A Tune on a Reed


I HAVE a pipe of oaten straw,

 I play upon it when I may,

And the music that I draw

 Is as happy as the day.

It has seven holes, and I

 Play upon it high and low;

I can make it laugh and cry,

 I can make it banish woe.

Any tune you like to name

 I will play it at the word,

Old or new is all the same,

 I'm as ready as a bird.

No one pipes so happily,

 Not a piper can succeed

When I lean against a tree

 Blowing gently on my reed.


But there is a tune, and though

 I try to play it day and night,

Blowing high and blowing low,

 I can never get it right.

I know the tune without a flaw,

 And yet that tune I cannot play

On my pipe of oaten straw,

 Though I practise night and day.

It seems to me I never will

 Play again the happy air

Which I heard upon a hill

 When the Shee were dancing there.

Little pipe! be good to me!

 And play the tune I want to play,

Or I will smash you on a tree,

 And throw your wicked halves away.

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