Stories of the CelticPipes

Stories of the CelticPipes

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Cock O' the North

Song lyricsPosted by Peter Tue, December 31, 2013 11:24:18

‘The Cock O' the North’ is very old tune, first written down over 300 years ago, when it was called ‘Jumping Joan’.

As a pipe tune it is the regimental march of the Gordon Highlanders, because the Duke of Gordon was so powerful in the North East of Scotland that he was known as the Cock of the North.

In 1897 the regiment was fighting in Afghanistan and they were attacking uphill at a place called the Heights of Dargai. The soldiers were led by their pipers, one of whom, George Findlater, was shot through both legs. He propped himself up against a rock and carried on playing this tune to encourage the soldiers to go on. Piper Findlater was awarded the Victoria Cross, but he did not at first get an army pension. He performed in music halls, telling his story and playing his pipes until the government changed its mind.

This tune has had words fitted to it. Some verses are too rude to print here, but we can tell you the version that is the ‘party piece’ of Prince Charles, perhaps learned from his Scots grannie.

Aunty Mary had a canary

Whistled the Cock of the North

It whistled for oors

And frightened the Boers

And won the Victoria Cross.

The Boer War in South Africa took place from 1899 to 1902.

In 1932 a longer version of the lyrics was printed; it mentions the Barnum and Bailey circus and one of the Boer leaders, Kruger.

Barnum and Bailey had a canary

Whustled The Cock o the North

It whustled for oors

An frichtened the Booers

An they aa fell intae the Forth

B for Booer, K for Krudger

J for General French

The Bri’ish were up at the tap o the hull

An the Boers were doon in the trench.

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Mhairi's Wedding

Song lyricsPosted by Peter Tue, December 31, 2013 10:50:22
Step we gaily, on we go
Heel for heel and toe for toe,
Arm in arm and row on row,
All for Mhairi's wedding.
Over hillways up and doon,
Myrtle green and bracken broon,
Past the sheilings through the toon,
All for sake of Mhairi.


Plenty herring, plenty meal,
Plenty peat to fill her creel,
Plenty bonny bairns as weel,
That's the toast for Mhairi.


Cheeks as red as rowans are,
Bright her eyes as any star,
Fairest o' them aw by far,
Is our darlin' Mhairi.


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Sing-Along Sam

Over SchotlandPosted by Peter Tue, December 31, 2013 10:37:37
A canny wee Scotsman called Sammy MacNabbitt,
Was possessed of an odd an' peculiar habit.
He'd sit on the roof of his wee Scottish hoose,
An' sing all day long 'til the tiles rattled loose.

In MacNabbitt tartan, he'd start every mornin'
In kilt an' in sporran as daylight was dawnin',
With beret on head an' bagpipes in hand,
He'd sing an' he'd play like a wee Celtic band,
An' he'd dance to the skirl of his bagpiping lilt
With the whirl of a wee Scottish breeze up his kilt.

Now Mrs MacNabbit did not have a hunch
That he'd slip on the haggis she'd packed him for lunch,
An' Sammy MacNabbit fell kilt over head,
An' just for a while it was feart he was dead.

It's not a good thing to step on your meal
While playing the bagpipes an' dancin' a reel.
An' it's not very pleasant at all I suppose,
With a great haggis sandwich stuck well up your nose,
An' to judge by his screams, I very much doubt
That the pleasure improved as the stuff was scraped out.
So Sam does nae sing on the roof any more
An' considers it wiser to stay on the floor.

An' is he still singing? - och aye so he is,
He's the top o' the charts in the radio biz,
A star of the air and for your information
He's a disc jockey noo at a radio station,
He sings to the music as only he can
An' he's known to the world as Sing-along-Sam.

An' he sings o' the heather, he sings o' the glen.
O' bonnie wee lassies an' brave Scottish men.
O' the moors an' the lochs, an' yon bonnie braes,
O' the mists, o' the highlands an' Scotland the brave
He'll sing o' the bluebells that blossom galore,
But he will nae eat haggis for lunch any more.

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Is There, For Honest Poverty

Song lyricsPosted by Peter Mon, December 30, 2013 21:06:33
Is there, for honest poverty,
That hangs his head, and a' that?
The coward-slave, we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, and a' that,
Our toils obscure, and a' that;
The rank is but the guinea-stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that!

What tho' on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, and a' that;
Gi'e fools their silks, and knaves their wine
A man's a man for a' that!
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, and a' that;
The honest man, though e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that!

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, and stares, and a' that;
Though hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that;
For a' that, and a' that,
His riband, star, and a' that,
The man of independent mind
He looks and laughs at a' that!

