Henry's Songbook

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Gentleman Soldier

  • (Trad) Tune: Drumdelgie (John Grumlie)

    And the drums they go with a rat-a-tat-tat
    And the fifes do loudly play
    Saying, Fare thee well my Polly dear
    I must be going away

    It's of a gentleman soldier on sentry he did stand
    He kindly saluted a fair maid with a waving of his hand
    So boldly then he kissed her and he passed it as a joke
    Then he drilled her in his sentry-box wrapped up in a soldier's cloak

    Oh come you gentleman soldier, and won't you marry me
    Oh no my dearest Polly, this thing can never be
    Fo married I am already and children I have three
    Two wives are allowed in the army but one's too many for me

    It's come my gentleman soldier, why didn't you tell me so
    My parents will be angry when this they come to know
    When nine long months was up and passed,
    this poor girl she brought shame
    She had a little militia boy and she didn't know his name

    If anyone comes a-courting you you treat him to a glass
    If anyone comes a-courting you say you're a country lass
    You needn't even tell him that you ever played this joke
    That ever you drilled in a sentry box wrapped up in a soldier's cloak

    (as sung by The Spinners)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1959:] This jaunty song, common in the army and quoted by Kipling in 'Soldiers Three', has rarely found its way into the conventional song collections. The text, printed in incomplete form in the Folk Song Journal, is amplified from a Somerset version collected by H. E. D. Hammond and not hitherto published. The melody is a military-sounding version of the widespread tune called Drumdelgie in Scotland and Dydd Llun y Boreu in Wales. (EFS114)

  • [1967:] An example of the husband's infidelity seeming unimportant. People in countries occupied by the British for centuries may well have wished that her soldiery had acted in a similar way to this guard more often; indeed stories and legends abound in which the attention of a guard is diverted by a beautiful woman with drastic consequences. The lady in this song, however, seems to have had no altruistic motives; she seemed to be minding her own business. Collected in Sussex. (Notes Martin Carthy, 'Byker Hill')

  • [1972:] When we served our time, the days of cloaks were pretty well over. However, it is fairly certain that the incident portrayed here is repeated to this day. (Notes The Spinners, 'Love Is Teasing')

  • [1973:] I don't know if it's true that two wives were ever allowed in the army, but here's another song where the man has all the pleasure and the girl has all the babies. Pete Seeger has stopped singing male supremacist folksongs which must have cut into his repertoire more than somewhat. (Dallas, Wars 67)

  • [1977:] To be loved and left by a soldier is one of the classic misfortunes which women suffer in songs. Equally classic is the desire to follow, either in disguise, or in propria persona. (Palmer, Soldier 135)


Quelle: England

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 Sammlung : Susanne Kalweit (Kiel)
Layout : Henry Kochlin  (Schwerin)

aktualisiert am 08.02.2000