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The Jolly Beggars: A Cantata
by [?]


When lyart leaves bestrow the yird,
Or wavering like the bauckie-bird,
Bedim cauld Boreas’ blast;
When hailstanes drive wi’ bitter skyte,
And infant frosts begin to bite,
In hoary cranreuch drest;
Ae night at e’en a merry core
O’ randie, gangrel bodies,
In Poosie-Nansie’s held the splore,
To drink their orra duddies;
Wi’ quaffing an’ laughing,
They ranted an’ they sang,
Wi’ jumping an’ thumping,
The vera girdle rang,

First, neist the fire, in auld red rags,
Ane sat, weel brac’d wi’ mealy bags,

And knapsack a’ in order;
His doxy lay within his arm;
Wi’ usquebae an’ blankets warm
She blinkit on her sodger;
An’ aye he gies the tozie drab
The tither skelpin’ kiss,
While she held up her greedy gab,
Just like an aumous dish;
Ilk smack still, did crack still,
Just like a cadger’s whip;
Then staggering an’ swaggering
He roar’d this ditty up–


Tune–“Soldier’s Joy.”

I am a son of Mars who have been in many wars,
And show my cuts and scars wherever I come;
This here was for a wench, and that other in a trench,
When welcoming the French at the sound of the drum.
Lal de daudle, etc.

My ‘prenticeship I past where my leader breath’d his last,
When the bloody die was cast on the heights of Abram:
and I served out my trade when the gallant game was play’d,
And the Morro low was laid at the sound of the drum.

I lastly was with Curtis among the floating batt’ries,
And there I left for witness an arm and a limb;
Yet let my country need me, with Elliot to head me,
I’d clatter on my stumps at the sound of a drum.

And now tho’ I must beg, with a wooden arm and leg,
And many a tatter’d rag hanging over my bum,
I’m as happy with my wallet, my bottle, and my callet,
As when I used in scarlet to follow a drum.

What tho’ with hoary locks, I must stand the winter shocks,
Beneath the woods and rocks oftentimes for a home,
When the t’other bag I sell, and the t’other bottle tell,
I could meet a troop of hell, at the sound of a drum.


He ended; and the kebars sheuk,
Aboon the chorus roar;
While frighted rattons backward leuk,
An’ seek the benmost bore:
A fairy fiddler frae the neuk,
He skirl’d out, encore!
But up arose the martial chuck,
An’ laid the loud uproar.


Tune–“Sodger Laddie.”

I once was a maid, tho’ I cannot tell when,
And still my delight is in proper young men;
Some one of a troop of dragoons was my daddie,
No wonder I’m fond of a sodger laddie,
Sing, lal de lal, etc.

The first of my loves was a swaggering blade,
To rattle the thundering drum was his trade;
His leg was so tight, and his cheek was so ruddy,
Transported I was with my sodger laddie.

But the godly old chaplain left him in the lurch;
The sword I forsook for the sake of the church:
He ventur’d the soul, and I risked the body,
‘Twas then I proved false to my sodger laddie.

Full soon I grew sick of my sanctified sot,
The regiment at large for a husband I got;
From the gilded spontoon to the fife I was ready,
I asked no more but a sodger laddie.

But the peace it reduc’d me to beg in despair,
Till I met old boy in a Cunningham fair,
His rags regimental, they flutter’d so gaudy,
My heart it rejoic’d at a sodger laddie.