A shantyman's life is a wearisome one
Though some say it's free from care.
It's the ringing of the axe from morning until night
In the middle of the forest drear.
It's sleeping all night in our bunks without cheer
While the cold wintry winds do blow.
And as soon as the morning star does appear
To the wild woods we must go.
Transported as we are from the maiden so fair
To the banks of some lonely stream.
Where the wolves and the owls with their terrifying howls,
Disturb our nightly dreams.
When spring it does come in double hardships then begins,
And the waters are piercing cold;
Dripping wet are all our clothes and our limbs they are half froze'
And our peavies we scarce can hold.
The rocky shores and sands give employment to all hands
Our well-banded raft to steer;
Ev'ry rapid that we run, we think it is but fun
We are free form all slavish fear.
Now rafting I'll give o'er and I'll anchor safe on shore
And there live a diff'rent life;
No more I'll wish to roam, but contented stay at home
With a pretty little smiling wife.