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Down in a Coal Mine, song lyrics

Song: Down in a Coal Mine
Lyrics: J. B. Geoghegan(1)(2)

Music: J. B. Geoghegan(1)(2)
Year: 1872(1)
Country: England

I am a jovial collier(3) lad, and blithe as blithe can be,
For let the times be good or bad they're all the same to me;
'Tis little of the world I know and care less for its ways,
For where the dog star never glows, I wear away my days.

Down in a coal mine underneath the ground,
Where a gleam of sunshine never can be found;
Digging dusky diamonds all the season round,
Down in a coal mine underneath the ground.

My hands are horny hard and black, with working in the vein,
And like the clothes upon my back my speech is rough and plain;
Well if I stumble with my tongue, I've one excuse to say,
'Tis not the colliers heart that's wrong. 'Tis th' head that goes astray.
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At ev'ry shift be't soon or late, I haste my bread to earn,
And anxiously my kindred wait and watch for my return;
For Death that levels all alike whate'er their rank may be,
A mid the fire and damp may strike, and fling his darts at me.


How little do the great ones care, who sit at home secure,
What hidden dangers colliers dare, what hardships they endure;
The very fires their manions boast to cheer themselves and wives,
Mayhap were kindled at the cost, of jovial colliers lives.
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Then cheer up lads and make ye much, of ev'ry joy ye can,
But let your mirth be always such as best becomes a man;
How ever Fortune turns about we'll still be jovial souls,
For what would England be without, the lads that look for coals.



1 - Transcribed from the sheet music published by W. H. Ewald & Brothers, 1386 Newark Avenue, jersey City, NJ, USA.

2 - Joseph Bryan Geoghegan (1816 - 1889), born in Salford, UK and died in Bolton was a prolific songwriter and a music hall performer and manager.

3 - A "collier" is a coal miner (or also a ship carrying coal).