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Deserter (3)

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The Deserter (3)

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The Deserter (3)

As I sat adrinking, adrinking was I,
A recruiting sergeant on me cast an eye;
I was listed, attested before I did know,
And to the King's barracks I was forced to go.

But soon I deserted and set myself free,
Being advised by my true love a deserter to be;
I was quickly followed after, and brought back wi' speed
I was handcuffed and shackled--heavy irons indeed.

The day was appointed that flogged I must be,
Wi' the rest o' my comrades all ranked around me;
Our colonel laid out for three hundred and three,
And it's, Oh, the King's duties are cruel to me.

I hadna received but thirty and three,
When our captain cries, "Boys, ye may let him go free;
Ye may loose him from the halberts and let him go free,
For he'll be a deserter till the day that he dee."

But again I deserted and set myself free,
Informed on by my captain a deserter to be;
I was quickly followed after, and brought back wi' speed,
I was handcuffed and shackled--heavy irons indeed.

The day was appointed that flogged I must be,
Wi' the rest o' my comrades all ranked around me;
Our colonel laid out for five hundred and three;
And it's, Oh, the King's duties are cruel to me.

But I hadna received but fifty and three,
Till the colonel cries, "Boys, ye may let him go free;
Ye may loose him from the halberts and let him go free,
For he'll be a deserter till the day that he dee."

Again I deserted and set myself free,
Informed on by my colonel a deserter to be;
I was quickly followed after, and brought back wi' speed,
I was handcuffed and shackled--heavy irons indeed.

The day was appointed that shot I must be,
Wi' the rest o' my comrades all ranked around me;
The guns were presented, and shot I must be;
And it's, Oh, the King's duties are cruel to me.

My father and mother for me they will die,
My sister and brother for me they will cry;
I left my dear Mally wi' the tear in her e'e,
And it's, Oh, the King's duties are cruel to me.

But by rode the King in his carriage and six,
Says, "Where is the young Scotch boy that does you perplex?
Oh, ye bring him here, that I may him see
That cries, 'Oh, the King's duties are cruel to me."'

He put his hand in his pocket, took out sixty pound,
Says "Take that, ye young Scotch boy, take that and go home;
Go home to your Mally and live happily,
Say no more 'The King's duties are cruel to me'."

From The Scottish Folksinger, Buchan and Hall
APR01
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III