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The Rose of York

[ Roud - ; TYG 135 ; Lesley Hale, Ken Thomson]

The Dovetail Trio sang The Rose of York in 2015 on their CD Wing of Evening. Jamie Roberts noted:

A beautiful, yet harrowing song written by Lesley Hale and Ken Thomson. It was written based on the book Covenant with Death by John Harris, which tells the story of a regiment recruited for Kitchener's army (in WW I) from a town in Yorkshire and was made up almost entirely of family members and close friends.

Lyrics

The Dovetail Trio sing The Rose of York

My name it is Mark Fenner and I am a Yorkshireman;
I earn my living by my pen, tell a stirring tale I can,
But the one I tell you now boys, was writ by foolish men,
When petals fell from a Rose of York, never to bloom again.

Come, all you young unmarried men, the boys of the Bulldog breed,
We're looking for the strong and brave, that's what Britannia needs;
We'll fight the Hun in France and drown them in the Seine;
But petals fell from a Rose of York, never to bloom again.

Well, we first shipped out to Egypt where the heat was hard to bear;
We were waiting for the call to France, for the Bosche were fighting there;
And, we talked of what we'd do boys, brother, son and friend;
But petals fell from a Rose of York, never to bloom again.

At last we heard the Push was on and we sailed across the Med,
We little thought in two weeks time we'd most of us be dead,
And the girls back home would weep with a grief so hard to mend;
And petals fell from a Rose of York, never to bloom again.

With shouts of joy we led the charge towards the German wire;
The handsome Mason was first to fall as the guns they opened fire;
His face no longer handsome on the barbs he met his end;
And petals fell from a Rose of York, never to bloom again.

We had a sergeant major, bold by nature, Bold by name,
But the German guns don't pick and choose and Bold died just the same;
Many gallants followed after, the coin of life to spend;
And petals fell from a Rose of York, never to bloom again.

Well, we didn't want to lose you, but we thought you ought to go;
Your King and country need you, Lord Kitchener told us so,
But the story I’ve now told you was writ by foolish men;
When petals fell from a Rose of York, never to bloom again.