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Does anyone know the origin of this poem or one like it?

 
 
glynis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Aug, 2007 04:20 am
my brother used to sing this song 40 + years ago i have been trying to find it for years now it was about a soldier or a sailor
all i can remember is

I loved a sailor man so fair
who sailed across the ocean wide
but though i oft times wrote to him
he never thought or wrote to me

so dig my grave and dig it deep
and plant white lilies at my feet
and on my grave a turtle dove
to show that I did die for love

so come ye maidens far and wide
a sailers love is hard to find
but if you find one good and true
dent change the old one for the new
kixgrix
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 04:27 am
i dont know who wrote it, but the original lyrics of this song were sung to me by my welsh father when i was little. We still laugh about how he sang songs about a woman hanging herself to his young uns, but at the time we were transfixed...

The words (which he learnt while in the army (WWII) are as follows:

A miner came from work one night
And found his house without a light
He went upstairs to go to bed
When a sudden thought came to his head

He went into his daughter's room
And found her hanging from a beam
He took his knife and cut her down
And on her breast these words he found

Oh Lord I wish my child was born
And all my troubles they were gone
So dig my grave and dig it deep
And plant white lillies at my feet

They dug her grave and dug it deep
And planted lillies at her feet
And now she lies deep underground
Where love is lost and never found

So all you maidens bear in mind
A soldiers heart is hard to find
So if you find one good and true
Dont change the old one for a new

Realise this post is 5 years old but only stumbled across this question when googling the lyrics in an attempt to find the origins of the song!
0 Replies
 
Moerae
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Nov, 2009 11:28 am
@Pharon,
I know this as a song (from my childhood):

A workman came from work one night
And found his house without a light.
He climbed the stairs, and the door he broke
And found his daughter hung by rope.

He took a knife and he cut her down
And on her breast these words he found:

"Oh, father dear, what I fool I've been,
To kill myself for the butcher boy.
Oh, dig a grave both wide and deep
And place white lilies at my feet.
And in the middle a round white stone
And at my head a rose to show
That I still love".

That's all I can remember! And it might not be too accurate.

Moe
Jamaican
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2010 09:39 pm
I notice that this post began in 2007. The words seem to have come from a very old poem, put to music during WWII. This version was sung to me and my siblings before 1950, by our cousin who had been a merchant seaman during the war.
Unfortunately, I can't recall all the lyrics, which included a stanza about meeting someone else and going horseback riding with him while the sailor she loved was at sea.

A drunken man came home one night
And found his house without a light
He went upstairs to go to bed
When a sudden thought came to his head

He went into his daughter's room
And found her hanging from the door
He took his knife and cut her down
And on her breast these words she bore

Oh Dad, I cannot face the shame
To bear a child without a name
Oh Lord I wish my child was born
And all my troubles they were gone

So dig my grave and dig it deep
And lay white lillies at my feet
And at my head a turtle dove
To show the world I died for love

They dug her grave and dug it deep
And planted lillies at her feet
And now she lies deep underground
Where love is lost and never found

So all you maidens bear in mind
A sailor's heart is hard to find
And if you find one good and true
Never exchange it for a new

Oh dig my grave and dig it deep
And lay white lillies at my feet
And at my head a turtle dove
To show the world I died for love

Owen
mellyjane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 07:06 am
@Jamaican,
A soldier boy came home one night
To find his house without a light
He went upstairs to go to bed
A sudden thought came to his head

He went into his daughter's room
To find her hanging from a beam
He took his knife to cut her down
And to her breast this note he found

Oh Father Dear, i died through shame
To bear a child without a name
And if he'd lived to be a boy
He would have been your pride and joy

So dig a grave and dig it deep
And place white lillies at my feet
And to my head please place a dove
To show the world I died for love

So he dug a grave and dug it deep
And placed white lillies at her feet
And to her head, he placed a Dove
To show the world, she died for love

So all you maidens bear in mind
A sailor's heart is hard to find
And if you find one good and true
Please dont exchange it for a new

Oh dig a grave and dig it deep
And place white lillies at my feet
And to my head please place a dove
To show the world I died for love.


thats the original.....

