The Tommy Armstrong Society

The Marla Hill Ducks

South Stanley miners houses

NOW if ye'll pae itenshun` a moment or two,
Aa'll tell ye a story aa knaa te be true.
At a small colliery village thea caul Marla Hill,
For te tell the same story there's men livin' still.
It's aboot twenty ducks thit went oot for te play
Upon a aad pasture, one fine summer's day;
But the farmer espied them, and took them wholesale,
And found them fresh lodgings in Marley Hill jail.


Now the pasture they played on was worthless and bare,
There wasn't a blade of green grass growin' there; They
had been trespassing, and couldn't deny it. But, like other
prisoners, they should of been tried. Without judge or jury,
he took them away. He never once asked if they had owt
to say. If he'd given them a chance, they would aal gettin'
bail, But he took them as prisoners te Marley Hill Jail.


Now in Marley Hill prison they hadn't been lang. Till they
asked one another what had they done rang, That they
should be captured and closely confined In a dark dreary
dungeon by the Marley Hill hind. They knew very weel
that they were not at hyeme And te be se' ill-treated they
thowt 'twis a shame; It makes me sorry, te tell ye the tale
Aboot the young prisoners in Marley Hill Jail.


For days they were lock'd up, both hungry and dry. But to
break the door open they thought they would try Wi' their nebs
and their claws they soon made a road through When the hind
was at work wi' his horses and plow. Sixteen of the" twenty got
nicely away. They quacked and they shouted, as much as te
say. "O liberty's sweet," and kept wagging their tails, And that's
how they got oot of Marley Hill Jail.


There was still fower left in this miserable den. The
twenty belonged te three different men, So they met and
they thowt the best thing te de Twas for them te gan
doon, the Land Steward te see. They went, and was
welcomed, he tret them se kind, He laid aal the blame on
the Marley Hill hind. While tellin' their story the Steward
grew pale, When they told him their ducks was in Marley
Hill Jail.


When leavin' the Stweard te them he did say;
"Tell the hind the ducks must be aal set away"
They thowt 'twas aal reet when the Steward they see'd
But the next news, they had te pay ninepence a heed.
There'll be ducks on the pasture when the Steward and hind
Is laid doon belaa, like the rest of mankind;
They'll be sent to a place te weep and te wail.
Both the governor and turn-key of Marley Hill Jail.