Springhill Mine Disaster (1891)

Mrs. Ruth Metcalfe of Louisburg and Gabarus in Cape Breton sang this for folklore collector Helen Creighton.  Metcalfe said that she learned this song from local miners and “regrets that she cannot recall more words.” Metcalfe explained that the song would probably go on to tell what happened after the explosion in the No. 3 board off the No. 7 balance in the No. 1 mine in Springhill.

Sources: Creighton, Helen. 1962.  Maritime Folk Songs. Toronto: Ryerson Press, p 185.

A midi file of the tune, together with lyrics and musical notation, can be found here.



Hark, the horn blows loud and long,
There is something wrong I fear,
There’s mourning in the dismal dells
Keeps sounding in my ear,
Dark phantoms rise before my eyes,
News comes, the vision’s fled,
One hundred three and twenty of our
Spring hill miners dead.

Killed in the bowels of the earth
Where none could hear their cries,
Or listen to a last request
Nor close their dying eyes.

Sources for Music:

Creighton, Helen. 1962.  Maritime Folk Songs. Toronto: Ryerson Press, p 185.

O’Donnell, John. 1992. And Now the Fields are Green. Sydney: University College of Cape Breton Press, p 135.

Springhill Mine Disaster (1891).  Traditional & Folk Songs: Sheet Music & Mandolin Tabs.

Trad – Springhill Mine Disaster (1891) Sheet Music.  8Notes.com.

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