Judy Cook, Folksinger

Shingling the Rum Sellers Roof

As Sung By Judy Cook

One night a poor wretch at a wayside saloon
Who was lingering half-drunken about
Heard the voice of the rumseller’s wife as she said,
“Go put yonder drunken fool out!”
The rumseller, smiling, he made this reply
In a voice that would brook no reproof,
“Let him stay if he wants, he is doing no harm,
The fellow is shingling our roof.”

Are you shingling the rumseller’s roof?
Are you shingling the rumseller’s roof?
While your own house decays,
Are you spending your days
Shingling the rumseller’s roof?

The months passed by and he did not return
The rumseller noted with pain
And seeking him out with hospitable air
He asked his old friend to explain.
“You want me to visit, again, your saloon.
And you ask why I linger aloof?
With thanks for your kindness, this answer I give:
It’s because I was shingling your roof.”

All you who are shingling the rumseller’s roof
And robbing yourselves and your own,
Remember the winter of life draweth nigh
And soon will the summer have flown.
It will be no avail in the day of God’s wrath
To offer high heaven the proof
That your own house is desolate only because
You shingled the rumseller’s roof.

And woe to the man with the rumseller’s heart
Who covers himself at the cost
Of mankind and womankind, marred and despoiled;
Whose gain is that others are lost.
On the day that his roof about him shall fall
And the weight of his sins bear the proof,
The lost he has ruined shall crush him and cry,
“We shingled the rumseller’s roof!”