Keelmen o' the Tyne


Come list ye Sandgate, skippers a',
Aw'll sing a bonny sang,
For aw's a keelmen¹ ov the Tyne,
An' niver yet gat wrung.
Aw've travelled east-that's doon to Sheeles-
Frae Blaydon i' the west.,
But man Newcassel is th' pleyce, .
Aw elways liked the best.
Lasses there is blythe an' fair ;
Wor lads is trim an' neet;
Just see them dance the Keelroy, lads ! [Note 539.1]
Noo, isn't it a treat?
The furrin' fules, like paddick stuils,
On carpets green may shine
Aw'll back, for reet doon jig an' fight,
The keelmen o' wor Tyne.

The breeze may blaw, wiv hail an' snaw-
The keelman is a rock !
An ivery inch o' grund lie kens,
As cliver as a clock.
He steers his keel se fast and weel,.
That steamers puff an' blaw,
When wind an' tide is on his side,
By gox, he beats them a' ! [Note 539.3]
Strang he'll pull like ony bull ;
His pluck can niver fail ;
He'll fyece the breeze,.on waves like seas,
Wiv not a - cloot¹ o' sail.
When oot ov breeth he myeks the steeth¹,
He'll nowther twist nor twine :
There's nyen hes"better heart an' hand,
Than keelmen o' wor Tyne !

Some dandy² folks may crack their jokes,
An' ca' us skippers daft ;
They often feel wor blades ov steel
Put iv a horny haft.
We divent jaw aboot the law-
We're honest bodies' bairns;
The thief that puts his heed iv tow¹,
A gallows schuilin' lairns.
Frank an' free an' jenick¹ tee,
We eat the breed we buy ;
We drop a croon¹ to marrows¹ doon,
An' help wor neebours nigh.
If ivery man wad tyek wor plan, -
Poor folk wad manege fine;
They'd just be happy as us noo
The keelmen ov wor Tyne.

We'r niver slaw. to strike a blaw,
When foes wor shores invade;
Ther' sha'nit yen. biv tongue or pen,
Mislist wor toon or trade.
Wor keels we'll fix as stiff_as_bricks¹,
Let Hudson¹ de his warst ; - [Note 539.2]
We'll heed the myen-we'll win agyen-
Us skippers mun be furst !
Aw wor lives we'll keep wor wives
An' bairnies tee as weel :
Nowt sall hurt or spoil 'the' sport,
When we gan tiv the keel.
O' Sunday dres'd iv a' ther best,
We a' cal turn oot fine.;
So let us drink, "Wor noble sells,
The keelmen o' the Tyne !"


Sources (texts, music) & Publishing data

Source Title Keelmen o' the Tyne
Bargery Number 539
Roud Not in the Roud Index
Earliest Date 1841
Evidence for Earliest Date Hudson began the consolidation of railway companies around Newcastle (See Note 539.2)
Latest Date 1849
Evidence for Latest Date Publication date
Comments on Song This seems to be a different song to another of the same name Roud V21086 beginning "As aw cam 'tother neet frea Sunderland Hoose"
Source of Text Songs of the bards of the Tyne; or, a choice selection of original songs, chiefly in the Newcastle dialect. pp79-81 Folk Archive Resource North East accessed 30Apr20
Author Robson, Joseph Philip (1808 - 1870)
Music (Given or Suggested) Given as "The Orange. and the Blue"
Source of Music J.Moore,Tyneside,1841. Traditional tune Archive accessed 30Apr20
Printer or Publisher P. France & Co.
Where Printed Newcastle
Other Imprints No other imprints found

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