The Great War

from The Holy War, an electronic edition

The New Recruit

The lads were once my comrades,

They stay at home content.

And now's the time of cricket,

They count the days well spent.

They walk with girls o' Sundays,

All in their Sunday clothes;

And of a Sunday evening

Go where good liquor flows.

Their way's no longer my way,

For I must follow now

The drum-tap and the bugle,

While they're for shop and plough.

Good-bye, good-bye, kind people,

And all I leave behind,

To girls that used to kiss me,

To one was never kind.

Good-bye, my girl unwilling,

I shall not vex you sore,

For I have taken the shilling

And I come home no more.

I heard the drums a-drumming,

And I ran out to see;

The soldiers and the fighting,

They mattered nought to me.

Good-bye, my girl that grieved me.

The bugles whistled, Come.

And I, -- stepped in the roadway

And marched beside the drum.

Lord, I was proud, uplifted.

I held my head so high;

And all the girls were doating

With love as we went by!

The boys who stood and jeered me

May live to three-score-ten,

While I'm cut down at morning

Among the fighting men.

But Lord, the people shouting!

The glory tasted sweet,

And the eyes of the girls all doating

As we marched down the street.