Old Orange Flute


In the county Tyrone, in the town of Dungannon
Where many a ruckus me-self had a hand in
Bob Williamson lived there, a weaver by trade
And all of us thought him a stout-hearted blade
On the twelfth of July as it yearly did come
Bob played on the flute to the sound of the drum
You can talk of your fiddles, your harp or your lute
But there’s nothing could sound like the Old Orange Flute

But Bob, the deceiver, he took us all in
He married a Papist named Bridget McGinn
Turned Papish himself and forsook the Old Cause
That gave us our freedom, religion and laws
The boys in the place made some comment upon it
And Bob had to flee to the province of Connaught
Took with him his wife and his fixings, to boot
And along with the latter, the old Orange Flute

Each Sunday at mass, to atone for past deeds
Bob said Paters and Aves and counted his beads
Till one Sunday morn, at the priest’s own require
Bob went for to play with the flutes in the choir
He went for to play with the flutes in the mass
But the instrument quivered and cried ‘O Alas’
And blow as he would, though he made a great noise
The flute would play only ‘The Protestant Boys’

Bob jumped up and huffed, and was all in a flutter
He pitched the old flute in the best holy water
He thought that this charm would bring some other sound
When he tried it again, it played ‘Croppies Lie Down’
And for all he would finger and twiddle and blow
For to play Papish music, the flute would not go
‘Kick the Pope’ to ‘Boyne Water’ was all it would sound
Not one Papish bleat in it could ever be found

At a council of priests that was held the next day
They decided to banish the old Flute away
They couldn’t knock heresy out of its head
So they bought Bob another to play in its stead
And the old Flute was doomed, and its fate was pathetic
’twas fastened and burnt at the stake as heretic
As the flames rose around it, you could hear a strange noise
’twas the Old Flute still playing ‘The Protestant Boys’

Tyrone 1

Songs of Tyrone