“The River-Driver's Lament (I Am a River Driver)”


I went lumbering at sixteen and courted a pretty girl who caused me to roam. "Sure I'm a river driver and I'm far away from home." "Now I'm old and feeble and in my sickness lie Just wrap me up in my shanty blankets and lie me down to die."


Floating verses include adaptations of "I'll eat when I'm hungry", "Build me a castle" and "I'm ... and a long way from home" and "wrap me up in my shanty blankets." - BS

Fowke's very short text ("I'll eat when I'm hungry and drink when I'm dry; If the water don't drown me I'll live till I die, If the water don't drown me while over it I roam, For I am a river driver and far away from home") could be just a lumberjack adaption of "Rye Whiskey," but it's close enough to Peacock to allow us to tentatively lump them. - RBW


  1. Peacock, pp. 759-760, "The River Driver's Lament" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Fowke-Lumbering #59, "I Am a River Driver" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
  3. Roud #4564
  4. BI, FowL69


Author: unknown
Earliest date: As an entity, 1959 (Peacock); Fowke's fragment dates to 1958
Found in: Canada(Newf,Ont)