Peggy and the Soldier

Come all ye lads of high renown, let me tell of a fair young maiden
As she arose one summer's morn, just to watch the soldiers parading
They looked so bold and they marched so gay, their banners flying as the band did play
It caused lovely Peggy to smile and say, I will go with my gallant soldier

She watched the soldiers to and fro as they were at their leisure
Then Peggy to herself did say, "At last I've found my treasure
But oh, how cruel my parents can be, to banish my darling so far from me
I will leave them all and I'll go with thee, my brave undaunted soldier

Oh, Peggy dear, the soldier said, I pray don't act so unruly
For when I'm in some foreign land, believe me you'll rue it surely
What if in battle I should fall from the shot of an angry canon ball
And you so far from your Daddy's hall, are you wise with your gallant soldier?

I have fifty guineas in safe store, likewise a heart that's bolder
I will give it all to the lad I adore, my brave undaunted soldier
So don't say no, but let me go, and together we'll face the fiercest foe
And pray kind Providence should know of Peggy and her gallant soldier

And when he saw she was so true, he could not stay hardhearted
He said, My darling, I'll marry you, and none but death shall part us
And when we're in some foreign land, I'll guard you, my darling, with my right hand
And pray that God a friend might stand to Peggy and her gallant soldier

Traditional Irish
From the CD, If Ever I Return, by Connie Dover © Taylor Park Music/Connie Dover

This song of true love between a young woman and the soldier she fancies probably originated during the Napoleonic wars, when wives and mistresses literally followed their men onto battlefields throughout Europe. Also known as "Mary and the Soldier," I learned this song from Scottish singer, Davy Steele, who first heard it sung in Ireland at the Mourne Bar, in Derry. The Mourne Bar was well known for its great traditional music sessions, and was a popular gathering place for local musicians. Sadly, in the 1980's it was destroyed by a bomb.

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