Digital Tradition Mirror

Piper's Refrain (Duncan Campbell)

Piper's Refrain (Duncan Campbell)
(Rich Nardin)

I'll tell it to you as they told it to me
By the glow of the campfire burning.
By the banks of the water where we sported and played,
They once faced the fury of battle.

CHO: And up through the Champlain came the Highland Brigade
     The pipes and the drummer played "Scotland the Brave."
     But when they sailed home the piper's refrain
     Was, Oh, how cruel the volley."

To one Duncan Campbell it came in a dream
That he'd meet his fate where he never had been;
Where the blue waters roll and the stickerbush tear,
It's "Travel well, Duncan, I'll wait for you there.

"For the French and the Indian have challenged our King."
(To a soldier like Duncan, no need to explain.)
"It's many a time I've travelled the waves
To find my fate in the fire."

From Fort William Henry their boats have shoved off
To the North of Lake George in the morning;
To the place the Frenchmen call Carillon,
And the Indians: Ticonderoga.

And the word struck Duncan like a thunderbolt there;
Everyone knew of the warning.
"Oh, give us a tune to remember me by,
For tomorrow I'll not be returning."

When the gunpowder flashed, the Highlanders died,
Never again to walk the hillside.
In the wilderness green, in the sun and the rain,
It's here they're forever remaining.

And I've told it to you as they told it to me,
Of one Duncan Campbell and the Highland Brigade.
When the campfires flicker in the summertime's wane,
through the mist on the water comes the piper's refrain.

(There are two songs (at least) about Duncan Campbell, the Highland
Brigade, and the French and Indian War.  One by Margaret MacArthur
and the other this one by Rick Nardin. Margaret's song starts with
the death of the cousin, the other starts in Canada.
It is a wonderful legend.  Duncan Campbell is woken one night with a
friend at the door asking to be hidden from pursuit and swears Duncan
to silence.  The search party arrives and says they are looking for the
man who killed Duncan's cousin.  Since Duncan promised, he says he has
not seen him.  The cousin's ghost comes and tell him he will die at
Ticonderoga.  Years later, Duncan and his son are in a hieland brigade
in the French and Indian War and are marching toward a fort with a
French name, "but the Indians call Ticonderoga".  They try to keep
the name from Duncan (they have heard the tale) and when he finds out,
he knows he will die in the battle.  H
Copyright 1983, Bop Talk Music
Recorded by Bok, Muir and Trickett on "And So Will We Yet"

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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