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When I was a fair maid at the age of sweet sixteen,
From my parents I did run away a soldier to become;
I enlisted in the army a soldier for to be,
And they learned me to play upon the rub-a-dub-a-dee.
Chorus :
With my nice cap and feathers, if you could have only seen,
You'd have sworn that in your very heart a young man I had been;
With my gentle waist so slender and my fingers long and small,
I could rattle up the rub-a-dub-a-dee the best among them all.
Oh, many is the prank that I played upon the field,
And many was the young man his love to me revealed;
Many a prank have I seen among the French,
And so boldly as I fought, tho' only a wench.
With my regiment at the front all my time I might have been,
With the brave Duke of York at the siege of Valenciennes;
But was favoured by my officer for fear I should be slain,
I was sent home to England for recruiting back again.
Many a night in the guard-room I have lain,
I never was afraid to lie down with the men;
At the pulling of my breeches I oft-times gave a smile,
To think I lay with a regiment, and a maiden all the while.
That might never have been known until this very hour,
But they sent me up to London to keep sentry o'er the Tower;
A lady fell in love with me; I told her I was a maid;
She went to my officer, and the secret she betrayed.
My officer sent for me to see if that was true;
I told him that it was - what other could I do?
I told him it was, and he smiled to me and said -
"It's a pity for to lose such a drummer as you've made."
"But for your gallent conduct at the siege of Valenciennes,
A bounty shall you get my girl, a bounty from the King."
But should the war arise again, and the King in want of men,
I'll put on my regimentals and I'll fight for him again.
Footnote : One of the many Folk Songs about young lassies who join the forces, usually, unlike this song, following in the foot-steps of a sweetheart.


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