"Hark th' drums are beatin', no longer can I stay,
I hear th' trumpet soundin', my love, I must away;
We are ordered from Fortsmouth for many long miles,
To j'ine th' British army on th' banks of th' Nile."
"Oh William, dearest William, don't leave me here to mourn,
It makes me cuss an' rue the day that ever I was born;
The partin' of our love will be the partin' of my life,
So stay at home, dear William, an' I will be your wife.
"Or I'll cut off these yaller locks, men's clothes I will put on,
I'll wear the white cockade, my love, in Eygpt while we stand;
We'll fight them mainfully, my love, while fortune on us smile,
An' we'll comfort one another on the banks of the Nile."
"O Molly, dearest Molly, I fear it won't be so,
Our colonel he gives orders that no woman there should go;
We must forget old sweethearts, likewise our native isles,
An' go fight them blacks an' heatherns on the banks of the Nile.
"Your waist it is too slender, love, your finders are too small,
I fear you would not answer me when on you I would call;
Your delicate constitution would not bear the unholy clime,
It's all cold an' sandy deserts on the banks of the Nile.
"But when this war is over, it's homeward we'll return,
Unto our wives an' sweethearts what we left behind to mourn;
Then we'll embrace 'em in our arms with many a charmin' smile,
An' no more go to battle on the banks of the Nile."
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Source: Randolph, V, 1982. Ozark Folksongs, Illinois Press, Urbana
Sung by Linne Bullard, Pineville, Mo., July 7, 1926. Mrs Bullard says that it is sometimes known as "The Banks of the Nile." Ord gives a Scottish version of this piece, remarking that it refers to the battle of Aboukir, Egypt, in 1801. A similar "Banks of the Nile" song was printed in the Aurora Advertiser (Mo.), Apr 20, 1939
Roud: 950 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six