Henry's Songbook

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Dinny The Piper

  • In the year 'ninety-eight when our troubles were great
    It was treason to be a militian
    And the Black-Whiskers said we'd never forget
    And our history showed there were Hessians
    In these troubled times oh it was a great crime
    And murder it never was riper
    Near the town of Glensheed, not an acre from Meath
    Lived one Dinny Byrnes, a piper

    Neither wedding nor wake would be worth a shake
    If Dinny was first not invited
    For at squeezin' the bags or emptyin' the kegs
    He astonished as well as delighted
    But in these times Dinny could not earn a penny
    Martial Law had him stung like a viper
    And it kept him within till the bones of his skin
    Grinned through the rags of the piper

    Well one day it did dawn as Dinny crept home
    Back from a fair at Lafangen
    When what should he see from the branch of a tree
    But the corpse of a Hessian there hangin'
    Says Dinny, These rogues have got boots - I've no brogues
    He took hold of the boots with a gryper
    And the boots were so tight and he pulled with such might
    Legs and all came away with the piper

    Ah then Dinny did run for fear of bein' hung
    Till he came to Tim Halley's cabin
    Says Tim from within, I can't let you in
    You'll be shot if you're caught out there rappin'
    So he went to the shed where the cow was in bed
    He began with a wisp for to wipe her
    And they lay down together in seven foot of heather
    And the cow took to huggin' the piper

    Well the day it wore on and Dinny did yawn
    Then he stripped off the boots from the Hessian
    And the legs, by the law, he just left in the straw
    Then he slipped home with his new possessions
    Now breakfast bein' done, Tim sent his young son
    To get Dinny up like a lamplighter
    When the legs there he saw he flew up like a jackdaw
    And said, Daddy, the cow's ate the piper

    Ah bad luck to that baste, she'd no musical taste
    To eat such a jolly ould chanter
    A pha'd raig a mhic, take a lump of a stick
    Drive her off down the road and we'll canter
    Well the neighbours were called, Mrs. Kennedy bawled
    She began for to humbug and gyper
    And in sorrow they met and their whistles they wet
    And like divvils lamented the piper

    Then the cow she was drove a mile or two off
    Till they came to a fair at Killaly
    And there she was sold for four guineas in gold
    To the clerk of the parish, Sean Daly
    Then they went to the tent where the pennies were spent
    (Tim bein' a jolly ould swiper)
    And who should be there playin' The Rakes of Kildare
    Just your bold Dinny Byrnes, the piper

    Ah then Tim gave a jolt like a half-drunken colt
    And he stares at the piper like a gamuck
    I thought, by The Powers, for the last eight hours
    You were playin' in the ould cow's stomach
    Well when Dinny observed that the Hessians bein' served
    Began just to humbug and gyper
    Oh in grandeur they met and their whistles they wet
    And like divvils they danced round the piper

    As sung by Andy M. Stewart

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1965:] ['The Cow Ate the Piper'] Over twenty years ago my good friend, the late Senator Michael Colgan, gave me the air and words. The tune resembles [...] 'Nell Flaherty's Drake'. It is in Jig time. [...] O'Neill: Irish Minstrels, gives a long rambling story and some verses, pp. 444-7. (O Lochlainn II, 208)

  • [1987:] [This] presents the listener with a wonderful farce of a story. Set in Ireland in the year 1798 against the background of martial law strictly enforced by the Hessians (mercenary soldiers). Dinny finds himself in breach of the curfew one night, with nowhere to sleep and a pair of dead man's boots under his arm [...]. I learned this song from the singing of my good friend Bill Watkins, whose family comes from Limerick. (Notes Andy M. Stewart, 'Dublin Lady')

  • more:

  • [2004:] Erik Moore wrote :
    The word "militian" may mean 'militiaman', but I think it is probably "Milesian". The Milesians were the last of the tribes said to invade Ireland in the Book of Invasions (Leabhar Gabhála). The pun in the song is that 'it was treason to be a Milesian', or in other words, it was treason to be Irish!
    I heard the song from an album by the Irish group, Oisin, in the late 70's.

Quelle: Ireland

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