> Martin Carthy > Songs > Three Cripples

Three Cripples

[ Roud 2422 ; Ballad Index ReSh101 ; trad.]

Martin Carthy sang and played Three Cripples, accompanied by John Kirkpatrick on accordion, on his 1979 album Because It's There. Carthy commented in the record's sleeve notes:

(I learnt) the Three Cripples and the Siege of Delhi from Hamish Henderson in Padstow and at Mervyn Vincent's house in St Issy on May Day a couple of years ago.

Lyrics

Three cripples from London all out on the spree
They went down to the country
They ate they drank three down or more
And they swore somebody would pay the score

Sing rumpty tumpty tiddly ti do
Diddlety more

And when the time to pay did come
They called the waiter into the room
Says one of them Here take charge of my eye
Says the other one Here lay these teeth by

Sing rumpty tumpty tiddly ti do
Diddlety more

The waiter he ran downstairs in a fright
And he told his master with all of his might
Oh Lord if upstairs you had been
And you'd seen the sights that I've just seen

For they're pulling out arms and eyes like fun (?)
And they're screwing their legs off one by one

Sing rumpty tumpty tiddly ti do
Diddlety more

They sent for the parson to come to pray
To try to drive them all away
But nothing wouldn't do till a soldier came
For they didn't value him nor his name

Sing rumpty tumpty tiddly ti do
Diddlety more

Oh the soldier he smiled through all the spree
And he went and told the company
He says if they'd all go away
Their shots were all settled they'd nothing to pay

So they screwed on their legs and they hopped away

Sing rumpty tumpty tiddly ti do
Diddlety more

Acknowledgements

Transcribed by Garry Gillard.