American Old Time Song Lyrics: 21 Life In The Army
Theater, Music-Hall, Nostalgic, Irish & Historic Old Songs, Volume 21
LIFE IN THE ARMY.
Tune- "Paddy's Wadding."
I'm safe once more and landed on shore,
And sound as a trout and sounder, oh!
No music so sweet my cars can greet
As the noise of a fourteen pounder, oh!
When honor calls for bullets and balls.
My heart is light and airy, oh!
My eyes get bright as the stars at night,
That shine over sweet Tipperary, oh!
Spoken-Oh! boys and girls, I'm just after putting over the
devil's campaign, as Mickey Flinn said when he beat the devil!
But the devil take the Russians for me, anyhow, for if I haven't
had my hearty bellyful of them, the devil a " well-fed man in Turkey has. But, boys, to make a long story short. I'll tell you how
I became a soldier. Well, you see, I had an uncle by my mother's
side, in the army, and he being over on the recruiting service in
our part of the country, he came one fine morning, and says he:
"Phelim Devlin, do you know what I'm after thinking? " " How
should I know what you would be after thinking, before you tell
me? "Well," says he, "I am just thinking that you are losing
your good looking time here when you might list for a soldier, go
out to the Crimea and mix among the most respectable of society."
"It's a very large society, uncle," says I, "they must have the
devil's own mortality to pay, but devil a word ye're speaking about
being kilt." "You're only to die once, Phelim, my boy." "By
my sticklers, and you are right, and when I'm dead I'll be done
buying blutchers, but kilt or not kilt, tip us the bob." "Well,
sirs, he struck the left side of the heel of my fist with the shilling,
and off we marched to the tune of-
Hurrah! boys, machree, come join with me,
Those Russians, boys, can't harm you, oh!
Both night and day we're sure of our pay,
So, hurrah for a life in the army, oh!
To a shebeen we got, but the day was so hot,
And myself was tired of lushing, oh!
"Uncle, ochone, where are we gone?"
"Och!" says he, "we're gone down to the Russians, oh!"
"Is it to fight? " says I. Says he: "Aye, or die,"
When in marched Captain O'Leary, oh!
Savs my uncle: "Don't fear, in a couple of years
You'll get back to sweet Tipperary, oh!
Spoken-And, sure enough, in walked Captain O'Lcary, with a
face Upon him for all the world like a fourpenny loaf burnt
brown, that a three year old kid had picked the currants out of.
"Is your men all ready, sergeant, d'ye mind?" "They are, your
honor's glory," says my uncle. "Thanks be to God I'm not one
of them, anyway," says I. "I'll tell you what," says my uncle.
"you're the Queen's man for ten years, or two, if required."
"How the blazes can I be the Queen's man for ten years, or two,
if required, when I'm Nelly Brady's at home for life, and we're
going to be married the day after to-morrow?" "I'll tell you,"
says the captain," you had better not tell your sweetheart anything about it or she might lie in next Winter " "You'll excuse
me. Captain," says I," but if you get the route out to India, you
might lie out next Winter. " But, boys, with talking I didn't see
where I was walking, so the toe of my boot happened to rub up
against the Captain's trousers. He turns round to me, and says
he: "Mind where you're going, sir, mind where you're going; do
you see what you're after doing to my trousers? " "I beg your
pardon, Captain," says I," but I think it's ten years since you
could call them trousers. " "What do you mean, sir? what do
you mean? " "I mean that if you be after wearing them as long as
you have done already, you'll have them worn into knee-breeches."
But, boys, when he saw I turned the joke against him he gave me
a look as sharp as a Back of razors. "Right-about-face! "says he.
"Oh! here's you're shilling," says I, and I looked home to Nelly
Brady. But ", boys, it was no use talking, I might as well try to
stop a railway train as to speak to either of them; so, boys, the
Captain gave the word of command, and we all struck up a singing-Chorus.
We were ordered away, we'd no time to stay,
I got my trousers and jacket, oh!
with walking, astore, my feet were sore,
'Till we arrived on board the packet, oh!
We were ordered away, we'd no time to stay,
And the ship flew through the waves like a fairy, oh!
When coming near the shore, each man gave a roar
For the army in sweet Tipperary, oh!
Spoken-Down come my uncle, and says he to me: "Prepare,
Phelim, for fight's the word. " "Och! go and amuse yourself
with 6hooting Russian sparrows. Is it .committing murder you
want me to be after? " "Well, if you don't they'll peg you down
if they can. " "Will they? let them try it, by my soul. Do you
know this, uncle? the man that would peg me down wouldn't I
get up and knock his brains out! d ye mind that now. " But, boys,
we l)egan fighting in real earnest, there we were to be 6cen going
up the heights of Alma, there were to be seen heads looking for
their bodies, and bodies looking for their heads in return. But
when it came to the charge of the S8th, the 96th and the 77th, och!
we put the chase on them, as Phil Doolan said to his bull dog.
After two or three hours hard fighting, down comes my uncle,
and says: "Dress up in the front, Phelim, for here comes the Captain with a despatch." Down comes the Captain and says to me:
"Come here, Phelim Devlin, my Tipperary soldier, the field's our
own." "Had we not better take it with us? " says I. My boys,
he had scarcely the words out of his mouth, when he got the hit of
a Russian bullet on the refreshment bag, and down he fell
like a pig in a fit. "Ho, terenageous! the Captain's hit! " "I've,
got a ball, Phelim," says he. "Well, you can do no less than
give them a ball in return," says I. "Get up," says I. "I can't,
savs he. "For why?" says " I. "Because I'm kilt," says he. I
"Well, you shan't lie there as long as Phelim Devlin's here. " So,
boys, I got him on my shoulders and carried him off to the
trenches. But, boys, as great a favorite as I was with the Captain, faith! he got that stiff, devil a word he'd speak to poor
Phelim; the fact of the matter, boys, he was dead; so, of course
we buried him in all due military respect. But, boys, I was forgetting to tell you that I didn't escape unhurt myself. I got the
hit of a Russian bullet on the cap of my left knee that made me
roar like a Spanish ass. I was sent home to Dublin on a shilling a
day, and just arrived there in time for a jolly blow out that was
given to all the Crimean heroes; then you may know what Phelira
aid in, when he bursted three button-holes of his shareholder, but
if ever I meet with any of my old comrades that suffered with me
in the Crimea, I won't prevent my Tipperary tongue from singing,