Cotter's Lament - Nancy Niles (words) and James Prescott (music)


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Cotter's Lament

Words copyright © 1987 Nancy Niles, music copyright © 1988 James Prescott

( Click on MP3 to listen to an MP3 version of the tune. )

cotter's lament music

The corn is all down in the back broken fields,
Trampled by war shodden hooves.
The only harvest this fall's going to yield
Will come from the thatch of our rooves.

But them that's what started it don't give a damn,
Them and their bloody damn war.
They've no more thought for the heart of the land,
Than a saint for the arms of a whore.

And where's it all going? And where will it end?
With our lives running cold in a ditch.
Ballads can sing of Maid Death's gentle hand --
Merde, she's naught but a frigid black bitch.

But the nobles dance on, playing quality games,
Singing songs to the tune of cold steel.
They'll random their honour with land put to flame,
Leave the rest for wild winter to kill.

I am not with the devil, I kneel down to God
Whom I see every day in the soil;
But the seed that I planted this morning was mine --
Two boys and a sweet baby girl.

They had made the mistake of supposing, y'see,
That they had the same right to this life
As the spur pricking hero who slaughtered them down,
Just before he did same to me wife.

We were tillers of land, and that's all that we asked,
To help let the goodly things grow.
Because we weren't born to the weapons of war,
Does that make us the any less whole?

He laughed at my question, he sneered at my tears.
For his death I've been put to the horn.
But till kites and kings are all wearied of war,
There'll be one less to trample the corn.




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