Constab Ballads (1912)

Fire Practice

PAM-PA-PAM, pam-pa-pam, pam-pa-pam,
Hea’ de fire-bugle blow!
Pam-pa-pam, pam-pa-pam, pam-pa-pam,
Depot boys, tu’n do’n below!

Kunnin’ do’n out o’ de big barrack-room,
Haulin’ de two engine out o’ de shed;
Formin’ up into a long double line,
Wait tell de fus’ wud o’ command is said,

Soon as we hea’ it we start t’rough de gate,
Wid buckets, ledder, an’ engine an’ key:
Joyously happy, with right cheery will
Tramp we away from de big Depôt lea.

Whole line in twos we go marchin’ along,
List’nin’ de tramp-trampin’ tune of our feet,
Side winks a-givin’ our gals as we pass
Merrily, nimbly along White Church Street.

At de shrill soun’ o’ de whistle we halt,
An’ when de engine an’ all is fixed square,
We start a-pumpin’ wid might an’ wid main,
Sendin’ clear water chock up in de air.

Pumpin’ an’ pumpin’ an’ pumpin’ away,
Pumpin’ in earnest, yet pumpin’ wid fun,
Once more again by de whistle we stop,
An’ den de day’s fire-practice is done.

Pam-pa-pam, pam-pa-pam, pam-pa-pam,
Hea’ de fire-bugle blow!
Pam-pa-pam, pam-pa-pam, pam-pa-pam,
Depôt boys, tu’n do’n below!

NOTE. —The first and last stanzas go to the following tune in F, two-four time: 1st bar ; crotchet rest, quaver rest, 2 semiquavers C third space. 2nd bar; quaver C, 2 semiquavers A (the 3rd below), 2 semiquavers F (3rd below again). 3rd bar; crotchet F, quaver rest, 2 semiquavers C (middle C). 4th bar; 2 semiquavers F, 2 semiquavers middle C, crotchet F. 5th bar; same as 1st ; 6th, same as 2nd; 7th, same as 3rd. 8th bar; dotted quaver F, semiquaver F, dotted quaver middle C, semiquaver middle C. 9th bar; minim F.


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This work (Poems by Claude McKay by Claude McKay) is free of known copyright restrictions.