Napier's Bones - Hand of Glory

from by Raising Steam

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The original track is available on Napier's Bones' 'The Wistman Tales' album.
Generously donated by Napier's Bones to Raising Steam III.
napiersbones.bandcamp.com

lyrics

The Storyteller :

A mile or more beyond the town where Roman beacons burned
A long established hostelry, it stands all alone
The track that marks the entrance, often missed from the road
The turnpike has fallen quiet, none will call here tonight
As the dizzy whirls of sleet announce the storm

Bella the maid dims the lamps and bolts the door
The landlord George smiles and counts his takings after Bowes Fair
The roof creaks and groans as the wind bears down from Stainmore
Alone, enclosed, they won't see another soul
As they say their prayers to save them from the storm

Waves of rain and snow spiral down
Consumed by fear & darkness, heartbeats quicken now
They're deafened by the howling screaming sound
Then it's broken by a knocking at the door
A feeble cry of "Help me" then no more

The Occupants :

Who stands outside? A wet bedraggled old woman bent double no less
Come quickly inside! Dry clothes, warm milk, our Bella will help you undress

The Traveller :

"Nothing I can say can repay you for your kindness sir
I lost the track as day turned into night
A pauper's widow I, can no longer pay my way
My daughter waits in Brough for me, I'll leave you at first light"

The Occupants :

Sit by the Fire! No payment required when we answer a traveller's distress
Before we retire - we'll see that you're well, now take what you need and God bless

The Traveller :

"Let me say again, I don't want food or drink
Despite my situation, I still retain some pride
Now talking tires me so, I beg you let me rest
Don't touch my cloak or clothing! Just take yourself to bed!"

Let all who rest be drawn into the deepest sleep
Let those who dare to stay awake, unerringly their vigils keep
Hand of glory, keep their heavy eyelids closed
Revealing hidden riches whilst your magic taper glows

Stolen from a gibbet corpse, wrapped in a funeral shroud
Dried out with saltpeter, I command thee now
Hand of Glory, Shining Bright
Guide Your rightful owner to their rightful spoils tonight

The Storyteller:

Though she feigned to sleep, Bella watched the stranger's movements
Disturbed by their growling voice and the hood that hid their face
Surprised to see new riding boots on a pauper's wife
Then the trav'ler rose to six feet tall and slid the bolt from the door
From the folds of a steaming cloak withdrew a dead man's wizened hand
Lit the candle in its grip then the ritual began

The Traveller:

Hand of Glory where Roman signal beacons burned
I call on age-old wisdom, let the dead man's fire return
In the house where your light burns, in vain the sleepers turn
The killer's hand holds them tight, alive will be as dead tonight

From the gallow's pole to High Stainmore
Hand of Glory, do all I desire tonight

The Storyteller:

Bella ran and cried for help - but no one came
Sleepers trapped under the spell of that unholy flame
She recalled Grandmother's tales, about the Hand of Cain
Candles fashioned from a murderer, only witchcraft could sustain
She grabbed the milk jug by the range, she doused the hand
The eerie glow was gone, then with his shotgun George appeared!

The Gang :

Give up the Hand! We don't want to harm you!
Give up the Hand, and we won't return
We have you surrounded, powerful witchcraft
Terrible vengeance, don't make us come in!

Give up the hand, give up the hand!
Give up the hand, give up the hand!
Give up the hand - you force us to enter
Give up the hand - no quarter applies

The Landlord:

I don't fear your witchcraft!
There were others before you
Who broadened my learning
Here's my reply.....

The Storyteller:

Though many years have passed and the story has become folklore
Many still believe the Hand of Glory is on Stainmore
The Spital Inn the legend says, but no-one's really sure
After all, it's only make believe....

But if you're travelling late at night in Winter weather foul and
You lose the road then spy a coaching inn you never knew about and
You see a warm and welcome glow, the sign says "Vacancies"
Don't fall asleep in that hostelry tonight

Shine on, shine on, shine on
From the Gallow's Pole to High Stainmore
Hand of Glory, sleep well tonight

credits

from Raising Steam III, released March 2, 2017
(c) Napier's Bones

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Raising Steam Reading, UK

Raising Steam is the soundtrack to a virtual festival, raising funds for a registered charity, New Futures Nepal (reg no 1142984).

THANK YOU to all the bands, artists and those involved who have given permission for their music to be included in these downloads.
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