The Piper o’ Dundee, Pipers tales

THE PIPER O’ DUNDEE

The piper came to out toun, to our toun, to our toun,
The piper came to our toun, and he played bonnie-lie
He play’d a spring the laird to please,
A spring brent new frae yont the seas 

And then he gae his bags a squeeze
And play’ d anither key
And was-na he a rogie, a rogie a rogie
And was-na he a rogie the piper o’ Dundee

He play’d the welcome o er the main
And ‘ye see be fou’, ‘and I’se be fain’
And Auld Stewart’s back again
Wi’ muck-le mirth and glee

He play’d “The kirk he play’d ‘’The Queen’’
The ’Mullin Dhu’, and ‘Chevalier’,
And ‘Lang a wa’, but welcome here,
Sae sweet sae bonnie lie
Chorus

It’s some gat swords and some gat nane
And some were dancing mad their lane
And mony a vow o’weir was ta’en
That night at Amulrie
There was Tullibardine and Burleigh
And Struan, Keith md Ogilvie
And brave Carnegie, wha but he
The piper o’ Dundee
Chorus


This is the song of Carnegie, a high ranking Jacobite (follower of King James  of Scotland who was exiled in France (latin for James = Jacobus, hence Jacob-ites)). He was nicknamed “the Piper o’ Dundee”. “Dundee” was Graham of Claverhouse who established the Jacobites in Dundee in May 1689 with only 50 followers. Carnegie, the “piper o’ Dundee” raised funds, raised troops and followers and generally got people to “dance to his tune”. When the Jacobites won their first battle with the Government troops at Killiecrankie, two months later, they had around 3,000 of an army – whatever he did, it was effective. “wisnae he a roguie, a rougie a rougie… the piper o’ Dundee” 

In 1604 on February the 28th the duties of the Piper of Dundee, in saluting the burgesses with early reveille and timeous serenade, were defined in the Burgh Records, at the appointment of Magnus Anderson. These were to be “passing and playing throw the burgh every day in the morning at four hours and every nicht at aucht hours:” a service for which the treasurer became bound to deliver him “ane stand of claithes of the towns livery and colours yearly” and every householder was held to pay him twelve pennies yearly for his fee, the officers being required to “concur with him and assist gif need beis in pounding for the payment”

The predecessor in this office had offended his employers. “Anthonie Court, the common piper having playit some sprigs throw the burgh to the miscontent of honest neighbours, irritating and provoking some of the inhabitants to grite angerr and arparently lkely to breed griter sedition”,was therefore “supercedit and dischairgit fra using of his common office through the burgh evenings and mornings ay and quhill (till) he should get ane new warrant frae the council”, and furthermore was ordered not” to play that spring callit ‘Tobacco’ or ‘The Laird haes tint his gauntlet’ under whatsoever uther name, aither privily in mens housis or publicly upon the streets, at any time under pain of banishment.”

It would some that some song, the words of which were considered insulting to the King had been adapted to the pipers tune. Tobacco was at that time a recent introduction from America and the authorities were endeavouring to control its use. King James VI wrote a pamphlet against the use of tobacco. Unfortunately the tune Tobacco is lost but tobacco is unfortunately still with us.

From the History of Old Dundee - Alexander Maxwell 1884 pp354.


 

T h e h i s t o r y o f O l d D u n d e e - A l e x a n d e r M a x w e l l 1 8 8 4 p p 3 5 4