0 Replies
 
mellyjane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 07:08 am
@Jamaican,
youre right there is one verse missing between the third and second to last...........hmmmmmmmmmm.
0 Replies
 
shibby-mite
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 02:18 pm
@Jamaican,
i read the lyrics. what song is this? the title, perhaps?
0 Replies
 
vicky s
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Aug, 2010 05:26 pm
@glynis,
think this has been passed and changed through the generations and areas...my nan sang her version to me an my cousins growing up which was as follows...

"Father he came home one night,
to find his house without a light.
He went into his daughters room,
and found her hanging by a rope.
He got a knife and cut her down,
and on her breasts these words where found.

Dig my grave and dig it deep,
put tomb stones at my head and feet.
And a turtle dove to signify,
to signify i died of love.

I died of love as you may see,
I loved a sailor upn the sea.
I loved him and he loved me
but now he's deep in the deep blue sea."

rather depressing and agree that it is rather strange to sing to children lol but this version has always stuck with me... interesting to see the differing versions though... Vicky S x
0 Replies
 
ThmsLn9
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2010 07:02 am
@glynis,
Hi Glynis,
I've just read your request for the complete poem/song regarding Dig my Grave. Like you, it was some 40years ago that a collegue in the Army used to sing this when he was the worse for wear (too much drink). I note that you asked for info in 2007 and I wonder if you have been able to find out exactly what all of it was. I would very much appreciate it if you coulld send the completed version if you have it. My Email address is [email protected]. Thank you in anticipation. Regards
Len
0 Replies
 
murrin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2010 05:05 pm
does anyone know the title of this song and was it ever released
0 Replies
 
Lauralillee
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2011 05:22 pm
Hi - just came upon this. I remember the song from when I was little about 20 years ago. The version I was sung, in England (East Anglia for what it's worth) went.
A father came home late one night
And found his house without a light
He went upstairs to go to bed
When some strange thought came to his head.

He went into his daughter's room
And found her hanging by a rope
He took a knife and cut her down
And on her breasts these words were found.

Oh dig my grave
Oh dig it deep
Plant two white lilies at my feet
And at my head put two white doves
To show that I have died for love.

I died for love as you can see
I loved a sailor by the sea
That sailor lad did not love me
A sailor's bride I'll never be.

Interesting the variations and how widespread it is. Maybe an old folk song?
0 Replies
 
AJxKraZe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 May, 2011 10:02 am
none of those are right.
its..
a soldier boy came home one night
to find his house without a light
he went upstairs to go to bed
when a sudden thought came to his head

he went into his daughters room
to find her hanging from a beam
he took his knife and cut her down
and on her bed these words he found:

"oh father dear i died of shame,
to bare this child without a name
but if it were this child be born
then all my troubles would be yours

so dig my grave and dig it deep
and lay white lilys at my feet
and at my head a turtle dove
to show the world i died for love

so all you maidens bare in mind
a soldiers love is hard to find
so if you find one good and true
don't change the whole world for the new"

- i know this because my nanan & my auntie used to sing it to me
and im getting lilys tattooed on my foot, and a dove on my neck
to symbolise my family as they are the only people i know personally
who know this song.
0 Replies
 
AJxKraZe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 May, 2011 10:04 am
@glynis,
hello, none of those are right.
its..
a soldier boy came home one night
to find his house without a light
he went upstairs to go to bed
when a sudden thought came to his head

he went into his daughters room
to find her hanging from a beam
he took his knife and cut her down
and on her bed these words he found:

"oh father dear i died of shame,
to bare this child without a name
but if it were this child be born
then all my troubles would be yours

so dig my grave and dig it deep
and lay white lilys at my feet
and at my head a turtle dove
to show the world i died for love

so all you maidens bare in mind
a soldiers love is hard to find
so if you find one good and true
don't change the whole world for the new"

