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The Miners Lament ©

D major modulating to Em for the Chorus

Dedicated to my father Kenny Edgar, from Burnbank, Hamilton,
who died a very old man at sixty eight.

Thomas Matthew Edgar
Melbourne, Australia
1985

Verse 1
You were barely thirteen years of age,
when you first descended in the cage.
Yes, my boy, we'll make a man of you.
With your hob-nailed boots and your Davey lamp,
you learned to face the cold and damp.
You were the youngest member of the crew.

Verse 2
You were sent for this, and sent for that,
there was some fun just at the start.
They pulled your leg until you felt you'd cry,
in this endless night you learned to live.
You learned to take, and you learned to give,
but mostly, you just slowly learned to die.

Chorus:
Down, down, down she goes,
for a thousand feet or more;
down to where that hard black coal is shining.
Down, down, down she goes,
for a thousand feet or more;
down towards that dungeon far below.

Verse 3
As the years went by, it wore you down.
There was no choice, not in this town.
There was a wife and kids you had to feed.
You sung a lot to ease the pain,
but not so easy to maintain,
with dust choked lungs when they began to bleed.

Chorus:

Verse 4
The Coal Board left you on your own,
with twisted back and lungs of stone.
Oh yes, my boy, they made a man of you.
When you were done before your time,
you lost your pension to the mine
you fought for life, and then you lost that too.

Chorus:


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