[words Rudyard Kipling, music trad. arr. Peter Bellamy]
Troopin' is a poem from Rudyard Kipling's book Barrack-Room Ballads. Peter Bellamy sang it on his third album of songs set to Kipling's poems, Peter Bellamy Sings the Barrack-Room Ballads of Rudyard Kipling. He commented in the album's sleeve notes:
Four-pence a day was the retaining fee of soldiers returned to England after six years in India. The Jumna and the Malabar were two of the transports which each September brought the “new draft” ro India and the “old draft” back home. The tune is traditionally from the North of England, these days usually associated with the Tommy Armstrong composition The Trimdon Grange Explosion.
Peter Bellamy re-recorded the song in 1990 for his privately issued cassette Soldiers Three.
Troopin', troopin', troopin' to the sea:
'Ere's September come again and the six-year men are free.
O leave the dead be'ind us, for they cannot come away
To where the ship's a-coalin' up that takes us 'ome to-day.
Chorus (repeated after each verse):
We're goin' 'ome, we're goin' 'ome,
Our ship is at the shore,
An' you must pack your 'aversack,
For we won't come back no more.
Ho, don't you grieve for me,
My lovely Mary-Ann,
For I'll marry you yit on a fourp'ny bit
As a time-expired man.
The Malabar's in 'arbour with the Jumner at 'er tail,
The time-expired's waitin' of 'is orders for to sail.
Ho! the weary waitin' when on Khyber 'ills we lay,
But the time-expired's waitin' of 'is orders 'ome to-day.
They'll turn us out at Portsmouth wharf in cold an' wet an' rain,
All wearin' Injian cotton kit, but we will not complain;
They'll kill us of pneumonia—for that's their little way—
But damn the chills and fever, men, we're goin' 'ome to-day!
Troopin', troopin', winter's round again!
See the new draf's pourin' in for the old campaign;
Ho, you poor recruities, but you've got to earn your pay—
What's the last from Lunnon, lads? We're goin' there to-day.
Troopin', troopin', give another cheer—
'Ere's to English women an' a quart of English beer.
The Colonel an' the regiment an' all who've got to stay,
Gawd's mercy strike 'em gentle—Whoop! we're goin' 'ome to-day.