Lamentation of Jane Sneddon

sneddonlamentFollowing the 1877 pit explosion, Blantyre descended into a pit of grief and sorrow for many months after. The tragedy of the mining disaster which saw over 200 men and boys from the village lose their lives , touched almost every family. The following is a ballad, the music now lost, but words preserved from 1877.


For the Loss of her Lover, JOHN MURRAY, who lost his life at the late disaster at High Blantyre.

On the Clyde’s bonny banks ,as I lately did wander,
Near the village of Blantyre I chanced for to rove;
I Saw a young female dressed in deep mourning,
She sadly lamented the fate of her lover.
I stepped up to her, and my poor woman
Pray tell me the cause of your sorrow and woe;
I hear you laments the fate of some young man,
His name, and what happened, I’d like for to know.

While sobbing and fighiug. at length she made answer,
John Murphy, kind sir, is my true lover’s name
Twenty-one years of age, and of a mild. good behaviour,
For to work in the mines of High Blantyre he came.
The twenty second of October I long will remember,
In health and in strength to his labour go;
On that fatal morning, without one women’s warning,
Twa hundred and ten there in death did lie low.

Now widows and orphans, for husbands and fathers,
In Stonefield and Blantyre in hundreds do mourn,
And old aged parents for the sons they loved dearly,
By the dreadful explosion they will never return.
I knew that ’tis right for the dead to be grieving,
But comfort to me none on earth can rer
He has gone from this world but a short time before me,
And I hope I’ll rejoin him where parting’s no more.

Oh never again will I walk with my lover
With band locked in hand on the banks of the Clyde
Where we told our love tales in a green shady bower
‘Twas here I consented for to be his bride.
The day it was fixed and the guests were invited.
And had he but lived my dear husband he’d be,
But by the disaster that occurred at High Blantyre
He was killed and in life I no more him will See.

But spring will return, and the flowers of the summer
Will bloom in their wildness so lovely and fair,
And I’ll gather snowdrops, primroses and daisies?
On my true lover’s grave I’ll transplant them there
With my tears I will water those wild little flowers,
And fervently pray to the Ruler on high,
For I know that my days on this earth are numbered
And soon in the cold grave beside him I’ll lie.

By John Wilson, B.S.,G.

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