Arthur McBride lyrics

by Planxty

I had a first cousin called Arthur McBride
He and I took a stroll down by the seaside;
A seeking good fortune and what might betide
Being just as the day was a dawning
Then after resting' we both took a tramp
We met Sergeant Harper and Corporal Cramp
Besides the wee drummer who beat up our camp
With his row-dy-dow-dow in the morning

He said 'my young fellows if you will enlist
A guinea you quickly will have in your fist
And besides a crown for to kick up the dust
And drink the King's health in the morning'.
For a soldier he leads a very fine life
He always is blessed with a charming young wife
And he pays all his debts without sorrow or strife
And always lives happy and charming

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
Says Arthur, I wouldn't be proud of your clothes
You've only the lend of them as I suppose
And you dare not change them one night or you know
If you do you'll be flogged in the morning

And although we are single and free
We take great delight in our own company
And we have no desire strange places to see
Although your offer is charming
And we have no desire to take your advance
All hazards and danger we barter on chance
And you'd have no scruples to send us to France
Where we would be shot without warning

And now says the sergeant, “If I hear but one word
I instantly now will out with my sword
And into your bodies as strength will afford
So now my gay devils take warning.”
But Arthur and I we took the odds
And we gave them no chance for to launch out their swords
Our whacking shillelaghs came over their heads
And bade them right smart in the morning.

As for the wee drummer, we rifled his pow
And made a football of his row-dy-dow-dow
And into the ocean to rock and to roll
And bade it a tedious returnin'
As for the old rapier that hung by his side
We flung it as far as we could in the tide
To the devil I pit you, says Arthur McBride
To temper your steel in the morning

Song Details

Arthur McBride

Author: Unknown

Collected: Patrick Weston Joyce (Limmerick) & George Petrie (Donegal)... more

Date of Collection: 1840

Brief: The narrator and his cousin, Arthur McBride took a stroll down by the seaside where they met a recruiting party who wanted them to join the army. Arthur and his cousin didn't fancy going oversees to get shot and refused to join the army. The enlisting sergeant expressed his discontent and threatened them with his sword - a fight ensued and the Irishmen gave the soldier boys a beating.

Popular versions: Planxty (featured), Paul Brady, Bob Dylan, The Corrib Folk, The Whacking Shillelaghs, Poitín...

Category: anti-recruiting / anti-war / protest

Logo Arthur McBrideis featured on the album Planxty (June 20, 2005).

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