The Recruited Collier

from by Francy Devine

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Oh, what’s the matter with you, m’lass, and where’s your dashing Jimmy?
The soldier boys have picked him up an’ taken him far, far from me.
Last pay day he went into town and them red-coated fellows
They enticed him in and made him drunk—he’d better gone to the gallows.

The very sight of his cockade, it sets us all a-crying,
And me! I nearly fainted twice, I thought that I was dying.
My father would have paid the smart, he run for the golden guinea.
But the sergeant swore he’d kissed the book, so now they’ve got young Jimmy.

When Jimmy talks about the war it’s worse than death to hear him.
I must go out and hide my tears, I can no longer bear him.
A brigadier or a grenadier, he swears they surely make him
And aye, he gibes and cracks his jokes, and bids me not forsake him;

As I walked o’er the stubble fields below it lies the seam,
I think o’ Jimmy hewing there but it was all a dream.
He hewed the very coals we burn and as the fire I’m lighting.
To think he held these very lumps, it sets my heart a-beating.

For five long years he’s followed me, now I must live without him.
There’s nothing left for me to do but weep and think about him.
So break my heart and then it’s o’er, so break my heart, my dearie.
And I’ll lie in the cold green ground for of single life I’m weary.


from My Father Told Me, released November 27, 2014



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Francy Devine Howth, Ireland

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