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Ballad Of Denshaw Mill

Barclay James Harvest
Language: English


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Album: Caught In The Light (1993)

Written by John Lees, this song is based on a Saddleworth legend which has its basis in fact. Denshaw Mill was a woollen mill which operated until the late 1880s, and was already derelict by the time of the first war, when the events described in the song took place. The line "a hole as rotten as ever fouled the green earth" is from a verse by local poet Ammon Wrigley, and the area is part of the Friarmere division of Saddleworth, known locally as the Darkside. (from www.bjharvest.co.uk)
On a cold starry night in the winter time
Stood three old men by a mill pond in the moonlight
And they spoke of their young men in the front line
How they all wished them home for the Christmas time
As they spoke from the east came a bright light
And it sparkled like pure gold in their sad eyes
And an angel came down on Denshaw Mill
Spreading her light all around on the Darkside
Are you blind can you not see
Do you think that it's me who deceives?
He promised to be there if you believe, to carry you home

A hole as rotten as ever fouled the green earth
Was this old mill in its day, spoke the angel
Yet there's many a poor boy in foreign climes
Who would think this old mill now a palace fine

As she spoke from the mill there came laughter
Came the warm sounds of their young men
like a summer breeze
And they rose in the night like fire bright
Spreading their light all around on the Darkside

Are you blind can you not see
Do you think that it's me who deceives?
He promised to be there if you believe, to carry you home

No-one knows what became of the bonny lads
Posted missing, lost in action in a far land
Fools and heroes, gallant men, now side by side
With the old men who believed they came home that night
To the warmth of their homes at Christmas time
To the peace of their homes at Christmas time

Contributed by Marcia - 2008/6/30 - 15:00



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