W 35 The Drum 
                         Lady Viridis Aletha Solari

I'm here to tell the tale of the drum of Niall Fenn
Who marched out with his laird to drum the men
It mattered not that Niall was the youngest o' the clan
He was proud to stand wi' the men of MacArran
As he reached the gate, young Niall he did turn
He swore to his mother he would return
They marched wearin' the tartan to fight the English war
They vanished out onto the misty moor

"Play your drum so loudly, laddie
Play your drum so low!
Give us a beat to move our feet
We've a long, long way to go!
We'll march all night by the moonlight bright
Up the hills and down,
Before the sunlight turns the sky
We'll rest in a friendly town!"

In the cellar of a tavern the laird took his men to rest
Until the night had fallen in the west
"Be of good heart, brave highland lads, 
and hold your daggers tight,
We'll be hunting down those English curs tonight!"
But little did he know that a serving girl above
Had an English soldier for her love,
She sent to him a message, "O, Love, come stay with me,
Tonight your camp is no safe place to be!"

"Muffle your drum tonight, my lad
And ready hold your blade,
We'll catch those English unawares
With a daring midnight raid,
While they sleep in the forest deep
Our forces will surround,
Tonight Scots swords with England's blood
Will feed the thirsty ground!"

Into the grove the Scotsmen charged, sure to find their prey
Only to find that victims now were they!
English blades dealt death beneath the cold moonlight
Though the laird like a lion he did fight
His people fell like shadows, ne'er to rise again
Until the laird himself joined the slain
The English cut down everyone, and hung them to a man
Until Niall was the last of MacArran

A blow from behind drove Niall to the ground
His drum let out a hollow, broken sound
"What use is a drummer boy who hasn't any drum?
But from where will a new drumskin come?"
So they laid him out and tied him across a mossy stone
Took a knife and flayed him to the bone
They left him bound and bleeding under the moonlit sky
With his slaughtered clan all hanging high

Niall, dinna close your eyes!
Niall, raise your head!
You've made a promise that you must keep
You've a duty to your dead!
The ropes that hold you are wet with blood
And loose enough to free
The dead are watching close at hand
Their vengeance waits on thee!

Half-mad with pain Niall rose to his blood-soaked feet
He walked the line where life and death doth meet
He braced his broken drum with the bones of his kin
Stretched o'er with his back's own bloody skin
From each man a token; a drop of blood so bright
Like fires set to burning in the night
His laird's own torn tartan he draped about his head
Then Niall set to drumming for the dead!

Rise up, rise up, my fallen kin
A dark wind is a-blow!
From heaven's gate I call you now
To hunt our English foe
By blood and bone, tree and stone
I draw you with my will
I'll drum us all to Hell and back
Our vengeance to fulfill!

"Oh, sir, what is that wind that has a foul, heated breath?
Like the open grave, it smells like Death!"
They turn to see a bloodless boy beating a fiendish drum
From the storm above his head the undead come!
The spirits of vengeance they fall upon their foe
What happened on that moor - none do know!
'Til the break of day their screams echoed in the air
As though the damned of Hell were tortured there!

Niall march them up the hill,
Niall march them down!
Niall march those Scottish men
To fight the English crown,
Niall marched them through the rain
He marched them day by day
He swore he'd bring them home again
Though all England bar the way!

Like a living nightmare, came Niall with his dead
"God save us all!" the people said
But Niall entered the castle courtyard all alone
The dead men outside had shrivell'd to bone
He kissed his mother and held her against his breast so tight
"God alone will judge if I did right!"
With a sigh he sank to his knees upon the floor
One last breath - and then he was no more.

The bones of MacArran now ring the castle walls
As long as they are there, 'twill never fall
'Tis said that the spirits of those loyal Scottish men
Await the day when they'll be needed again
I'm here to tell the tale of the drum of Niall Fenn
Which legend says will ne'er be heard again
But sometimes at midnight in the courtyard down below
You can hear the drum a-playin' soft and low

Niall drummed them up the hill
Niall drummed them down 
Niall drummed those Scottish men
To fight the English crown
Niall drummed them through the rain
He drummed them day by day
He swore he'd bring them home again
Though all Hell should bar the way!

Performer Viridis Aletha Solari