The Soldier Maid (Kenneth Peacock)

Oh, what a pretty maiden
in my time I have been,
They forced me from my parents,
a soldier I became;
They forced me from my parents
and certainly I'm undone,
And they learned me to beat upon
a drum, a drum, a drum.

With my feather in my hat
I will have you all to see,
My officer he taught me
a stately man to be;
The soldiers all admired me,
my fingers were so small,
And they learned me to beat upon
the drum the best of all.

Oh, when I went to my quarters
the night for to spend,
I was not ashamed for
to lie among the men;
And hauling off my small clothes
to myself I ofttimes smiled,
A-lying with the soldiers
a maid all the while.

Oh, many were the battles
that I fought upon the field,
And many a brave fellow
was forced from me to yield;
I was guarded by my general
for fear I would be slain,
And for cruelty they sent me back
to old England again.

Then they sent me over to London
to take charge of the tower,
I never was discovered
until that day and hour,
When a lady fell in love with me
I told her I was a maid,
And straight unto my regiment
my secrets were betrayed.

Then up steps the officer,
he made no more to-do,
He asked me the question,
I answered him quite true;
He laughed at the joke
and he smiled as he said:
"It's a pity we should lose
such a drummer as a maid."

Here's a health to the Duke,
here's a health, sir, unto you,
Here's a health to every British man
who keeps his courage true;
And if our King does want more men
those Frenchmen to be slain,
I will boldly stand with sword in hand
and fight for him again.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional pre-victorian ballad ....####

Collected in 1959 by Kenneth Peacock from Mrs Clara Sophia Stevens [1916-1978] of Bellburns, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports , Vol 2, pp.346-347, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that as far as he knew, this was the first time this pre-victorian ballad has appeared in print, at least in recent times. It was not until he began preparing the material for publication that he fully realized the compulsion folksong females have for dressing up in men's clothes (See also The Female Smuggler). It is all the more surprising when one considers the horrible conditions of life in the army or on board ship at that time (See The Ordeal Of Andrew Rose).


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