Song 9: "The Cruel Wars"

A recruiting sergeant came our way
From an inn near town at the close of day
He said my Johnny you're a fine young man
Would you like to march along behind a military band
With a scarlet coat and a fine cocked hat
And a musket at your shoulder
The shilling he took and he kissed the book
Oh poor Johnny what'll happen to ya?

The recruiting sergeant marched away
From the Inn near town at the break of day
Johnny came too with half a ring
He was off to be a soldier to go fighting for the King
In a far off war in a far off land
To face the foreign soldier
But how will you fare when there's lead in the air
Oh poor Johnny what'll happen to ya?

Well the sun rose high on a barren land
Where the thin red line made a military stand
There was sling shot, chain shot, grape shot too
Swords and bayonets thrusting through
Poor Johnny fell but the day was won
And the King is grateful to ya
But your soldiering's done and they're sending you home
Oh poor Johnny what'll happen to ya?

They said he was a hero and not to grieve
For the two ruined legs and the empty sleeves
They took him home and they set him down
With a military pension and a medal from the crown
But you haven't an arm, you haven't a leg
The enemy nearly slew ya
You'll have to go out on the streets to beg
Oh poor Johnny what'll happen to ya?

A recruiting sergeant came our way
From the inn near town at the close of day
He said my Johnny you're a fine young man
Would you like to march along behind a military band
With a scarlet coat and a fine cocked hat
And a musket at your shoulder
The shilling he took and he kissed the book
Oh poor Johnny what will happen to ya?

 

O Polly love, O Polly, the route has now begun
And we must go a-marching to the beating of a drum
Come dress yourself all in your best and come along with me
I'll take you to the cruel wars in High Germany

O Harry, dearest Harry, mind well what I do say
My feet they are so tender and I cannot march away
Besides, my dearest Harry, I am with child by thee
Not fitted for the cruel wars in High Germany

I'll buy you a horse, my love, and on it you shall ride
And all of my delight shall be walking at your side
We'll stop at every alehouse and drink when we are dry
Be true to one another, get married by and by

O cursed be the cruel wars, that ever they should rise
And out of marry England, press many a man likewise
They took her Harry from her, likewise her brothers three
And sent them to the cruel wars in High Germany