The Patriotic Diggers
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


Information
Lyrics
These words were written in 1812 by Samuel Woodworth (1785-1842), who also wrote the words to The Old Oaken Bucket and The Hunters of Kentucky

The tune was printed in both Irish and Scottish music collections. It was printed in a Scottish collection circa 1740 as The Key of the Cellar (A copy of which is at the Broadside Ballads Online). The tune was also known as Bob and Joan. The tune was also used for numerous other lyrics in Scotland, Ireland, and England. These include Cam Ye O'er Frae France, which appeared in the Scots Musical Museum, and Thomas Moore's Fill the Bumper Fair.*

Enemies beware, keep a proper distance,
Else we'll make you stare at our firm resistance;
Let alone the lads who are freedom tasting,
Don't forget our dads gave you once a basting.
To protect our rights 'gainst your flint and triggers
See on yonder heights our patriotic diggers.
Men of ev'ry age, color, rank, profession,
Ardently engaged, labor in succession.
Pick-axe, shovel, spade, crow-bar, hoe and barrow
Better not invade, Yankees have the marrow.


Scholars leave their schools with patriotic teachers
Farmers seize their tools, headed by their preachers,
How they break the soil - brewers, butchers, bakers -
Here the doctors toil, there the undertakers.
Bright Apollo's sons leave their pipe and tabor,
Mid the roar of guns join the martial labor,
Round the embattled plain in sweet concord rally,
And in freedom's strain sing the foes finale.
Pick-axe, shovel, spade, crow-bar, hoe and barrow
Better not invade, Yankees have the marrow.


Better not invade, don't forget the spirit
Which our dads displayed and their sons inherit.
If you still advance, friendly caution slighting,
You may get by chance a bellyful of fighting!
Plumbers, founders, dyers, tinmen, turners, shavers,
Sweepers, clerks, and criers, jewelers and engravers,
Clothiers, drapers, players, cartmen, hatters tailors,
Gaugers, sealers, weighers, carpenters and sailors!
Pick-axe, shovel, spade, crow-bar, hoe and barrow
Better not invade, Yankees have the marrow.


Related Links
From The Burl Ives Songbook
See Bibliography for full information.
*And The Mudcat Cafe