Cappy the Dog
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Terry Conway from Allandale, Northumberland: On Autumn Harvest ah010: Old Songs & Bothy Ballads: Hurrah Boys Hurrah! Live from the Fife Traditional Singing Festival May 2010.

The song was published in John Stokoe's Songs and Ballads of Northern England (1892) where it is attributed to a local writer William Mitford. In the book the song is titled Cappy, or the Pitman’s Dog and Stokoe suggests the tune, used for more that twenty Tyneside songs, is an old pantomime air called The Chapter of Kings.

The Dog Killing Tribe (verse 5) were men employed to scour the streets for stray dogs and kill them - to prevent the spread of rabies - a real threat, especially in a port. Liz Law reports that when she worked for Hartlepool Museums one of the collections in her care was the Robert Wood collection of ephemera - a collection from the printing house of John Procter of Hartlepool and West Hartlepool (whom Liz later discovered had been a distant relation). Amongst the huge collection are posters warning the populace of Hartlepool of the risk of rabies (called hydrophobia in one poster) and stating that stray dogs will be killed and that dog owners should keep their pet dog inside and not let them run loose.

1: In a toun near Newcastle a pitman did dwell,
With his wife called Peg, a tom cat and hissel,
A dog called Cappy, he doted upon,
Because it was left him by great uncle Tom.
And his name was Cappy, famous aud Cappy,
Cappy, the dog, tally ho, tally ho.

2: His tail pitcher handled, his colour jet black,
A foot and a half was the length of his back;
His legs seven inches from shoulders ta paws,
An his lugs like twae dockins hung doun ower his jaws.
And his name was Cappy, etc.

3: In huntin for varmints reet cliver was he,
An the hoose of all borglars his bark could keep free;
He cud both fetch an carry an sit on a stuil, (stool)
An when frisky he'd hunt wetter rats in a puil. (pool)
And his name was Cappy, etc.

4: One mornin ta market young Ralph did repair,
In his hatband a pipe an well kyem'd was his hair;
Ower his arm hung a basket, thus onward he speels,
An he entered Newcastle wi Cap at his heels.
And it’s weel bred Cappy, famous aud Cappy,
Cappy, the dog, tally ho, tally ho.

5: He scarcely had entered a foot o the Side,
When Ralphie fell in with the Dog Killing Tribe;
When an ill-looking feller slipped round in a crack,
And a bang on his skull laid him flat on his back.
Doun went Cappy, famous aud Cappy,
Cappy, the dog, tally ho, tally ho.

6: When Ralphie, extonished, Cap's fate did refine,
An his eyes like twae little pearl buttons did shine;
He clenched baith his fists, in a fury he grew,
My God, I’ll have satisfaction o thou.
For killing poor Cappy, famous aud Cappy,
Cappy, the dog, tally ho, tally ho.

7: Why the ill-lookin feller, his cudgel he raised,
And Ralphie eyed Cappy and stood there amazed,
And fearing beside him, he wad be layed doun,
Hoyed him inta the basket and bang’d oot o’ toun.
Away went Cappy, famous aud Cappy,
Cappy, the dog, tally ho, tally ho.

8: Why Ralph arrived breathless and he lifted the sneck,
And his wife exclaimed, "Ralphie, you're soon gettin back."
"Gettin back," replied Ralphie, "I wish I'd not gane,
In Newcastle they're killing dogs, lassies and men.
And they killed poor Cappy, famous aud Cappy,
Cappy, the dog, tally ho, tally ho."

9: If I gan ta Newcastle come oor next pay week,
I'll ken him again by the patch on his cheek;
Or if ivver he enters oor toun wiv his stick,
I'll bang him aroond till he's black as Aud Nick.
For killing poor Cappy, famous aud Cappy,
Cappy, the dog, tally ho, tally ho.

10: With tears in her eyes Peggy heard this sad tale,
While Ralph wi apprehension an terror grew pale,
And while Cappy’s transactions they sadly talked ower,
He crept oot o the basket quite brisk on the floor.
So its, "Weel done Cappy! Famous aud Cappy!"
Cappy, the dog, tally ho, tally ho.

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