Fred W. Leigh(1871-1924) and Charles Collins(1874–1923): My Old Man Said ‘Follow the Van…’

Translated by Timothy Adès

‘i, sequere’ inquit erus ‘pantechnicon, impigra cursu.’
    plaustrum abiit; veterem constat abisse domum.
en sequor, en sequitur passer meus ille canorus,
    sed pigra, sed pigro corde soluta vagor,
nescio qua. vigili suffecto credere noli!
    quae via sit, fallor; fallit adempta domus.
My old man said “Follow the van,
And don’t dilly dally on the way”.
Off went the van wiv me ‘ome packed in it,
I followed on wiv me old cock linnet.
But I dillied and dallied, dallied and dillied
Lost me way and don’t know where to roam.
Well you can’t trust a special like the old time coppers
When you can’t find your way ‘ome.
Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès