With my brush, broom and my rake, with my brush, broom and my rake
See what cleanly work I make
With my hoe, with my hoe, with my hoe and my hoe
And it's sweep, chimney sweep for me
Girls came up to my door I looked black as any Moor
I am constant and true as the day
With a bunch of ribbons gay, with a bunch of ribbons gay
Hanging down by my right knee
And there's no one, and there's no one
And there's no one and no one
And there's no one can call me on high
Arise girls, arise, wipe the sleep from off your eyes
Go and fetch to me some beer that I might swallow
I can climb up to the top, I can climb up to the top
Without a ladder or a rope
And it's there you, and it's there you, and it's there you and there you
And it's there you will hear me “Hullo”
Now here I do stand with my hoe all in my hand
Like some soldier that's on the sentery
I will work for a better sort
And I'll kindly thank them for it
I will work, I will work, I will work and I'll work
And I'll work for none but gentery
I saw this sung in what was, I believe, its first public performance; summer 1977, somewhere in deepest Somerset; and done by the Mark 4 line-up of Maddy Prior, Tim Hart, John Kirkpatrick, Rick Kemp and Martin Carthy. (Nigel Pegrum, drums and woodwinds, was probably not singing here.)
The unaccompanied singing is strong and direct, open-throated; with open-chords and sudden unisons - somehow spanning the generations and evoking a lost era. It is full of excellences from all - but notably underpinned by the solid, crumhorn-like, bass and lead of the incomparable Martin Carthy.
As proud and happy as the chimney sweeps in the Mary Poppins movie.
But the little boys the master sweeps sent to crawl through the narrow places had a bad time of it. Blake wrote two poems called The Chimney Sweeper.
When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry "weep! weep! weep! weep!"
So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep.
@Karl - And one of the most beautiful of lyrics, from Shakespeare:
Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
@Karl - Another things about the boy sweeps. I don't think anybody pretended that using children thus was a Good Thing, or actively wanted it for their own children. Compare with nowadays when far greater numbers - and growing - of children are being mutilated and hormonally poisoned under pretext of the trans agenda - praised, cheered-on and supported by government, media and 'health' professionals - and sometimes even by the unfortunate childrens' parents.
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