> Bandoggs > Songs > Soldier, Soldier
> Brass Monkey > Songs > Soldier, Soldier

Soldier, Soldier

[ Roud 489 ; Ballad Index R065 ; trad.]

Soldier, Soldier is a song about a soldier who is tricking a woman who wants to marry him into giving him fine clothes. Finally he admits that he can't marry her because he is already married. This song has nothing to do with Rudyard Kipling's same-named poem Soldier, Soldier.

Chris Coe sang Soldier, Soldier in 1978 on Bandogg's eponymous LP Bandoggs. Nic Jones played fiddle on this track and Tony Rose the mouth organ.

Vic Shepherd and John Bowden sang Soldier John on their 1982 album A Motty Down. They noted:

This snappy version comes from Rosa Hicks Presnell of Beech Mountain, North Carolina. The ending might seem a bit unfair but Mrs Presnell seems to have been happy with it, and so we are!

Martin Carthy sang Soldier, Soldier in 1998 on Brass Monkey's third album Sound and Rumour. Martin Carthy commented in the record's sleeve notes:

Soldier, Soldier I learned from the Columbia World Series recording of the great sean-nĂ³s singer from Connemara, Colm Keane.

This YouTube video shows the Lauren McCormick Trio performing Soldier, Soldier at Cheltenham Folk Festival 2009:

Lyrics

Chris Coe sings Soldier, Soldier

“Soldier, oh soldier will you marry me now?”
With a hey, and a ho, and the sound of a drum
“No pretty maid, I cannot marry thee
For I've got no boots for to put on.”

So she ran to the shop as quick as she could run
With a hey, and a ho, and the sound of a drum
Bought him some boots of the very, very best,
And the soldier he so put 'em on.

“Soldier, oh soldier will you marry me now?”
With a hey, and a ho, and the sound of a drum
“No pretty maid, I cannot marry thee
For I've got no trousers to put on.”

So she ran to the shop as quick as she could run
With a hey, and a ho, and the sound of a drum
Bought him some trousers of the very, very best,
And the soldier he so put 'em on.

“Soldier, oh soldier will you marry me now?”
With a hey, and a ho, and the sound of a drum
“No pretty maid, I cannot marry thee
For I've got no jacket to put on.”

So she ran to the shop as quick as she could run
With a hey, and a ho, and the sound of a drum
Bought him a jacket of the very, very best,
And the soldier he so put it on.

“Soldier, oh soldier will you marry me now?”
With a hey, and a ho, and the sound of a drum
“No pretty maid, I cannot marry thee
For I've got no hat to put on.”

So she ran to the shop as quick as she could run
With a hey, and a ho, and the sound of a drum
Bought him a hat of the very, very best,
And the soldier he so put it on.

“Soldier, oh soldier will you marry me now?”
With a hey, and a ho, and the sound of a drum
“No pretty maid, I cannot marry thee
For I've got me my own wife at all.”

Martin Carthy sings Soldier, Soldier

“Soldier, soldier will you marry me now?”
With your hey, with a ho, with the sound of your drum
“No sweet maid, oh I cannot marry you,
You see I have no boots to put on.”

Downstairs she has run into her grandfather's chest
And she brought him boots they were of the best,
Brought him boots of the very very best,
Saying, “Here now, small man, put these on.”

“Soldier, soldier will you marry me now?”
With your hey, with a ho, with the sound of your drum
“No sweet maid, oh I cannot marry you,
You see I've no breeches to put on.”

Downstairs she has run into her grandfather's chest
And she brought him breeches they were of the best,
Brought him breeches of the very very best,
Saying, “Here now, small man, put these on.”

“Soldier, soldier will you marry me now?”
With your hey, with a ho, with the sound of your drum
“No sweet maid, oh I cannot marry you,
You see I have no shirt to put on.”

Downstairs she has run into her grandfather's chest
And she brought him a shirt they were of the best,
Brought him a shirt of the very very best,
Saying, “Here now, small man, put these on.”

“Soldier, soldier will you marry me now?”
With your hey, with a ho, with the sound of your drum
“No sweet maid, oh I cannot marry you,
You see I have no coat to put on.”

Downstairs she has run into her grandfather's chest
And she brought him a coat they were of the best,
Brought him a coat of the very very best,
Saying, “Here now, small man, put these on.”

“Soldier, soldier will you marry me now?”
With your hey, with a ho, with the sound of your drum
“No sweet maid, oh I cannot marry you,
You see I have no hat to put on.”

Downstairs she has run into her grandfather's chest
And she brought him a hat they were of the best,
Brought him a hat of the very very best,
Saying, “Here now, small man, put these on.”

“Soldier, soldier will you marry me now?”
With your hey, with a ho, with the sound of your drum
“No sweet maid, oh I cannot marry you,
You see I have a wife of my own.”

Acknowledgements

The Brass Monkey version was transcribed by Garry Gillard.