Composed in 1969, this 20-minute song cycle for tenor and piano sets several lyrics, rhymes and riddles by the Scottish poet William Soutar (1898–1943). The cycle interweaves the delightful short poems in Scots with the more serious and anguished English poems, contrasting the horrors of the warring outside world with the innocent, unselfconscious world of the young. The vocal inflection of Scots is brilliantly captured, and Britten is also adept at imparting a correspondingly nasal wheeze to the piano part, with its frequent suggestion of bagpipe or hurdy-gurdy.