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(Source-Josiah Kennison, Townshend, VT)

I used to sing a British version of this song long ago and I was delighted to find this Americanized version in the collection. I always loved the line “The lady held the horse while the soldier fought the battle.”

lyrics

I'll tell you of a soldier who lately came from sea
He courted a lady of high frisk o' free
Her riches were so great they scarcely could be told
But yet she loved the soldier because he was so bold

She said my brave soldier I would be your wife
But I fear my cruel father will surely take your life
He drew his sword and his pistol and he hung them by his side
And he swore that he would marry her and let what would betide

As they were going to church one day and on returning home again
Up steps her cruel father with sevne armored men
“Oh then” cries the lady “I fear we shall be slain”
Fear nothing, my jewel” the soldier says again

Then up stepped the old man in form he did saying
“Is this your behaviour or is it your wedding day?
Altho you've been as silly as to be a soldier's wife
All in this pleasant valley, I will end your sweet life.”

Then up stepped the soldier, “I do not like this rattle
Altho I am a bridegroom and not prepared for battle.”
He drew his sword and pistol and he caused them to rattle
The lady held the horse while the soldier fought the battle

The first man he came to he soon had him slain.
The second one he came to, he served him the same.
“Oh run,” cries the rest, “I fear we shall be slain
For a fight with a soldier is altogether in vain”

“Stay your hand” the old man cries, “Don't carry on so bold.
And you can have my daughter and ten thousand pound in gold”
“Fight on,” cried the lady, “My portion is too small”
“Oh stay your hand,” the old man cried “and you can have it all!”

The old man took him home with him and treated him as an heir
Tis not because he loved him but it was for dread and fear
There never was a soldier twas fit to carry a gun
That would either flinch or stir inch 'til the battle he had won

Despise not a soldier because he is poor
He's as happy on the battlefield as at the barracks door
His brave, brisk and bold and sociable and free
And willing to fight for his love and for his liberty

credits

from Dad's Dinner Pail and Other Songs From the Helen Hartness Flanders Collection, released July 26, 2005
Debra Cowan:Vocals
Micahel DeLalla: Guitar
Chas Fowler: Whistles

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Debra Cowan Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Singer Debra Cowan performs a cappella and with guitar, interpreting a wide range of folk songs. Debra has two acclaimed solo recordings to her credit, and her third, “Fond Desire Farewell” was produced by former Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks. A former California resident, she now resides in Massachusetts and tours all over North America and the United Kingdom. ... more

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