Henry's Songbook

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Collier Lass

  • (Trad)

    My name's Polly Parker, I come o'er from Worsley
    My mother and father work down the coal-mine
    Our family is large, we have got seven children
    So I am obliged to work down the same mine
    And as this is my fortune I know you'll feel sorry
    That in such employment my days I must pass
    But I keep up my spirits, I sing and look cheerful
    Although I am but a poor collier lass

    By the greatest of dangers each day I'm surrounded
    I hang in the air by a rope or a chain
    The mine may give in, I may be killed or wounded
    Or perish by damp or the fire of a flame
    But what would you do if it weren't for our labours
    In greatest starvation your days you would pass
    For we would provide you with life's greatest blessing
    So do not despise a poor collier lass

    All the day long you may say we are buried
    Deprived of the light and the warmth of the sun
    And often at night from our beds we are hurried
    The water is in and barefoot we run
    And though we go ragged and black are our faces
    As kind and as free as the best we'll be found
    And our hearts are more wide than your lords' in high places
    Although we're poor colliers that work underground

    I'm now growing up fast, somehow or another
    There's a young collier lad runs strange in my mind
    And in spite of the talking of father and mother
    I think I should marry if he is inclined
    But should he prove surly and will not befriend me
    Another and better chance may come to pass
    And my friends here I know to him will recommend me
    And I'll be no longer a poor collier lass

    As sung by Frankie Armstrong

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1975:] John Harkness, of 121 Church Street, Preston, published a broadside of this in the early 1850s. It's a touching portrait of the kind of women and girls who worked in the coal-pits. Some writers present them as a coarse and brutalized lot, but their songs, and their testimony to the various Commissions of Enquiry of the time, show otherwise. Frankie Armstrong admires the quiet dignity of this song, and suggests that - though different in timbre - it has something of the strength of the songs of Molly Jackson and other women ballad-makers of the American coalfields in the inter-War period. The broadside didn't specify a tune, so one has been fitted by A.L.Lloyd. (A.L.Lloyd, notes Frankie Armstrong, 'Songs and Ballads')

Quelle: England

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aktualisiert am 07.04.2003