DOWN IN A COAL MINE
I am a jovial collier, as jovial as can be,
But if the trade is very bad it means a lot to me.
And if I stumble with my tongue, I've one excuse to say:
It's not the collier's heart that's wrong, it's the head that goes away.
How bravely all them collier lads they toil beneath the ground,
Digging for the coal as the days and night goes round,
And anxiously their fam'lies wait; how often it is said,
You never know by nightfall how many may be dead.
How little do the rich men care who sit at home secure,
What dangers all the colliers dare, and hardships they endure,
The very fires they have at home to cheer them and their wives
Perhaps were kindled at the cost of jovial colliers' lives.
CHORUS: Down in a coal mine underneath the ground,
There a gleam of sunshine is never to be found,
Digging dusky diamonds all the season round,
Down in the coal mine, underneath the ground.
Source: A. L. Lloyd, 'Come All Ye Bold Miners', who states:
"Text is part from George Bailey, ex-miner, of Doncaster. Melody and missing fragments from James Hedley, of Aberavon. A well-known coal-miners' ballad, originally a stage song composed by J. B. Goeghegan in 1872. See G. Korson, 'Minstrels of the Mine Patch' (Univ. Penn. Press, 1938). The melody derives from an Irish Song: The Roving Journeyman."
Karl Dallas, in 'One Hundred Songs of Toil' gives the same text, but adds:
"It is often sung to the tune of The roving journeyman but I prefer the slower, more melodramatic melody noted down by George Korson."
Both Lloyd and Dallas supply the respective tunes.