- i know this because my nanan & my auntie used to sing it to me
and im getting lilys tattooed on my foot, and a dove on my neck
to symbolise my family as they are the only people i know personally
who know this song.
glenn hod
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jul, 2011 07:01 am
My mum used to sing a version of this to us kids in the very early sixties.
Can't remember it all but the gist was

A father came home one night
and found his daughter
hanging by a rope
he got a knife and cut her down
and this was in the note he found
I loved a sailor on the sea
I know that sailor doesn't love me
Lay on my breat the lily white dove
To show the world I died of love......
0 Replies
 
nikivec
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jul, 2011 09:17 pm
@glynis,
this was the way I heard of it in school, I never knew that it had such old and far stretching origins! Amazing how time has modernized it yet it still has the same essential elements...I loved being able to read everyone's variations though...

I was alone
I did so well
I meet a guy
And in love I fell
But he placed another girl upon his knee
And he told her things he never told me
I ran home to cry upon my bed
Not a word to my mother I said
My father came home late that night
And searched for me from left to right
He ran upstairs and my door he broke
To find me hanging from a rope
He took his knife and cut me down
And on the ground
This note he found
“dig my grave, dig it deep,
place a statue at my feet
on the statue place a dove,
tell the world I died for love”
EdinburghJambo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Aug, 2011 01:16 am
The complete version is:

The Butcher Boy (by Irish singer writer Donal O’Shaughnessay)

In London City, where I did well
a butcher boy, I loved right well
he courted me a life away
and now with me he will not stay

I wish I wish, I wish in vain
I wish I was a maid again
a maid again, I’ll never be
‘tll apples grow on a cherry tree

I wish my baby, it was born
and seated on it’s daddy’s knee
and my poor body to be dead and gone
see the long green grass growing over me

She went upstairs to go to bed
to rest her body and her weary head
“Bring me a chair that I might sit down
and a pen and ink, that I might write down”

He went upstairs, and the door he broke
he found her hanging by a rope
he took a knife and cut her down
and in her pocket these words he found

“Oh make my grave, long wide and deep
with a marble stone at my head and feet
and in the middle, a turtle dove
that he world may know, I died for love”
0 Replies
 
gillygirls
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 03:19 pm
@glynis,
a man came home from work one night to find his house without a light
he went upstairs to go to bed a sudden thought came to his head
he went into his daughters room and found her hanging from a rope
he took a knife and cut her down and on her breast these words were found
"oh lord i wish my child were born then all my troubles would be gone
so dig my grave and dig it deep and plant white lillies at my feet"
They dug her grave they dug it deep and planted lillies at her feet
and on her grave they carved a dove to signify she died of love
So all you Thornley boys take heed a girl like that is hard to find
so if you find one good and true dont swap the old love for the new

I remember that my mam said her dad used to sing it to her when he came home from the mine she remembers him singing it while he was in the tin bath in front of the fire
My mum used to sing this to us in the car coming back from holiday that and "paper roses" by maria osmond I have memorised the song and i used to sing it to my children so they would go to sleep. The girls are now 26 24 and 21 time goes by quickly and im sure they will sing it to their children

0 Replies
 
pennell
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Nov, 2011 02:19 pm
Many thanks. I love this poem i was told it years ago and it is wonderful.Thank all of you for a lovely reminder.Terry.
Harrytheheat
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Dec, 2011 08:44 am
@pennell,
LAY WHITE LILLIES AT MY FEET (traditional)

An old man staggered home one night and found his house without a light
And as he went upstairs to bed, a sudden thought came to his head.

He went into his daughter’s room and found her hanging from a beam,
He took a knife and cut her down and on her breast these words he found.

“Dear Dad, I cannot bear the shame to have a child without a name,
So dig my grave and dig it deep and lay white lilies at my feet.

“And on my breast a turtle dove to show them that I died of love,
And all you ladies bear in mind, a sailor’s love is hard to find”.
0 Replies
 
yarnandsea
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Apr, 2013 05:27 pm
@nikivec,
This is close the version I have. I will post it if I know how
 

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