Digital Tradition Mirror

Down, Down, Down

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Down, Down, Down

With your kind attention a song I will trill,
All ye who must toil with the pick and the drill,
And sweat for your bread in that hole at Oak Hill,
That goes down, down, down.

"When I was a boy," said my daddy to me,
"Stay out of Oak Hill, take my warnin'," said he,
Or with dust you'll be choked and a pauper you'll be,
Broken down, down, down."

But I went to Oak Hill and I asked for a job,
A mule for to drive or a gangway to rob;
The boss said, "Come out, Bill, and follow the mob
That goes down, down, down."

The lampman he squints through the windie at me,
"What's your name? What's your age?  What's your number?" says he
"Bill Keating; I'm thirty; my check's twenty-three;
Mark that down, down, down."

I asked them what tools would I need in the place.
"Very few," said the boss with a grin on his face;
"One number six shovel and darn little space
While you're down, down, down."

With a note from the boss to the shaft I made haste,
Saluted the topman, in line took my place;
Sayin', "Gimme a cage, for I've no time to waste,
Let me down, down, down."

"All aboard for the bottom !" the topman did yell;
We stepped on the cage, and he gave her the bell.
Then from under our feet like a bat out of --- well,
We went down, down, down.

I groped in the gangway; they gave me a scoop.
The "out" was just fired, muck was heaped to the roof.
I stooped and I scooped till my back looped the loop,
Stoopin' down, down, down."

You could look at the rib or the face or the top,
Ne'er a sign of a laggin' or slab or of prop;
Some day I expect that old mountain to drop _
And come down, down, down.

Last pay day my buddy he cussed and he swore,
In fact it's enough to make any man sore,
When your wife drags your wages all out in the store,
While you're down, down, down.

From Pennsylvania Folksongs and Ballads, Korson

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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