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100 Pipers

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Melody: 100 Pipers - piano (Duration: 0:47) [Artist: Unknown]
100 Pipers

Wi' a hundred pipers, a' a', an' a',
Wi' a hundred pipers, a' a', an' a',
We'll up an' gie them a blaw, a blaw
Wi' a hundred pipers, a' a', an' a'.
O it's owre the border awa', awa'
It's owre the border awa', awa',
We'll on an' we'll march to Carlisle ha'
Wi' its yetts, its castle an' a', an a'.


Wi' a hundred pipers, a' a', an' a',
Wi' a hundred pipers, a' a', an' a',
We'll up an' gie them a blaw, a blaw
Wi' a hundred pipers, a' a', an' a'.

Oh! our sodger lads looked braw, looked braw,
Wi' their tartan kilts an' a', an' a',
Wi' their bonnets an' feathers an' glitt'rin' gear,
An' pibrochs sounding loud and clear.
Will they a' return to their ain dear glen?
Will they a' return oor Heilan' men?
Second sichted Sandy looked fu' wae.
An' mithers grat when they march'd away.


Oh! wha' is foremos o' a', o' a',
Oh wha' is foremost o' a', o' a',
Bonnie Charlie the King o' us a', hurrah!
Wi' his hundred pipers an' a', an ' a'.
His bonnet and feathers he's waving high,
His prancing steed maist seems to fly,
The nor' win' plays wi' his curly hair,
While the pipers play wi'an unco flare.


The Esk was swollen sae red an' sae deep,
But shouther to shouther the brave lads keep;
Twa thousand swam owre to fell English ground
An' danced themselves dry to the pibroch's sound.
Dumfoun'er'd the English saw, they saw,
Dumfoun'er'd they heard the blaw, the blaw,
Dumfoun'er'd they a' ran awa', awa',
Frae the hundred pipers an' a', an ' a'.


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Carlisle in 1745:

It turns out that it was the Duke of Perth who rode into Carlisle when the inhabitants surrendered, and the mayor and his attendants rode to Brampton, where they presented the keys to the city to BPC, who was there, with the greater part of his army. Even if there were a hundred pipers with BPC, only a portion would have gone on to Carlisle. As far as I have found, no "100 Pipers", no white horse, and no Bonnie Prince Charlie

Words are by the prolific Lady Nairne (1766-1845), who came of a Jacobite family, and so her songs about Royal Charlie and company have the true patriotic ring. [Take a look at some of her other songs, where she tried to clean up what she considered in bad taste--rather pitiful efforts!--e.g. "Cauld Kail", a great drinking song (with a bawdy variant) was turned into a teetotal one.] Anyway: her song is not quite accurate. The Prince did get to Carlisle ha' (18 November 1745), preceded by one hundred pipers. But the river Esk was waded not in glory but in defeat,, when they returned to Scotland [a bit of wishful thinking and rewriting history]. As to the tune, its origin is as far as I know unknown, or dubious. It has been said to be a variant of the old tune "The White Cockade", brisked up into jig time.

Attibution information and comments from "Mudcat - Digital Traditions" database:

Scots Glossary:
gie = give
blaw = blow
awa' = away
fu' wae = full of woe
grat = cried (present tense - greet)

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        Revision:  18 March 2006
Last modified:  18 March 2006