The Soldier Boy (Kenneth Peacock)

My parents reared me tenderly,
I being their only son,
But little did they ever think
I'd follow the fife and drum;
They brought me up in the fear of God
and kept me from toil and woe,
Which ofttimes makes me sigh
and say I wish the wars were o'er.

To finish my education
I went to school awhile,
And by my good industry
I went there in proper style;
Until strong liquor got in my head
as I roamed over grass growing green,
It was with young Barbour I did enlist
to go and serve the Queen.

It was early day one morning
I asked him one request:
Would I be free and at liberty
when my ten long years were pressed?
And this reply he made to me
which grieved my heart full sore,
That I should go and serve the Queen
for twenty-one years or more.

I took the second bounty
not knowing it was for life,
It was little did I ever think
my gun would be my wife;
Since I left home I ofttimes sigh
for the girl I left on shore,
Love, don't mourn until I return
as soon as the wars are o'er.

####.... Author unknown ....####

Collected in 1952 by Kenneth Peacock from Mrs John (Amelia) Fogarty [b.1882] of Joe Batt's Arm, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports , Vol 3, pp.1018-1019, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Note ©2005 by Robert B Waltz, editor of the Traditional Ballad Index at CSU Fresno: "The reference to serving the Queen found in Peacock forces us to the reign of either Anne (reigned 1702-1714) or Victoria (1837-1901); there was no standing army in the time of Elizabeth. Enlistment was still for life early in Victoria's reign, but the references to the wars inclines me to think that -- if the reference to serving the Queen is original -- the reign of Anne is meant, since Victoria's reign was relatively peaceful (at least in Europe) while Anne's reign corresponded almost exactly with the War of the Spanish Succession, with British troops in Flanders (mostly under Marlborough) the whole time."


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