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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleBanks of the Nile
Roud No.950
Collected FromWise, William
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Oxfordshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Ox 175
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 15th January, 1916, p 2, Part 14, No. 7
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Hark! I hear the drums a-beating,
Here no longer I can stay,
I hear the trumpet sounding,
Love, now we must away;
I'm ordered off to Portsmouth,
It's many a long mile,
For to join the British Army,
On the Banks of the Nile.

Verse 2

O Willie, dearest Willie,
Don't leave me hear to mourn,
Twill make me curse and rue the day,
That ever I was born;
With the parting of my own true love,
And the parting of his life,
If you'll stay at home dear William,
Then I will be your wife.

Verse 3

If not, I'll cut off my curly locks,
And I'll go along with you,
I'll dress myself in velveteen,
I'll go and see Egypt too;
I'll fight beneath your banner,
While fortune seems to smile,
On the cold, sandy desert,
On the Banks of the Nile.

Verse 4

O Nancy, dearest Nancy,
You must not go with me,
Our Colonel gave us orders,
That no women there must be;
We must forsake our sweethearts,
Likewise our native soil,
And we'll comfort one another,
On the Banks of the Nile.

Verse 5

It made curse and rue the day,
When the war it first began,
For old Ireland has been robbed,
Of many a clever young man;
But now the war is over,
We're all a-going home,
Unto our wives and sweethearts,
We left behind to mourn.
Print Song Lyrics
Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'This suggests the French expedition to Egypt planned by Napoleon in 1798, and frustrated by Nelson at the Battle of the Nile. I obtained the piece of William Wise, Alvescot, Oxfordshire.'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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