ah hear me shuttle go poverty poverty knock.
  4. We've got to wet our own yarn
    By dippin' it into the tarn;
    It's wet and soggy
    And makes us feel groggy,
    And there's mice in that dirty old barn.
    Poverty poverty knock, the loom it is saying all day
    Poverty poverty knock, gaffer's too skinny to pay
    Poverty poverty knock, keepin' one eye on th clock
    I know ah can guttle when ah hear me shuttle go poverty poverty knock.
  5. Oh dear, my poor 'ead it sings;
    I should have woven three strings,
    But threads are breakin'
    And my back is achin',
    Oh dear, I wish I had wings.
    Poverty poverty knock, the loom it is saying all day
    Poverty poverty knock, gaffer's too skinny to pay
    Poverty poverty knock, keepin' one eye on th clock
    I know ah can guttle when ah hear me shuttle go poverty poverty knock.
  6. Sometimes a shuttle flies out
    And gives some poor woman a clout.
    There she lies bleedin',
    But nobody's 'eedin';
    Who's goin' to carry her out?
    Poverty poverty knock, the loom it is saying all day
    Poverty poverty knock, gaffer's too skinny to pay
    Poverty poverty knock, keepin' one eye on th clock
    I know ah can guttle when ah hear me shuttle go poverty poverty knock.
  7. Tuner should tackle my loom
    But he'd rather sit on his bum.
    He's far too busy
    A-courtin' our Lizzie,
    And I cannot get him to come.
    Poverty poverty knock, the loom it is saying all day
    Poverty poverty knock, gaffer's too skinny to pay
    Poverty poverty knock, keepin' one eye on th clock
    I know ah can guttle when ah hear me shuttle go poverty poverty knock.
  8. Lizzie is so easy led,
    I think that he takes her to bed,
    She always was skinny,
    Now look at her pinny,
    It's just about time they was wed.
    Poverty poverty knock, the loom it is saying all day
    Poverty poverty knock, gaffer's too skinny to pay
    Poverty poverty knock, keepin' one eye on th clock
    I know ah can guttle when ah hear me shuttle go poverty poverty knock.

A good example of the work song (telling the tale of what it is like in the Mills) and a counting song used in many trades and industries where a rhythm had to be kept up during work. The trawlers used them to synchronise the hauling-in of the great nets and in this case if the rhythm was lost, often as not so was a finger or a hand when a shuttle came across at the wrong time!.