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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleDeserter
Roud No.1655
Collected FromWall, Jane Mrs.
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 80
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 29th July, 1916, p 3, No. 5
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Once I thought I never should be,
In this dejected state,
A poor distracted effigy,
Exposed to hardships great;
The birds that flutter in the breeze,
Strike terror to my heart,
And every star alarmeth me,
Oh, why did I desert?

Verse 2

'Twas liquors caused me to go astray,
And from my colours fly,
What a poor coward I was that day!
The same I cannot deny,
'Twas liquors caused me to go astray,
And baffled every thought,
My life is now a scene of woe,
Oh, why did I desert?

Verse 3

'Twas under cover of a tree,
Where I was forced to lie,
To shelter from my enemies,
Although my friends were nigh,
Just like an owl that hides by day,
I dare not show my face,
But on my journey I will pursue,
And seek some friendly place.

Verse 4

My brother he came riding by,
Not knowing I was there,
My voice aloud to him did cry,
But me he could not hear,
His horse was borne from me away,
I could not bring him to,
And here distressed I must lie,
Not knowing what to do.

Verse 5

My sword and sack, and blue coat too,
To them I left behind,
The boots and spurs from off my feet,
For them I did not mind.
To the Light Horse I bade adieu,
It once was my delight
And on my journey I will pursue,
And travel through the night.
Print Song Lyrics
Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'The following, if it has no special merits, may claim to be of great age. It was sung by the grandmother of my contributor, who is now an elderly woman. Words of Mrs Jane Wall, Driffield, Cirencester.'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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