'Way back in the late forties,fifties and sixties I was down there wi' the lads who were diggin' coal.Wrote the following mainly in a fit of reminiscence after I had been an "ex-miner" for some years. I was involved in the epic rescue of 116 trapped men from Knockshinnoch Colliery, Sepember 1950. My memories inspired my first composition--
Coal and Afton Glen
" Foregather Bairns, aroond by me,
So I can tell the Tale tae ye
O'when the Afton's bonnie Glen
Was kenn't as hame by minin' men.
" Now tak' heed weans, list' weel tae me,
The dungeon depths ye'll never see;
The gates tae Hell are closed lang syne,
May ye never see anither mine!
"Noo, listen Son, yer Da was born
In earshot o' yon pithead horn,
That blared alike for fire or flood,
Or the spillin' o' a man's life blood.
"Ye, Bonnie Lass, yer Da's lang gone,
depairted in a bonnie dawn
That wasna bonnie where he lay,
Pinned underground'mid smoth'rin'clay.
"Sae weel I mind yon Lammas eve
That gave sae many cause to grieve;
Mud, deadly, slid, and thirteen men
Forever sleep in Afton Glen.
"Sae many mair, my Bonnie Bairns,
Lie sleepin' 'neath memorial cairns;
Amindin' o' the debt ye owe
Tae the Lads who lost their lives below.
"So tak' heed, Bairns, set high yer sight;
Ne'er bow the knee tae belted knight,
And ever bear yer names wi' pride;
You're Minin' stock, frae Afton Side!
"And now lang syne, the Lord be praised,
The final tow at last's been raised;
King Coal's nae mair in Afton Glen
Where forever sleep the Minin' Men!
I use the tune of "the Dying Ploughboy" in occasional performance of this--very similar to the tune for "Barbara Allen'.