The Ould Orange Flute

We have collaborated with The Queen's University Ulster Society in the creation of an online songbook of orange, loyal order and ulster patriot songs and poems, so over the year we'll be highlighting some of our favourites. This one is a perennial at the 12th and other orange social gatherings, a little tongue in cheek, but fun none the less.

The Ould Orange Flute
(Air — “The Protestant Boys”)

In the County Tyrone, near the town of Dungannon,
Where many a ruction myself had a hand in
Bob Williamson lived a weaver to trade,
And all of us thought him a stout Orange blade.

On the twelfth of July as it yearly did come,
Bob played on the flute to the sound of the drum.
You may talk of your harp, your piano, or lute,
But nothing could sound like the ould Orange flute.

But this treacherous scoundrel took us all in,
For he married a Papish call Bridget M’Ginn,
And turned Papish himself, and forsook the ould cause
That gave us our freedom, religion, and laws.

Now the boys in the townland made some noise upon it,
And Bob had to fly to the province of Connaught;
He fled with his wife and fixings to boot,
Along with the others the ould Orange flute.

At the Chapel on Sundays to atone for past deeds,
He said Pater and Ayes and counted his beads,
Till after some time at the Priests’ own desire,
He went with his ould flute to play in the choir;

He went with his ould flute to play in the Mass,
And the instrument shivered and sighed, Oh, alas!
When he blew it and fingered and made a great noise,
The flute would play only “the Protestant Boys.”

Bob jumped and he started and got into a splutter,
And threw his ould flute in the blessed holy water;
He thought that this charm would bring some other sound,
But when he blew it again it played “Croppies lie down.”

And all he could whistle, and finger, and blow,
To play Papish music he found it no go.
“Kick the Pope,” “The Boyne Water,” and such like it would sound,
But one Papish squeak in it couldn’t be found.

At a council of priests that was held the next day,
They decided to banish the ould flute away,
For they couldn’t knock heresy out of its head.
So they bought Bob another to play in its stead.

So the ould flute was doomed and its fate was pathetic,
It was fastened and burned at the stake as a heretic;
While the flames roared around it they heard a strange noise,
‘Twas the ould flute still whistling “The Protestant Boys.”

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