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Lyr Add: Off to the Diggings (Australia)

Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Nov 10 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,Gerry 14 Nov 10 - 05:17 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Nov 10 - 02:52 PM
Bob Bolton 14 Nov 10 - 05:07 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Nov 10 - 05:24 PM
Bob Bolton 14 Nov 10 - 05:34 PM
Jim Dixon 17 Nov 10 - 12:51 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: OFF TO THE DIGGINGS (Australia)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 06:09 PM

OFF TO THE DIGGINGS

Away to the diggings, in thousands they go,
The rich and the poor, the high and the low,
The lame and the lazy, the big folks and small,
One leg or two legs or no legs at all.
There is Indiamen, Steamers and Figates galore,
And fishing smacks sailing from old Scotland's shore,
With colliers and billy boys every day,-
To Australia to dig up the treasures, huzza!

Chorus
We are off to the diggings, old Scotland good bye,
Tears larger than mountains fall down from each eye;
We are off to the diggings from every street,
We are off to the diggings, our fortune to seek.

2
We are off to the diggings in thousands to see
Mutton dumplings and sausages grow on a tree,
And there we shall dig up, oh losh! what a treat,
Lumps of gold larger than big Arthur's seat.
It's there we can purchase lambs, tigers and goats,
A sheep for a penny, a bull for a groat,
Get your spoons and your dishes, for rarely you'll dine
With lots of the ladies from famous Leith Wynd.
3
We are off to the diggings from Britannia's shore,
Adieu, bonnie Scotland, we'll see you no more,
Where women, dear women, are wanted, 'tis said,
Though ninety, and never a tooth in their head,
They will do for Australia, to please any man,
To increase, multiply and inhabit the land;
You will wear golden petticoats, ear-rings and rings,
Golden bustles and bonnets, and all other things.
4
We're off to the diggings, don't loiter behind,
The merchant, the pauper, the halt and the blind,
And there are some deceivers, some villains, I say,
Who seduce the fair damsels and then run away;
They rob them, deceive them, and cheat them, and then-
Oh! Ladies beware of false-hearted men,
For when they deceive you they leave you to sigh,
And be off to the diggings to sing lullaby.
5
We are off to the diggings, goodbye, in a trice,
Mrs. Chisholm will give all the females advice,
And tell them, when they reach Australia's shore,
Where to find a good husband who will them adore;
Who will love them, and feed them,and kill 'em, alack!
And if that will not do, they can have a black!
Of ladies from here to the diggings are gone
Nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-one.
6
We are off to the diggings to banish all strife,
Farmer Chubb, his daughter, his son, his wife,
Johnny Wopstraw, the milkmaid, the pigs and the cows,
The waggons, the horses, the harrows and ploughs,
The goose and the donkey, the fields and the barns,
The stables, the haystacks, the houses and farm,
The tailor, the sleeve-board, the cobbler and stall,
With purses nine times as big as the Assembly Hall.
7
We are off to the diggings, the ship sails to day,
Where there's houses and land and no taxes to pay,
And here you may dig up, and that is no lark,
Some nuggets of gold that would fill Queen's Park.
We are off to the diggings, our fortune is made,
Where everyone for their labour is paid,
Where there's no union houses, but cheap beef and bread,
And the sun brightly shines on both sides of the hedge.

J. Scott, Pittenweem, sold by J. Wood, Edinburgh. Bodleian Collection, Firth c.16(397). No date; 19th C.

Could not find this posted.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Off to the Diggings (Australia)
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 05:17 AM

Very nicely recorded by Gordon McIntyre and Kate Delaney on their CD, Caledonia Dreaming. They call it The Diggins. It being a folk song and all, their version's a bit different. They use as a chorus what's given above as the last 4 lines of the 1st stanza: There's Indiamen steamers and frigates galore/Clippers sailing from Scotland's shore/Cobblers and billy boys every day/We're bound for Australia to dig the clay.

I imagine "figates" is someone's typo.


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Subject: fragment: Merrily We Ply the Pick & Spade
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 02:52 PM

"figates" my failure at proof-reading; frigates in the broadside.

I doubt that this is a folksong; probably by a shilling-a-song writer for the song sheet printers.

Preserved on the same sheet is another song about the diggings in Australia, also written by someone who has never lifted a shovel or pick;

MERRILY WE PLY THE PICK & SPADE
H. Such, printer, London.

Hurrah! hurrah! for the yellow gold,
Hurrah! for the sunny land,
Teaming with treasures still untold,
That wait for the miner's hand:
Who'd barter or buy in the busy marts-
Of the over-peopled town.
Plotting and plodding till youth departs,
And in age still breaking down.

Chorus
Then merrily ply the pick and spade,
And rock the cradle fast,
Here we pursue no idle trade,
For we may be rich at last.

Two more verses of the same sort of drivel.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Off to the Diggings (Australia)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 05:07 PM

G'day Q & Gerry,

Q: your are undoubtedly right in the provenance of the song, almost certainly first seeing light of day on a sheet hawked on the London streets.

Gerry has has a point in claiming a drift to "folk song' status when we find changes in later versions ... but we can't be too positive unless we have evidence of when and where the changes occurred. I guess that we should ask Kate whether she or Gordon made changes to a printed text ... or whether some later form of the text was found in circulation in Australia.

I should also check the late Ron Edwards' two volumes of photocopies of 'Australian / Colonial'-related broadsides and broadsheets ("The Convict Maid" and "The Transport's Lament" - photocopied from the main British collections under an Australia Council grant, back in the 1980s / 1990s.

The first of these will be of interest to one of my Monday Night Sessioners who is putting together a body of work relating to female immigration ... and the notorious "Female Factories" of Sydney and Hobart ... work-houses, originally for newly arrived female convicts ... but, increasingly holding spaces for "refractory female convicts"!

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Off to the Diggings (Australia)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 05:24 PM

Much better material should be available in Australia.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Off to the Diggings (Australia)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 05:34 PM

G'day again Q,

You are right ... in terms of true 'folk songs' (however we define them ...) but there is value in looking at such source documents ... even if only as a contrast to what the 'folk' subsequently wrought!

Regard(les)s,

Bob


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GOLD MINERS
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 12:51 PM

From The Book of Modern Songs By Joseph Edwards Carpenter (London: G. Routledge & Co., 1858), page 117:


THE GOLD MINERS.
Words, J. E. Carpenter. Music, E. L. Hime.

1. Hurrah! hurrah! for the yellow gold,
Hurrah! for the sunny land,
Teeming with treasures still untold,
That wait for the miner's hand:
Who'd barter or buy in the busy marts
Of the over-peopled town,
Plotting and plodding till youth departs,
And in age still breaking down.

CHORUS: Then merrily ply the pick and spade,
And rock the cradle fast;
Here we pursue no idle trade,
For we may be rich at last.

2. Hurrah! hurrah! for the countless heaps,
For the nuggets and the dust;
The rich red gold in the mountain sleeps,
But yield to our strength it must.
What though it hath lain in stream and plain,
For ages that none can scan;
The earth but yields up her wealth again,
Subdued by her master?man.

3. Hurrah! hurrah! for the bright red gold,
Yet not for itself we sing;
For are not its blessings still untold,
And the comforts it may bring?
The rich alone they have gold to spare,
But he is poor indeed
Who'd not with his fellow-creatures share
In the hour of his care and need.


[In the table of contents to this book, it says the publisher of THE GOLD MINERS is J. Williams.]


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