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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleFollow the drum
Roud No.1076
Collected FromUnknown
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 168
Source SecondaryUnpublished
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

When Europe was, some time ago,
Beneath the heel of Napoleon,
Then all went out to meet the foe,
To follow the flag and follow the drum;
Then rich and poor an oath did swear,
And battle did repair,
Lord, dukes and squires, and tallow chandlers,
All in one ship set sail for Flanders.

Verse 2

Roger swore he'd leave his plough,
His team and tillage - all by gum,
Of a country life he'd had enow,
He'd leave it all and follow the drum;
He'd leave his thrashing in the barn,
To thrash his foes right soon he'd learn,
With his foes he would not parley,
But thrash them well instead of barley.

Verse 3

The cobbler he threw by his awl,
When all were glad he'd never be glum,
But quick attend to glory's call,
And like a man would follow the drum;
No more at home he'd be a slave,
But take his seat amidst the brave,
In battle's seat none should be prouder,
Stead of balls of wax he'd have balls and powder.

Verse 4

The tailor he got off his knees,
And to the ranks did boldly come,
He said he ne'er would sit at ease,
But follow the rest and follow the drum;
How he'd leather his foes, Good Lord!
When he'd a bodkin for a sword,
The French should find he did not wheedle,
When he'd a bodkin for a needle.

Verse 5

Three old women - the first was lame,
The second was blind, the third nigh dumb,
To stay behind was a burning shame,
They'd follow the men and follow the drum;
Our wills are good but, lack-a-day!
To catch the soldiers we will try for it,
For where there's a will there's always a way,
We'll walk a mile or two if we die for it.

Verse 6

Twas in the merry month of May,
When bees from flower to flower did hum,
Soldiers through the town marched gay,
The village flew to the sound of the drum;
From windows lasses looked a score,
Neighbours met at every door,
Sergeant twirled his sash and story,
And talked of honour, wounds and glory.
Print Song Lyrics
The usual introduction is missing but in pencil is the following:

[Old ballad sheet] Clift, printer, Cirencester.

Verse 1, Line 1

The first two words are partially obscured but are probably correct.

Verse 2, Lines 1 and 2

Crossed out is:

Bold Hodge is made of valiant stuff,
His team [illegible] he took home,

Verse 3, Line 8

Instead of balls of wax he have balls of powder

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2007.



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