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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleTo beat the drum again
Roud No.226
Collected FromCook, Frank Cuthbert
LocationBurford
CountyOxfordshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Oxfordshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Ox 248
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 29th July, 1916, p 3, Part 39, No. 6
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

When I was a young girl, at the age of sixteen,
I from my parents ran away to go and serve the Queen,
I enlisted in the army like another private man,
And very soon they taught me how to beat upon the drum.

Verse 2

My waist it being slender, and my fingers long and small,
Very soon I learned to beat the drum the best among them all;
The sergeant that enlisted me said I was a nice young man -
"And I'll think you'll make a drummer, so it's come along, my man."

Verse 3

They sent me up to London to go and guard the Tower,
And there I might have been until this very day and hour,
But a young girl fell in love with me, and she proved I was a maid,
And straight unto my officer my secret she betrayed.

Verse 4

My officer then sent for me to know if it was true -
"For such a thing I can't believe, nor won't believe of you."
"O yes it's true, dear officer," she smiled and then he said -
"It's a pity we should lose you, such a drummer you have made."

Verse 5

"So fare you well, dear officer! You have been kind to me,
And fare you well my comrades! You must sometimes think of me;
And should you be in want of men, why this I do attain -
I'll take off my hat and feathers and, I'll beat the drum again."
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'The circumstances of a young woman enlisting in the Army had a peculiar fascination for ballad writers in the early part of the last century, and many pieces dealing with the theme are current. The one here given was popular at Filkins and south east Gloucestershire. Words of Frank Cook, Burford.'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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