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The Miner's Dream of Home

[ Roud 1749 ; Will Godwin, Leo Dryden (1891)]

Will Godwin and Leo Dryden wrote The Miner's Dream of Home in 1891. Leo Dryden sang it in the Music Hall and recorded it on August 27, 1898 on a Berliner cylinder E2013.

Bob Hart sang The Miner's Dream of Home at home in Snape Suffolk in July 1972 in a field recording by Tony Engle which was published in 1973 on his Topic LP Songs from Suffolk. An earlier recording by Bill Leader made in 1969 was included in 2007 on his Musical Traditions CD A Broadside.

Fred Whiting sang The Miner's Dream of Home in a 1986 recording made in Kenton, Suffolk by John Howson. This recording was included on the Veteran CD It Was on a Market Day and on the Free Reed anthology Midwinter: A Celebration of the Folk Music & Tradition of Christmas & the Turning of the Year. Mike Yates commented in the Veteran CD booklet:

The words to this extremely popular song were written by the Music Hall singer Leo Dryden (1863-1939), with music by Will Godwin. According to Music Hall specialist Tony Barker, “Dryden must immediately have realised the song's immense appeal for, in an Era advert, dated 31st October, 1891, he announced it as a ‘song that will be sung in every home where the mother tongue is spoken’. The rousing melody and sentimental lyrics telling of a homesick prospector dreaming of ‘England's valleys and dells’, certainly made such an impact with the British public that it passed almost at once into the canon of popular song. Dryden claimed that Francis, Day and Hunter paid £20, the most they had paid up to that time, for the publication right. Its fame was so great that it was remembered long after the name of its singer had been forgotten. Such was Dryden's eventual eclipse that, after the First World War, he sang the song in the streets unrecognised.” Dryden made a cylinder recording of The Miner's Dream of Home in 1898 (Berliner E2013). Fred Whiting always said that it was his favourite song.

John Kirkpatrick sang The Miner's Dream of Home in 2006 on his Christmas CD Carolling and Crumpets.

Kate Rusby sang an abbreviated version of The Miner's Dream of Home in 2008 on her Christmas CD Sweet Bells.

Lyrics

Fred Whiting sings The Miner's Dream of Home

It is ten weary years since I left England's shore,
In a far distant country to roam,
How I long to return to my own native land,
To my friends and the old folks at home!
Last night, as I slumbered, I had a strange dream,
'Twas a dream that brings distant friends near,
I dreamt of old England, the land of my birth,
To the heart of her sons ever dear!

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
I saw the old homestead, and the faces I loves,
I saw England's valleys and dells;
And I listened with joy, as I did when a boy,
To the sound of the old village bells.
The log was burning brightly,
'Twas a night that should banish all sin,
For the bells were ringing the old year out
And the new year in.

As the joyous bells rang, out I wended my way
To the cot where I lived as a boy;
I gazed in the window—Yes! there, by the fire,
Sat my parents!—my heart filled with joy.
The tears trickled fast down my bronzed, furrowed cheek,
As I gazed on my mother so dear,
I guessed in my heart she was raising a prayer
For the son whom she dreamt not was near!

At the door of the cottage we met face to face,
'Twas the first time for ten weary years;
Soon the past was forgotten,we stood hand in hand,
Father, mother, and wand'rer in tears!
Once more in the fire-place the oak log burns bright,
As I promised no more would I roam;
As I sat in the old vacant chair by the hearth,
And sang that dear song, “Home, Sweet Home!“

Kate Rusby sings The Miner's Dream of Home

It's ten weary years since I left England's shore,
For a distant far country to roam,
How I long to return to my own native land,
To my friends and the old folks at home!
Last night, as I slumbered, I had a strange dream,
A dream that brought distant lands near,
I dreamt of old England, the land of my birth,
To the heart of her sons ever dear!

While the joyous bells rang as I wended my way
To the house where I lived as a boy;
As I passed by the window, there sat by the fire
Were my parents, my heart filled with joy.
The log burned so brightly, it was keeping them warm
On a night that could banish all sin,
And the bells they were ringing the old year out
And the new year in.

At the door of the house there we stood face to face,
For the first time in ten weary years;
Soon the past was forgot, and we stood hand in hand,
Father, mother, and wanderer in tears!
Oh, the log burned so brightly, it was keeping us warm
On a night that could banish all sin,
And the bells they were ringing the old year out
And the new year in.