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THE HIGHLAND DIVISION'S FAREWELL TO SICILY
Tune : Farewell to the Creeks
Hamish Henderson

 

                                                        The pipie is dozie, the pipie is fey;
                                                        He winna come roon' for his vino the day.
                                                        The sky ow'r Messina is unco and grey,
                                                        An' a' the bricht chaulmers are eerie.

                                                        Then fareweel, ye banks o' Sicily
                                                        Fare ye weel ye valley and shaw,
                                                        There's nae Jock will mourn the kyles o' ye,
                                                        Puir bliddy swaddies are weary
 

                                                        Fareweel, ye banks o' Sicily,
                                                        Fare ye weel ye valley and shaw.
                                                        There's nae hame can smoor the wiles o' ye,
                                                        Puir bliddy swaddies are weary.

                                                        Then doon the stair and line the water-side,
                                                        Wait your turn, the ferry's awa',
                                                        Then doon the stair and line the water-side,
                                                        A' the bricht chaulmers are eerie.
 

                                                        The drummie is polisht, the drummie is braw -
                                                        He canna be seen for his webbin' ava.
                                                        He's beezed himsel' up for a photy an a'
                                                        Tae leave wi' his Lola, his dearie.

                                                        Sae fare weel, ye dives o' Sicily,
                                                        ( Fare ye weel, ye shieling an' ha' );
                                                        We'll a' mind shebeens and bothies
                                                        Whaur kind signorinas were cheerie.

                                                        Fareweel , ye banks o' Sicily
                                                        ( Fare ye weel, ye shieling an' ha' );
                                                        We'll a' mind shebeens and bothies
                                                        Whaur Jock made a date wi' his dearie.

                                                        Then tune the pipes an' drub the tenor drum
                                                        ( Leave your kit this side o' the wa' );
                                                        Then tune the pipes an' drub the tenor drum.
                                                        A' the bricht chaulmers are eerie.
 

Footnote : The death on Friday 8th March 2002 of Hamish Henderson, at the age of 82, has robbed us of a celebrated Scottish poet, songwriter and folklorist. His invaluable work for the School of Scottish Studies, his poetry and songs will live on long after his death. I first heard and met Hamish Henderson at the opening of the Rosyth Folk Club in the early 60s and last heard him singing in a pub session at the Auchtermuchty Folk Festival a few years ago. As a tribute to Seumas Mor this weeks song is one of his best known. It is based on his own wartime experiences and is probably the best ballad to emerge from the Second World War. After service in north Africa, Captain Hamish Henderson saw action in Sicily before taking part in the invasion of Italy in 1943. See 'The Rebels Ceilidh Song Book' for two more of his songs -  his salute to the Knoydart Land Raiders, 'Men of Knoydart' and his international anthem 'The Freedom Come-All-Ye'. 

 

 


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