T H E L E A R N E D D R U M M E R O F D U N D E E m u s t c e r t a i n l y b e r a t e d o n e o f t h e m o s t r e m a r k a b l e p e r s o n s t o h a v e f i l l e d t h e s h o e s a n d u n i f o r m o f a t o w n d r u m m e r . M ' C o r m i c k w a s b o r n o f a H i g h l a n d f a m i l y w h o h a d e m i g r a t e d t o L o n d o n a f t e r t h e ' 4 5 . W h e n h i s f a t h e r d i e d h e c a m e t o G l a s g o w w h e r e h e c a m e t o t h e n o t i c e o f t h e l e a r n e d f a c u l t y o f t h a t c i t y . D a n , h a d , f r o m a n e a r l y a g e e x h i b i t e d g r e a t a p t i t u d e f o r l e a r n i n g , a n d h i s s e l f e d u c a t i o n w a s q u i t e r e m a r k a b l e . W h i l e i n G l a s g o w i t w a s p r o p o s e d t h a t h e s t u d y t o b e c o m e a p r i e s t , b u t f o l l o w i n g c o n s i d e r a b l e p e r s e c u t i o n o f C a t h o l i c s i n t h e c i t y a t t h a t t i m e , a n d b e c a u s e o f a n u n f o r t u n a t e l o v e a f f a i r , h e h a d t o q u i t t h e c i t y . H e c a m e t o D u n d e e i n 1 8 0 0 , w h e r e a f t e r a b r i e f c o m m i s s i o n i n t h e l o c a l m i l i t i a , h e t o o k u p t h e p o s t o f t o w n  s d r u m m e r .

W h i l e i n D u n d e e h i s s t u d i e s c o n t i n u e d a n d t h e b r e a d t h a n d e x t e n t o f h i s k n o w l e d g e c a n b e g u a g e d b y t h e l i b r a r y o f b o o k s w h i c h h e l e f t o n h i s d e a t h . I t c o n s i s t e d o f o v e r 1 0 0 0 v o l u m e s ; t h e r e b e i n g b o o k s o n D i v i n i t y , O r i e n t a l a n d B i b l i c a l l i t e r a t u r e , P h i l o l o g y , C l a s s i c s a n d g e n e r a l l i t e r a t u r e i n G r e e k , L a t i n , H e b r e w , G a e l i c , F r e n c h a n d G e r m a n . O t h e r v o l u m e s i n c l u d e d f i r s t e d i t i o n s o f a l l o f S i r W a l t e r S c o t t s n o v e l s a n d p o e m s , B y r o n s w o r k s a n d B u r n s ' . H e b r e w s e e m s t o h a v e b e e n M ' C o r m i c k s f a v o u r i t e s t u d y a s h e h a d q u i t e a f e w r a r e p u b l i c a t i o n s i n t h a t l a n g u a g e . A n d t h e r e b y h a n g s a t a l e : A P r o f e s s o r o f H e b r e w v i s i t e d t h e t o w n f o r t h e p u r p o s e o f f o r m i n g c l a s s e s f o r t h e t e a c h i n g o f t h a t l a n g u a g e , a n d c a l l e d o n a D o c t o r o f D i v i n i t y t o a s k h i s a d v i c e . T h e D o c t o r b e i n g d e c i d e d l y i g n o r a n t o f t h e h e b r e w t o n g u e , r e f e r r e d h i m t o D a n M ' C o r m i c k a n d t h e P r o f e s s o r , h a v i n g f o u n d h i m , h a d a l o n g a n d a m u s i n g c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h D a n o n m a n y e s o t e r i c s u b j e c t s . H i s c o n c l u s i o n , f r e e l y e x p r e s s e d a f t e r w a r d s w a s t h a t t h e T o w n D r u m m e r w o u l d h a v e m a d e D a n M ' C o r m i c k n e x c e l l e n t D o c t o r o f D i v i n i t y , w h l i e t h e D o c t o r o f D i v i n i t y w a s o n l y f i t t o b e a T o w n D r u m m e r .

D a n M ' C o r m i c k d i e d o n 1 4 t h D e c e m b e r 1 8 3 2 h a v i n g b e e n i n t h e s e r v i c e o f t h e t o w n f o r o v e r 3 0 y e a r s . T h e o f f i c e o f t o w n d r u m m e r c o n t i n u e d a f t e r h i s d e a t h w h e n J o h n F r a s e r w a s a p p o i n t e d a n d h e l d o f f i c e f r o m 1 8 3 3 t o 1 8 5 1 . J a m e s B a i r d s u c c e e d e d h i m 1 8 5 1 - 1 8 7 1 a n d t h e l a s t d r u m m e r o f D u n d e e w a s G r a h a m L a i n g w h o h e l d o f f i c e u n t i l 1 8 7 8 .

H a u n t e d D u n d e e - A . H . M i l l a r 1 9 2 3 .