Five O'Clock in the Morning

At five in the morning the miner doth rise
To go to his dangerous labour
His bottle and bag around his neck he doth hang
And calls on his next door neighbour

His wife and his children he kissed them in bed
And bid them a hearty good morning
Be careful dear husband the wife often said
And what time will you be returning?

Then look to our children the miner replied
The hour is uncertain for returning
To work I must go to earn you some bread
I must stay in the pit until morning

With their picks drills and scrapers they descend the deep shaft
With their lamps so dimly burning
Through the bowels of the Earth and the place of his birth
And to wait the fireman¹ returning

Alright said the fireman the miner goes in
And strips off his clothes to his breeches
And the pick it doth swing as the miner doth sing
As he shoots the black coal down to pieces

Then a hole he will drill some shot he'll put,
Which shoot to thrill into his neighbour
But to get pure air into the place of his birth
And my keys to the poor miner's labour

At 11 in the morning the work they begin
The miners are soon in full working;
Some picking some drilling some blasting the rocks
And others the wagons are filling

The jig¹ flies with speed down the steep road,
The horse to the shaft it will take them;
They put in the cage and with a loud knock
A lift with the engine will take them

Then look to the danger the miner is in
As he hangs in the air night and morning
The rope it may break he in pieces be dashed
And his wife left at home in grief mourning

An accident of gas sometimes will take place
That gives the poor miner no warning;
A fall from the roof sometimes causes death
And his children his absence be morning

Come all you coal miners who here these few lines
Come look to the old and the feeble
The wife and the children you know they want bread
To work you know they are not able

Some have nimble limbs Into Darkness are doomed
Then stretch forth your hand like a brother
Through the bowels of the Earth where thousands meet death
It's your duty to help one another