Aiken Drum

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"Aiken Drum" is a popular Scottish folk song and nursery rhyme, which probably has its origins in a Jacobite song about the Battle of Sheriffmuir (1715). It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 2571.

Lyrics[edit]

Lyrics from 1899

Modern versions of the lyrics include:

There was a man lived in the moon, lived in the moon, lived in the moon,
There was a man lived in the moon,
And his name was Aiken Drum.

Chorus
And he played upon a ladle, a ladle, a ladle,
And he played upon a ladle,
and his name was Aiken Drum.

And his hat was made of good cream cheese, of good cream cheese, of good cream cheese,
And his hat was made of good cream cheese,
And his name was Aiken Drum.

And his coat was made of good roast beef, of good roast beef, of good roast beef,
And his coat was made of good roast beef,
And his name was Aiken Drum.

And his buttons made of penny loaves, of penny loaves, of penny loaves,
And his buttons made of penny loaves,
And his name was Aiken Drum.

And his waistcoat was made of crust pies, of crust pies, of crust pies,
And his waistcoat was made of crust pies,
And his name was Aiken Drum.

And his breeches made of haggis bags, of haggis bags, of haggis bags,
And his breeches made of haggis bags,
And his name was Aiken Drum.[1]

Other versions of the song include the lyrics:

His hat was made of guid cream cheese,

His coat was made of fine rost beef,

His buttons were made of bawbee baps, (a bread roll, costing a halfpenny),

His breeks (/breechs) were made of haggis sacks,

His hair was made of spaghetti.

Origins[edit]

The rhyme was first printed by James Hogg in Jacobite Reliques in 1820, as a Jacobite song about the Battle of Sheriffmuir (1715):

Ken ye how a Whig can fight, Aikendrum, Aikendrum

Ken ye how a Whig can fight, Aikendrum

He can fight the hero bright, with his heels and armour tight

And the wind of heavenly night, Aikendrum, Aikendrum

Is not Rowley in the right, Aikendrum!

Did ye hear of Sunderland, Aikendrum, Aikendrum

Did ye hear of Sunderland, Aikendrum

That man of high command, who has sworn to clear the land

He has vanished from our strand, Aikendrum, Aikendrum,

Or the eel has ta'en the sand, Aikendrum.

Donald's running 'round and 'round, Aikendrum, Aikendrum,

Donald's running 'round and 'round, Aikendrum

But the Chief cannot be found, and the Dutchmen they are drowned

And King Jaime he is crowned, Aikendrum, Aikendrum

But the dogs will get a stound, Aikendrum.

We have heard of Whigs galore, Aikendrum, Aikendrum

We have heard of Whigs galore, Aikendrum

But we've sought the country o'er, with cannon and claymore,

And still they are before, Aikendrum, Aikendrum

We may seek forevermore, Aikendrum!

Ken ye how to gain a Whig, Aikendrum, Aikendrum

Ken ye how to gain a Whig, Aikendrum

Look Jolly, blythe and big, take his ain blest side and prig,

And the poor, worm-eaten Whig, Aikendrum, Aikendrum

For opposition's sake you will win!

ludes the words:

Sir Walter Scott in his novel The Antiquary (1816) refers to Aiken Drum in a story told by an old beggar about the origins of what has been perceived by the protagonist as a Roman fort. The beggar tells him that it was actually built by him and others for "auld Aiken Drum's bridal" and that one of the masons cut the shape of a ladle into the stone as a joke on the bridegroom. The reference suggests that the rhyme, and particularly the chorus, was well enough known in the early nineteenth century for the joke to be understood.[2]

The Brownie of Blednoch[edit]

Aiken Drum is also the name given by the Scottish poet William Nicholson to the brownie in his poem "The Brownie of Blednoch" (1825). Although this has led some folklorists to speculate that the song may derive from older fairy legends, there is no evidence of the name being used for a brownie prior to Nicholson.[3][4]

Performances[edit]

One version of a melody for Aiken Drum

The Scottish storytelling group, Macastory, perform this song for children in an interactive way by allowing the children to decide the foods of which Aiken Drum is made. One such version recorded by The Singing Kettle is included on their CD Singalong Songs from Scotland, produced in 2003 for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.[5]

Popular Armenian-Canadian children's singer Raffi played a version of the song, called "Aikendrum," on his album Singable Songs for the Very Young (1976).[6] Raffi's version of the song is about Aikendrum's face. The foods used are: spaghetti for his hair, meatballs for his eyes, cheese for his nose, and pizza for his mouth.

Popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 52–4.
  2. ^ Sir Walter Scott, The Antiquary (1816) Archived 2006-09-08 at the Wayback Machine., accessed 25/04/09.
  3. ^ Briggs, Katharine (1976). An Encyclopedia of Fairies. Pantheon Books. p. 2. ISBN 0394409183.
  4. ^ "Scottish Country Dance – The Brownie of Blednoch"
  5. ^ Cd liner notes: The Singing Kettle — Singalong Songs from Scotland, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2003.
  6. ^ R. Reid, Children's Jukebox: A Subject Guide to Musical Recordings and Programming Ideas for Songsters Ages One to Twelve, (ALA Editions, 1995), p. 98.
  7. ^ J. May, The Nonborn King; The Adversary (Doubleday, 1984)..