Menu Close

Cheerful Miner’s Song and the Miner’s Lullaby from “Johnny”

From the play/libretto “Johnny!” by Katherine Ashe

Cheerful Miner’s Song

The rumble, the grumble, the tremble of the earth,
as she heaves with a groan an’ a sigh;
she breaks loose from the deep
with a cry, lettin’ go, spillin’ rock,
heavin’ coal, broken coal,
boulders drop, stone walls fold,
ceilings bursts with a roll
and a sigh and a tremble
that makes a man crumble.
But the earth,
she don’t die. She gives birth.

Miner’s Lullaby

(Johnny recalls a kindly miner, on his first day in the mine as a door boy, age 6)

Johnny! (Festival Play, cast and chorus)
Johnny! (Festival Play, cast and chorus)

Yuh ain’t got a lunch. Here, have a bit o’ mine.
An’ don’t yuh go t’ sleep, little nipper.
Many was the nipper fell asleep
An’ met his Maker
When the train come rollin’ through…
Smell o’ coal lulls yer sense
Stay awake, keep defense,
‘Cause the mine’s breath’ll swallow yuh live.
Close yer eyes an’ yer dead,
Keep that in yer head.
Stay awake, little nipper, stay awake.
‘N’ when y’ hear the whistle blow
Up above yuh can go.
One chance less the mine has t’ claim yuh.
Yer day’s work is done,
Go back like we come.
Stay awake, little nipper, stay awake.