Clout the Caldron (1)
X:2 T:Clout the Caldron  M:2/4 L:1/8 S:Stanford/Petrie (1905), No. 403 Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Bmin A | B/c/d/e/ dA | Bc df | ed cB | c2 BA | B/c/d/e/ dA | Bc df | ed cB | c2 BA | FE EF/A/ | BA FD | FE EF/A/ | B2 AF | FE EF/A/ | BA FD | FE EF/A/ | B2A ||
CLOUT THE CALDRON . AKA - "Clout the Cauldron." AKA and see "Hammermens' March (The)." Scottish, Irish; Air or March (cut or 2/4 time). A Minor (Thomson): B Minor (most versions). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Thomson): AABB (McGibbon, Stanford/Petrie): AABBCCDDEEFFGGHHIIJJ (Oswald). The tune is originally from a manuscript originally called the Guthrie MS. James Guthrie (c. 1612-61) was a minister beheaded in 1661 for writing a seditious pamphlet, but as a Covenanter he was no friend of dance music; apparently someone with a sense of humor sewed the music MS. into a book of Guthrie's sermons and speeches (Alburger). Some of the music, however, dates from after the time of Guthrie's demise, to around 1680. "Clout the Caldron" is one of the oldest Scottish dance tunes ever found.
The melody apparently was associated with the tinker's trade, as it appears as "Hammermens' March (The)" in James Aird's Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs (1782), with the alternate title "Tinker's Occupation." The Incorporation of Hammermen was the once-powerful metalworkers' guild.
There were bawdy, perhaps obscene, words to the tune in the 17th century. Poet Allan Ramsay often edited the blatant obscenity of old songs reworking them into mildly bawdy lyrics for his Tea Table Miscellany, and did so with "Clout the Caldon." Words to "Clout the Caldron" may also be found with vocal music in Thompson's Orpheus Caledoneus, vol. 2 (2nd ed., 1733, Song 25, p. 101).
Have you any pots or pans,
Or any broken chandlers?
I am a tinkler to my trade,
And newly come frae Flanders.
As scant of siller as of grace,
Disbanded, we've a bad-run;
Gar tell the lady of the place,
I'm come to clout her caldron.
Fa adrie, didle, didle, &c.
Robert Burns knew the tune from it's use songs he collected ("The Tinker" and "The Turnimspike"), and used it for one of his own lyrics, "My bonnie lass, I work in brass..." from his "Jolly Beggars" cantata. He also used it for two bawdy songs, "The Fornicator" and "Supper is na ready," both printed in his collection Merry Muses of Caledonia, published discretely in 1800, after the poets death.
Roseberry tae his lady says,
"My hinnie and my succour,
O shall we dae the thing ye ken,
Or shall we take oor supper?"
Wi' a riddle come a ra,
Wi' a fal come a ra,
Wi' a riddle come a randy.
Wi' modest face sae fu' o' grace,
Replies the bonny lady:
"My noble lord, do as you please,
But supper is nae ready.