Traditional, arranged by the Tannahill Weavers
|If ever the Tannahills
had an anthem, this would be it. Well, Roy anyway. This song must have a
special place in his heart. It was composed by one John Hamilton, of who
not much is known. However, what we do know would fill the odd page of any
decent, self-respecting scandal sheet. Now there's an oxymoron for you.
It seems Mr. Hamilton had a music business in North
Street, Edinburgh, where he also gave music lessons, until a rich female
student fell in love with him. They were married, much to the chagrin of
her family. On the 23rd of September 1814, at age 53, he became ill and
died, much to the chagrin of his family.
"To lovers of Scottish melody the name John
Hamilton is familiar as a composer of several esteemed and beautiful airs.
His contributions to the department of Scottish song entitle his name to
an honourable place."
Robert Burns, whose chorus we have chosen to use, also
wrote two verses to the same tune, which is very old. It was a favourite
of Queen Mary, the consort of William the 3rd, and was published in 1652
by John Hilton as 3rd voice to what is called a "northern catch"
and also adapted by Gay for one of the songs of his beggars opera. Now 350
years later the Tannahills have got their hands on it, which almost
beggars belief. Lets face it, will anyone be singing the music of today’s
modern day hit parade giants in 2353.......? I rest my case.
Cauld blaws the wind frae north tae south, the drift is driving fairly,
The sheep are cowerin' in the heugh, o sirs it's winter sairly.
Loud roars the blast amang the woods, and tirls the branches barely,
On hill and hoose hear how it thuds, the frost is nippin' sairly.
The sun peeps ower yon southland hills like onie timerous carlie,
Just blinks a wee then sinks again, and that we find severely.
Nae linties lilt on hedge nor bush, poor things they suffer sairly,
In cauldrife quarters o' the nicht, a' day they feed but sparely.
A cosy hoose and a canty wife aye keep a body cheerly,
And pantries stowed wi' meat and drink, they answer unco rarely.
Up in the mornin’s no' for me, up in the
When a' the hills are covered wi' snaw, I'm sure that it's winter sairly.