Oh it's of a jolly soldier that lately came from war
He loved a fair young damsel, a damsel so fair
And her fortune was so great that it could scarcely be told
And she loved her jolly soldier boy because he was so bold
Oh then cried the lady "I fain would be your wife
But me father he is cruel and he'd surely take me life"
He drew out his sword and pistol and he hung them by his side
And he swore that he would marry her and let what would be tide
So they went and they were married and as they were coming home
They met with her old father and seven armed men
"Let us flee", cried the lady "for we'll surely will be slain"
"Fear nothing my dear charmer", the soldier cried again
Then up came the old man and unto her did say
"It's for your disobedience to me this very day
For as you had been so mean as to be a soldier's wife
Down in this lonesome valley I will surely take your life"
"Oh no", cried the soldier "I do not like your prattle
For although I am a bridegroom I am well prepared for battle"
He drew out his sword and pistol and he caused them for to roar
And the lady held the bridle while the soldier battled sore
Well the first one he came to he ?run through a vein?
And the second one he came to he served him just the same
"Let us flee", cried the others "For we surely will be slain"
"Fight on, my dear charmer", the lady cried again
"Stay your hand", cried the old man "you make my blood run cold
And you shall have me daughter and five thousand pounds in gold"
"Fight on", cried the lady "for his offer is too small"
"Stay your hand", cried the old man "and you shall have it all"
So he's taken them both home and he's made them both his heirs
And it wasn't out of love but it was from dread and fear
For there never was a soldier ever carried a gun
Who would ever flinch or budge an inch till the battle he has won
So don't despise a soldier just because he's poor
He's as happy on the battlefield as at the barrack door
For they are the lads to be jovial brisk and free
And they'll fight for the pretty girls, for right and liberty
recorded by Paul Brady on "Andy Irvine / Paul Brady" (1976)
This is a modern variant of the old ballad of "Earl Brand", where
the father and seven brothers are slain by the lover they are
pursuing. In the older version, the lady asks Sweet William to have
mercy when he comes to her father:
"O hold your hand Sweet William, she said,
Your bull baits are wondrous sair,
Sweet-hearts I may get many a one,
But a father I will never get mair"
However the lady in this ballad has a better eye to business:
"Fight on", cried the lady "for his offer is to small"
"Stay your hand", cried the old man "and you shall have it