The Ballad of Springhill

Southeast Region

Coal mining is an important industry in the Appalachian Mountains .  It is a very dangerous occupation.  Although this song was written about a mine explosion in Nova Scotia , Canada, the events of the ballad mirror disasters of coal mines in the U.S.

Lyrics:

1.  In the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia
     Down in the dark of the
Cumberland Mine,
     There’s blood on the coal and the miners lie
     In the roads that never saw sun nor sky,
     Roads that never saw sun nor sky.

2.  In the town of Springhill you don’t sleep easy
     Often the earth will tremble and roll,
     When the earth is restless miners die,
     Bone and blood is the price of coal.
     Bone and blood is the price of coal.

3.  In the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia
     Late in the year of fifty-eight,
     Day still comes and the sun still shines
     But it’s dark as the grave in the Cumberland Mine,
     Dark as the grave in the Cumberland Mine.

4.  Down at the coal face, miners working,
     Rattle of the belt and the cutter’s blade,
     Rumble of rock and the walls close ‘round
     The living and the dead men two miles down,
     Living and the dead men two miles down.

5.  Twelve men lay two miles from the pitshaft,
     Twelve men lay in the dark and sang,
     Long hot days in the miners’ tomb,
     It was three feet high and a hundred long,
     Three feet high and a hundred long.

6.  Three days passed and the lamps gave out,
     And Caleb Rushton he up and said,
     “There’s no more water, nor light, nor bread,
     So we’ll live on songs and hope instead,
     Live on songs and hope instead.”

7.  Listen for the shouts of the bareface miners,
     Listen through the rubble for a rescue team,
     Six hundred feet of coal and slag,
     Hope imprisoned in a three foot seam,
     Hope imprisoned in a three foot seam.

8.  Eight days passed and some were rescued
     Leaving the dead to lie alone,
     Through all their lives they dug a grave,
     Two miles of earth for a marking stone,
     Two miles of earth for a marking stone.

Return to Southeast Region Lyrics Sheet Finale File MIDI 
File

With thanks to Sharon Ogorzalek
Created: July 2005, Last Updated: 07/28/10
http://OutsideTheBox93.org