Sunday Poetry – Soldiers and Sailors

Another folk song about a soldier but this time a drummer & a female at that. There were several women who disguised themselves as men & joined the army or navy. The most famous is probably James Miranda Barry, who joined the army as a surgeon. This young girl wanted a life of adventure & seems to have enjoyed the life until she was betrayed. It’s called The Female Drummer.

When I was a young girl, the age of sixteen
I from my parents ran away and went to serve the queen
I enlisted in the army like another private man
And very soon they learnt me for to beat upon the drum
For to beat upon the drum, for to beat upon the drum
And very soon they learnt me for to beat upon the drum.

They sent me to my quarters, they sent me to my bed
And lying by a soldier’s side I did not feel afraid
For in taking off my red coat I oftentimes did smile
To think myself a drummer but a maiden all the while
But a maiden all the while, but a maiden all the while
To think myself a drummer but a maiden all the while.

They sent me up to London for there to mind the Tower
And there I might have been until this very day and hour
Till a young girl fell in love with me, I told her I was a maid
She went unto my officer, my secret she betrayed
My secret she betrayed, my secret she betrayed
She went unto my officer, my secret she betrayed.

My officer sent for me to see if it was true
I smiled, O I smiled, I told him it was true
He looked upon me kindly, and these are the words he said
“It’s a pity we should lose you, such a drummer as you made”
Such a drummer as you made, such a drummer as you made
“It’s a pity we should lose you, such a drummer as you made.”

O fare you well, dear officer, you have been kind to me
And fare you well, dear colonel, will you please remember me
If the war it should break out again and you are short of men
I’ll put on my hat and feathers and I’ll beat the drum again
And I’ll beat the drum again, and I’ll beat the drum again
I’ll put on my hat and feathers and I’ll beat the drum again.

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