#01192
You'll Never Know What Time Will Bring (Leach)
(The Ungrateful Son)

A poor old man of seventy
and his wife of sixty-three,
One day in winter as the snow was falling fast,
They were making for the workhouse
for they were too old to toil,
Yet they knew their span of life was closing fast.

Some loving words were uttered
by the poor old weary lass,
As her eyes that moment drifted on their son,
Who thought for to avoid them
and pass on the other side,
But the old man spoke these words ere he was gone.

"You quite forget your father
now he's feeble, old and grey,
You quite forget your dear old mother, too;
You think yourself above us now
you're worth a lot of gold,
But you'll never know what time will bring to you.

"You quite forget the time, my lad,
you were so dear to us,
When the other five by death were torn away;
When we spent all our wealth on you,
our only living child,
Just to make you what you're in this world today.

"We pinched and saved for you my lad
and tendered thee for years."
Till at last the old man bent beneath the strain,
And the mother, too, with bended head,
while shedding bitter tears
And in saddened tones I heard these words again.

"You quite forget your father
now he's feeble, old and grey,
You quite forget your dear old mother, too;
You think yourself above us now
you're worth a lot of gold,
But you'll never know what time will bring to you.

Their son stood listening for a time,
then uttered with a curse,
"I cannot keep you now," he said,
"I have no time to stay;
I told you what I meant so don't bother me no more."
And with these words he went along his way.

The man and wife drew closer and then,
taking hand in hand,
They trudged along with head and heart bowed down;
And as the workhouse door was closed
upon that old-aged pair,
I think I heard the breeze bring back the song.

"You quite forget your father
now he's feeble, old and grey,
You quite forget your dear old mother, too;
You think yourself above us now
you're worth a lot of gold,
But you'll never know what time will bring to you.

####.... Variant of The Ungrateful Son, written by John Walsh, and copyright, ©1886, by Willis Woodward & Co ....####

Sung by Annie Whalen [b.1913] of Cape Broyle, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was recorded as Poor Old Man Of Seventy by Ed Power (Kitchen Songs: A Selection Of Newfoundland/Irish Music, trk#10, 1999, at Soundscape productions, Grand Falls-Windsor, arranged, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Mark Bishop).

See more songs by Ed Power.


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