lyrics text

Piper At Capheaton

words anonymous, tune Greenoaken

At Christmas when the winds blow cau'd
And frost and snaw's in ilka dale
Robin o' Norham lost his road
And at Capheaton made his wail

Oh whether this be lairdly ha'
Or puir man's shiel, pray let me in
I'm a puir piper lost his way
Unsneck your door and tirl the pin

Oh pity tek and divn't scorn
Heffel and I will die ere morn
I'll squeeze my pipes and heartsome play
And with a sang I'll earn my hay

But the au'd gadgie of the hoose sticks
his heid oot the winda, and with a cau'd uncharitable
glint in his eye he says...

When cockle shells turn silver bells
And bauds and whores do churches build
When yonkers cease to rant and yell
And misers lose their lust for gold

When Netherwhitton gans watterless
And au'd Capheaton withoot a whin
Kidlaw a' turned te peat and moss
And nivvor bear a foot aboon

When au'd Sir Humphrey rides te Rome
And preaches there the hail year lang
When indigo dyes red and brown
It's then I'll house ye for your sang.

Adapted from the version included in John Bell's Rhymes Of Northern Bards, and given a tune. Bell surmises that Au'd Sir Humphrey is a sort of nom d'affection for the local Catholic priest (perhaps a tip of the hat to Sir Humphrey Swinburn, the piously Catholic master of nearby Capheaton Hall), and that Heffel is the piper's nag.

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