512 Words

Arthur McBride

Sources: Bob Dylan, Danny Spooner & Mick Farrel

Me and my fellow, one Arthur McBride,
We went a-strollin' down by the seaside,
Mark now what followed and what did betide,
For it bein' Christmas mornin'
Now, for recreation, we went on a tramp,
And we met Sergeant Napier and Corporal Vamp
And a little wee drummer who roused up the camp,
For the day bein' pleasant and charmin'.

"Good morning, good morning," the Sergeant he cried.
"And the same to you, gentlemen," we did reply,
Intending no harm but meant to pass by,
For it bein' Christmas mornin'
"But," says he, "my fine fellows, if you will enlist,
Ten guineas in gold I'll stick to your fist,
A crown in the bargain to shake off the dust,
And drink the Queen's health in the morning.

"For a soldier, he leads a very fine life,
And he always is blessed with a charming young wife,
And he pays all his debts without sorrow or strife,
And he always lives pleasant and charmin'.
And a soldier, he always is decent and clean,
In the finest of clothing he's constantly seen,
While other poor fellows go dirty and mean,
And sup on thin gruel in the morning."

"But," says Arthur, "I wouldn't be proud of your clothes,
For you've only the lend of them, as I suppose,
But you dare not change them one night, for you know
If you do, you'll be flogged in the morning,
And although that we're single and free,
We take great delight in our own company,
We have no desire strange places to see,
Although that your offers are charming.

"And we have no desire to take your advance,
All hazards and dangers we barter on chance,
For you'd have no scruples for to send us to France,
Where we would get shot without warning,"
"Oh no," says the Sergeant, "I'll have no such chat,
And neither will I take it from snappy young brats,
For if you insult me with one other word,
I'll cut off your heads in the morning."

And Arthur and I, we soon drew our hogs,
And we scarce gave them time to draw their own blades
When our trusty shillelaghs came over their heads
And bid them take that as fair warning.
And their old rusty rapiers that hung by their sides,
We flung them as far as we could in the tide,
"The waters may pit these," cried Arthur McBride,
"And temper their edge in the mornin'!"

And the little wee drummer, we beat to his shoe,
And we made a football of his rowdy-dow-do,
We cast it a-tide with their rusty swords two,
And bade it a tedious returning,
And we havin' no money, paid them off in cracks.
We showed no respect to their two bloody backs,
And we lathered them there like a pair of wet sacks,
And left them for dead in the morning.

Me and my fellow, one Arthur McBride,
As we went a-strollin' down by the seaside,
"To the Devil I'd curse you," Arthur he cried,
"Except for it bein' a fine Christmas mornin'."

Copyright Unknown (Traditional).

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January, 1999
Issue #33

512 Words