Tuesday, 16 June 2009

High Germany

This is a great folk song that is thought to originate from the early 18th century - though my guess is its Seven Years War - it was already about by the 1780s for sure. This version I don't really know - I mostly learnt it from Martin Carthy but this is a fine enough ditty.

Oh Polly love, oh Polly, the rout has now begun
We must go a-marching to the beating of the drum
Dress yourself all in your best and come along with me
I'll take you to the war, my love, in High Germany

Oh Willie love, oh Willie, come list what I do say
My feet they are so tender I cannot march away
And besides my dearest Willie I am with child by thee
Not fitted for the war, my love, in High Germany

I'll buy for you a horse, my love, and on it you shall ride
And all my delight shall be in riding by your side
We'll stop at every ale-house and drink when we are dry
We'll be true to one another, get married by and by

Cursed be them cruel wars that ever they should rise
And out of merry England press many a man likewise
They pressed my true love from me likewise my brothers three
And sent them to the war, my love, in High Germany

My friends I do not value nor my foes I do not fear
Now my love has left me I wander far and near
And when my baby it is born and a-smiling on my knee
I'll think of lovely Willie in High Germany

1 comment:

Robert said...

Fascinating- sounds very much like the old folk tune "Shiloh" dating from the American Civil War- and which obviously owed its ancestry to "High Germany".