The Boatman's Cure

My friend and neighbor George Ward wrote The Boatman's Cure, based on research he did on the history of the "bateau," the vessel used along the Mohawk River for exploration and trade in the 18th century.

Poling up the river in a three-hand boat,
Too deep to carry, too shallow to float,
Too deep to carry, too shallow to float.
     If it doesn't lift your spirits it'll leave you numb
     Best cure for the river is a bottle of rum,
     Best cure for the river is a bottle of rum.

Listen to the forwarder struttin' on the quay,
He's quick to tell the boatman how the river will be.
     …Best cure for the forwarder…

Workin' up the rift the current swung her round,
Bedbugs swum ashore, poor boatman nearly got drowned.
     …Best cure for bedbugs…

Sweatin' in the heat of day, chillin' in the rain,
Sleepin' in the open got the ague again.
     …Best cure for the ague…

Frostbite in November took my toes away,
Devil take the blackfly 'bout the last week in May.
     …Best cure for the blackfly…

Sweet Annie from Schenectady, she stole my heart,
Her face is in the firelight, the river sings her part.
     …Best cure for a woman…

Got a callus on my shoulder and my hands are sore,
Sweetest sight some thirsty frontier girl ever saw.
     …Best cure for wisdom…

I fought all through this wilderness in '59
Still fancy I see shadows moving most of the time.
     …Best cure for shadows…

Morning comes up early for a fast bateau,
Shoulder to the setting pole, you push off and go.
     …But there ain't no cure for living in a bottle of rum.

© Golden Hind Music