Project Canterbury

Songs and Ballads for Manufacturers

By the Rev. John Mason Neale

London: Joseph Masters, 1850.

IX. The Miners.

A hundred fathoms, one and all, below the earth we dwell,
We never know the daylight's glow, that others love so well:
The ploughman sees the hills and trees, that we can never view;
The very sun that shines on him, on the queen is shining too.

By hard attacks, by flame and axe, we blast and hew our way;
In darkness dim, through caverns grim, we toil from day to day;
The engine roars, the water pours, the pinions creak and strain;
The buckets rise with fresh supplies, and still we work the vein.

The toil we share, the very air whereof we take our breath,
The rocks we hew, the things we view, they all are full of death:
And still we say, as day by day we pass the fiery damp,
His name be blest, and light his rest, that made the Safety Lamp.

A man thinks light of wrong or right, that never sees the sun;
And in the place where darkness dwells, are deeds of darkness done;
The evil jest, the hardened breast,--we know them both,--and worse,
The heart that cares for nothing, and the blasphemy and curse.

Ay! time seems long in passing!--But time will pass away;
Each thing we thought, each deed we wrought, will have its reckoning-day:
The deeds we did in secret shall be shown in all men's sight,
The words we spoke in darkness shall be published in the light!

For He, Who bade the husbandman to plough and sow and reap,
Hath His eyes upon the miner in the lode so dark and deep:
Let us trust in Him at all times,--let us only do His will,
And He, Who heard our cry of late, can guide and guard us still.

God bless the man to whom we owe the thanks of all our lives;
For saving from their bondage our children and our wives:
God bless the man that dared alone the miners' cause to plead;
That bravely came to end our shame, and help us in our need!

Project Canterbury