Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Coorie Doon - Workday Wednesday

 And a second, more lullaby-like version:

I have coal mining ancestors on both sides of my family.
I was thinking of them today. 

In this lullaby, "coorie" means to "cuddle" or "crouch" and "doon"
means "down."  Matt McGinn, the composer and lyricist, likens the
image of a child falling into the darkness of sleep to the father
going down to the darkness of the mine.

     A Miner's Lullaby (Coorie Doon)
     by Matt McGinn

         Coorie doon, Coorie doon, Coorie Doon, my darling,
         Coorie doon the day.
         Coorie doon, Coorie doon, Coorie Doon, my darling,
         Coorie doon the day.

     Lie doon, my dear, and in your ear,
     To help you close your eye,
     I'll sing a song, a slumber song,
     A miner's lullaby.

     Your daddy's doon the mine, my darling,
     Doon in the Curbly Main,
     Your daddy's howkin' coal, my darling,
     For his ain wee wean.

     There's darkness doon the mine my darling,
     Darkness, dust and damp,
     But we must have oor heat, oor light,
     Oor fire and our lamp.

     Your daddy coories doon, my darling,
     Doon in a three foot seam,
     So you can coorie doon my darling,
     Coorie doon and dream.



  1. Can't say that I ever heard that one! What an interesting comparison.

    Happy New Year, Nancy!

    1. It was new to me, too, Wendy. I really don't know how the wives and mothers kept from worrying about mine fires and collapses while their husbands and sons were in the mines. And then to sing a lullaby to the baby....

  2. It seems like such a melancholy song. Mining seems such a dangerous, dark job.

    1. Maybe it was purposefully slow to help put the baby to sleep. But, of course, there's really no cheer in the words except that the father is providing for his family.

  3. What an interesting lullaby! We also have miners in the family. Kerry's Scottish ancestors (two families that intermarried) were coal miners. When they joined the church and emigrated they stopped off in Pennsylvania to work in the mines and earn enough money to continue to Utah. Kerry's grandfather was a coal miner in southern Utah and his father for a time. My grandfather was also a miner until my great-grandfather scraped up enough money to send him to railroad school where he became a telegrapher. I agree with Brenna. It must have been a dark, dangerous job. Maybe the women sang it purposefully because it is kind of melancholy and helped express their feelings. Thanks for prompting me to think about these ancestors today.

    1. Did Kerry's ancestors stop on the west side of PA or the east side? On the east side they would have mined anthracite, on the west, bituminous. My Pennsylvania ancestors mined bituminous coal. It's good your ancestors, and Kerry's, too, were able to get out of mining. We need the coal but it is such dangerous work.

      The lullaby is not an old one. The composer was born in1928 and died in 1977, so it's possible that few mothers have actually sung the song to their babies as a lullaby. There's a more lullaby-like version sung at

      Thanks for sharing about your and Kerry's ancestors, Kathleen. I hope you have good thoughts about them.


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