B. Ross Ashley

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Location: Toronto, ON
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Digger's Song


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Duration: 00:00:31
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English rebel song from the English Civil War period ... the Diggers were a radical political sect resisting the enclosure of the village common lands by landlords, persecuted by Roundheads and Cavaliers both. English traditional tune, public domain.
Foggers
07/11/11 08:07:17AM @foggers:

Hi - there seem to be 2 different songs that are commonly known as The Diggers' Song. The traditional 17th century one is performed often still, by artists of left-wing and rebellious persuasion. Here is one of my favourite interpretations by Attila the Stockbroker

The song that John P linked to borrows its title from a protest song published as a broadside in 1649, which protested against the banishment of Christmas merry-making by the purtian parliament of Cromwell.

And yes I agree that far too little of the rebellious nature of English history is taught in schools. But that is hardly surprising given that modern schooling seems to be about producing a conformist work force... so there is a danger in teaching children that rebellion and unrest have been a feature of these lands since time immemorial! Let's not foget that Karl Marx thought that revolution was most likely to start here in UK given the things he witnessed whilst living here.

Long live the revolution!


john p
06/02/11 08:13:56AM @john-p:

Bringing it up to the present, 'The World Turned Upside Down' by Leon Rosselson written to commemorate the 350th anniversary.

Holly Tannen has an excellent dulcimer version on Spotify.

or

Billy Bragg doing it Essex boy style on youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxW5yvpeHg4

john p


Dusty Turtle
06/02/11 02:41:44AM @dusty-turtle:

I can't believe I've missed this tune and discussion all this time. This has inspired me, for somewhere I have a book of songs from the Chartist movement, and it might be fun to try some on the dulcimer.

If anyone is interested, you can find a bunch of primary source materials on the Levellers and Diggers at http://www.bilderberg.org/land/diggers.htm . You will even find another set of lyrics to this song there.

They are not as neglected in history courses as you think. They come up in lessons on the dissenters, on the Civil War, on enclosure, on the fate of the commons, and on the roots of socialism, among other topics.


Flint Hill
07/28/10 07:33:40AM @flint-hill:
This is good to hear Ross. It's a fascinating song, one of dozens in the "Captain Kidd" family."My name is Captain Kidd, and I sailed and I sailed.""What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul""Ye Jacobites by name, lend an ear, lend an ear""Brave Benbow he set sail, for to fight for to fight"David Kidd has a great web site on the family.
B. Ross Ashley
07/28/10 06:51:42AM @b-ross-ashley:
Right, Folkfan, those are Gerard Winstanley's words to The Diggers' Song. The tune was popular around the middle of the 17th, and the Stuart cause must have adapted the same tune. I do remember one brief mention of Winstanley and the Diggers in my history classes.
folkfan
07/28/10 01:25:05AM @folkfan:
Went slightly nuts looking for the verses to The Digger's Song as other words kept trying to attach themselves to the tune: Here are the verses I found.The Digger SongYou noble Diggers all, stand up now, stand up now,You noble Diggers all, stand up now,The wast land to maintain, seeing Cavaliers by nameYour digging does maintain, and persons all defameStand up now, stand up now.Your houses they pull down, stand up now, stand up now,Your houses they pull down, stand up now.Your houses they pull down to fright your men in townBut the gentry must come down, and the poor shall wear the crown.Stand up now, Diggers all.With spades and hoes and plowes, stand up now, stand up nowWith spades and hoes and plowes stand up now,Your freedom to uphold, seeing Cavaliers are boldTo kill you if they could, and rights from you to hold.Stand up now, Diggers all.Theire self-will is theire law, stand up now, stand up now,Theire self-will is theire law, stand up now.Since tyranny came in they count it now no sinTo make a gaol a gin, to starve poor men therein.Stand up now, Diggers all.The gentrye are all round, stand up now, stand up now,The gentrye are all round, stand up now.The gentrye are all round, on each side they are found,Theire wisdom's so profound, to cheat us of our groundStand up now, stand up now.The lawyers they conjoyne, stand up now, stand up now,The lawyers they conjoyne, stand up now,To arrest you they advise, such fury they devise,The devill in them lies, and hath blinded both their eyes.Stand up now, stand up now.The clergy they come in, stand up now, stand up now,The clergy they come in, stand up now.The clergy they come in, and say it is a sinThat we should now begin, our freedom for to win.Stand up now, Diggers all.The tithes they yet will have, stand up now, stand up now,The tithes they yet will have, stand up now.The tithes they yet will have, and lawyers their fees crave,And this they say is brave, to make the poor their slave.Stand up now, Diggers all.'Gainst lawyers and 'gainst Priests, stand up now, stand up now,'Gainst lawyers and 'gainst Priests stand up now.For tyrants they are both even flatt againnst their oath,To grant us they are loath free meat and drink and cloth.Stand up now, Diggers all.The club is all their law, stand up now, stand up now,The club is all their law, stand up now.The club is all their law to keep men in awe,But they no vision saw to maintain such a law.Stand up now, Diggers all.The Cavaleers are foes, stand up now, stand up now,The Cavaleers are foes, stand up now;The Cavaleers are foes, themselves they do discloseBy verses not in prose to please the singing boyes.Stand up now, Diggers all.To conquer them by love, come in now, come in nowTo conquer them by love, come in now;To conquer them by love, as itt does you behove,For hee is King above, noe power is like to love,Glory heere, Diggers all.And finally the words to "Ye Jacobites By Name" began to float to the top.Ye Jacobites by name, lend an ear, lend an earYe Jacobites by name lend an earYe Jacobites by name, Yer thoughts I will proclaimYer doctrines I must blame, ye shall hear, ye shall hearYer doctrines I must blame, ye shall hear.Thanks for bring the Digger's Song to us. They're sort of a neglected bit of English history, as I'd never read or heard anything about them in my history classes.
Robin Thompson
07/27/10 11:33:17PM @robin-thompson:
Neat! I'll keep my eyes out for another posting.
B. Ross Ashley
07/27/10 11:30:40PM @b-ross-ashley:
I got it from Chumbawamba's "English Rebel Songs" CD ... there are other versios out there with slightly different tunes. One day I will record the whole thing with all the verses. I just got a better video camcorder the other week and am learning how to use it ... and when I say it's better, I mean it's better than the Kodak I recorded my other stuff on.
Robin Thompson
07/27/10 11:25:42PM @robin-thompson:
Ross,I've neither heard this tune nor heard of it before-- I like the tune! Thanks for the post!