A prince can mak' a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, and a' that,
But an honest man's aboon his might,
Guid faith he mauna fa' that!
For a' that, and a' that,
Their dignities, and a' that,
The pith o' sense, and pride o' worth,
Are higher ranks than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may---
As come it will for a' that---
That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth,
May bear the gree, and a' that;
For a' that, and a' that,
It's comin' yet for a' that,
That man to man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that!

Robert Burns - Scottish Poet
Robert Burns was a Freemason all of his adult life. At the time of his death he was Senior Warden of Lodge St Andrew, Dumfries. There is a clearly identifiable Masonic content in much of his work. The most famous example being this song, which is better known as "A Man's a Man for a' That". It was sung by folk singer Sheena Wellington at the official opening of the new Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh in 1999.

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Highland Cathedral

Song lyricsPosted by Peter Mon, December 30, 2013 20:00:10

There is a land far from this distant shore,
Where heather grows and Highland eagles soar.
There is a land that will live ever more,
Deep in my heart, my Bonnie Scotland

Though I serve so far away,
I still see your streams, cities and dreams.
I can't wait until the day,
When I'll come home once more.

So Lord keep me from the harm of war,
Through all the dangers and the battles roar.
Keep me safe until I'm home once more,
Home to my own in Bonnie Scotland.

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The Rowan Tree

Song lyricsPosted by Peter Fri, May 17, 2013 16:40:47

Oh, rowan tree! Oh, rowan tree ! Thou'lt aye be dear tae me
Entwined thou art wi' mony ties o’ hame and infancy
Thy leaves were aye the first o' spring, thy flow'rs the summer pride
There wasnae sic a bonny tree in a' the countryside
Oh! rowan tree !

How fair wert thou in summer time, wi' a' thy clusters white
How rich and gay thy autumn dress, wi’ berries red md bright
W e sat eneath thy spreading shade, the bairnies round thee ran
They pu’ d thy bonnie berries red and necklaces they strang
Oh! rowan tree!

On thy fair sterm were mony names, which now nae mair
I see But they’re engraven on my heart, forgot they ne’er can be
My mother! Oh! I see her still, she smil'd our sports to see
Wi’ little Jemnie on her lap, wi' Jamie at her knee!
Oh! rowan treel

Oh! there arose my father’s prayer, in holy evenings calm
How sweet was then my mother’s voice, in the Martyr’s psalm
Now a' are gane! W e meet nae mair meath the rowan tree
But hallowed thoughts around thee twine o’ hame and infancy
Oh! rowan tree!

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Song for a Kilt

Song lyricsPosted by Peter Tue, May 07, 2013 13:46:32

How grand the human race would be
... If every man would wear a kilt,
A flirt of Tartan finery,
Instead of trousers, custom built!
Nay, do not think I speak to joke:
(You know I'm not that kind of man),
I am convinced that all men folk.
Should wear the costume of a Clan.

Imagine how it's braw and clean
As in the wind it flutters free;
And so conducive to hygiene
In its sublime simplicity.
No fool fly-buttons to adjust,--
Wi' shanks and maybe buttocks bare;
Oh chiels, just take my word on trust,
A bonny kilt's the only wear.

'Twill save a lot of siller too,
(And here a canny Scotsman speaks),
For one good kilt will wear you through
A half-a-dozen pairs of breeks.
And how it's healthy in the breeze!
And how it swings with saucy tilt!
How lassies love athletic knees
Below the waggle of a kilt!

True, I just wear one in my mind,
Since sent to school by Celtic aunts,
When girls would flip it up behind,
Until I begged for lowland pants.
But now none dare do that to me,
And so I sing with lyric lilt,--
How happier the world would be
If every male would wear a kilt!

by robert service

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Glencoe Order

Over SchotlandPosted by Peter Wed, April 17, 2013 08:07:25

Copy of order to Capt. Campbell by Maj. Duncanson

You are hereby ordered to fall upon the rebels, the McDonalds of Glencoe, and put all to the sword under seventy. you are to have a special care that the old Fox and his sons do upon no account escape your hands, you are to secure all the avenues that no man escape. This you are to putt in execution at fyve of the clock precisely; and by that time, or very shortly after it, I’ll strive to be at you with a stronger party: if I do not come to you at fyve, you are not to tarry for me, but to fall on. This is by the Kings special command, for the good & safety of the Country, that these miscreants be cut off root and branch. See that this be put in execution without feud or favour, else you may expect to be dealt with as one not true to King nor Government, nor a man fit to carry Commission in the Kings service. Expecting you will not fail in the fullfilling hereof, as you love your s...elf, I subscribe these
with my hand at Balicholis Feb: 12, 1692

(signed) R. Duncanson
For their Majesties service
To Capt. Robert Campbell
of Glenlyon

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