Cow With The Piper (MacEdward Leach)
(Denny Byrne The Piper)

In the year 'ninety-eight,
when our troubles were great,
Was treason to be a Milesian;
But a black-whiskered set we will never forget,
Though the history tells us were Hessian.

In those troublesome times it was a great crime,
And murder sure never was rifer;
At the side of Glenshee, not an acre from me,
There lived one Denny Byrne, a piper.

Neither wedding nor wake 'twould be worth a shake,
For Denny was not first invited;
For emptying the kegs and squeezing the bags,
He astonished as well as delighted.

One evening in June, as Den was going home,
Just after the fair at Naggin;
Oh, what should he see from the branch of a tree,
But a corpse of a Hessian there hanging.

Said Denny, "These rogues have fine boots,
I've no brogues."
And he laid on the boots such a griper;
The boots were so tight and he pulled with such might,
Till the legs and boots came way with the piper.

Then Denny did run, for afraid of being hung,
Till he came to Tim Kennedy's cabin;
"Oh," says Tim from within, "Oh, I can't let you in,
You'll be shot if you're caught there a-rappin'."

He went to the shed where the cow was in bed,
With a whisk he began then to wipe her;
And they lay down together on the seven foot feather,
And the cow fell to hugging the piper.

Oh, Denny did yawn, and the day did dawn,
And he peeled off the boots of the Hessian;
And the legs, by the law, he left there on the straw,
And he gave them leg bare for his mission.

When breakfast was done, Tim sent out a young son,
To make Denny jump like a lamplighter;
When the legs there he saw, he run like a jackdaw,
"Oh, Daddy, the cow ate the piper."

Mrs Kennedy bawled, the neighbours were called,
They began for to humbug and jibe her;
To the churchyard Tim walked with the legs in the box,
And the cow will be hung with the piper.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a British broadside ballad, The Cow Eat The Piper, published without a publisher's name or date and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 11(2916) ....####

Sung in 1950 by Aiden (Eden) Sullivan [1914-1980] of Calvert, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

NOTE: "In the year 'ninety-eight" - The Irish Rebellion of 1798, also known as the United Irishmen Rebellion, was an uprising against British rule in Ireland lasting from May to September 1798. The United Irishmen, a republican revolutionary group influenced by the ideas of the American and French revolutions, were the main organising force behind the rebellion.


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