The Recruiting Sergeant lyrics

by The Pogues

The Pogues - medley of three songs. The Recruiting Sgt. is the first song and finishes at ~ 1:27 min.

As I was walking down the road
A feeling fine and larky oh
A recruiting sergeant came up to me
Says he, you'd look fine in khaki oh
For the King he is in need of men
Come read this proclamation oh
A life in Flanders for you then
Would be a fine vacation oh

That may be so says I to him
But tell me sergeant dearie-oh
If I had a pack stuck upon my back
Would I look fine and cheerie oh
For they'd have you train and drill until
They had you one of the Frenchies oh
It may be warm in Flanders
But it's draughty in the trenches oh

The sergeant smiled and winked his eye
His smile was most provoking oh
He twiddled and twirled his wee mustache
Says he, I know you're only joking oh
For the sandbags are so warm and high
The wind you won't feel blowing oh
Well I winked at a cailin passing by
Says I, what if it's snowing oh

Come rain or hail or wind or snow
I'm not going out to Flanders oh
There's fighting in Dublin to be done
Let your sergeants and your commanders go
Let Englishmen fight English wars
It's nearly time they started oh
I saluted the sergeant a very good night
And there and then we parted oh

Song Details

The Recruiting Sergeant

3 versions: We have included 3 of the most popular versions of this song by The Pogues, Great Big Sea, and The Levellers - all quite different from one another. The Pogues version is perhaps the most commonly known - the Great Big Sea version is very popular, while The Revellers version depicts modern times with reference to the Afghan Crisis. It is interesting to note that this Traditional Irish Folk Song has been transformed in so many ways, both lyrically and melodically.

Author: Traditional

Music: Tune from The Peeler and the Goat

Date: circa World War I

References:
larky: frolicsome
Flanders: A historical region of northwest Europe including parts of northern France, western Belgium, and southwest Netherlands along the North Sea.
cailin: girl
clb: Church Lads Brigade
Blue Puttees: The Royal Newfoundland Regiment
Florizel: passenger liner also used as a transport vessel during World War I. In October 1914 she carried the first 540 volunteers of the Newfoundland Regiment, the Blue Puttees, to Europe.
Suvla: a bay on the Aegean coast of the Gallipoli peninsula in European Turkey.
Afghani: Afghanistanis
Lashkar Gah: a city in south Afghanistan
Kandahar: a city of southeast Afghanistan near the Pakistani border southwest of Kabul.

Category: Anti-recruiting / anti-war / protest

Popular Recording Artists: The Pogues from the album If I Should Fall From Grace With God, The Levellers (Static On The Airwaves), Great Big Sea (Play), Dominic Behan, Bobby Clancy, Gaberlunzie, The Corries, The Irish Rovers...

Logo The Recruiting Sergeant icon - Various Artists

The Recruiting Sgt by Great Big Sea

Two recruiting sergeants came to the clb,
For the sons of the merchants, to join the Blue Puttees
So all hands enlisted, five hundred young men...
Enlist ye Newfoundlanders and come follow me

They crossed the broad Atlantic in the brave Florizel,
On the sands of Suvla, they entered into hell
And on those bloody beaches, the first of them fell...
Enlist ye Newfoundlanders and come follow me

Chorus:
So it's over the mountains, and over the sea
Come brave Newfoundlanders and join the Blue Puttees
You'll fight the Hun in Flanders, and at Galipoli
Enlist ye Newfoundlanders and come follow me

The call came from London, for the last July drive
"To the trenches with the regiment, prepare yourselves to die"
The roll call next morning, just a handful survived.
Enlist ye Newfoundlanders and come follow me

Chorus

The stone men on Water Street still cry for the day
When the pride of the city went marching away
A thousand men slaughtered, to hear the King say
Enlist ye Newfoundlanders and come follow me

 

Chorus (x2)

Enlist ye Newfoundlanders and come follow me

The Recruiting Sgt by The Levellers

Over the mountains and over the sea
By Hercules transporter to fight the Afghani
With a rifle in my hand, to set the country free
It's your picture in my pocket that means everything to me

So I've messed-up the alarm I'd broken half way in
The security guard appeared and he busts me on the chin
He kicked me head and said "Do you know the fix you're in?"
I said "I was down on me luck mate" meant no offence to him

We went over the mountains and over the sea
By Hercules transporter to fight the Afghani
With a rifle in my hand to set the country free
It's your picture in my pocket that means everything to me

I know I let you down babe trying to make ends meet
When I met this recruiting seargeant by the courthouse on the street
He said "You're a disgrace boy, you should be doing time"
Then someone brought the drinks in and I signed on the dotted line

And I was over the mountains and over the sea
By Hercules transporter to fight the Afghani
With a rifle in my hand to set the country free
It's your picture in my pocket that means everything to me

Now I'm sucking dust in Helmand, dug in to Lashkar Gah
Where a bucket full of contraband beats any British bar
I know I lay there dreaming still in the pay of theives
I'm rushing back to be with you upon this desert breeze

It's blowing over the mountains and over the sea
By Hercules transporter to fight the Afghani
With a rifle in my hand to set the country free
It's your picture in my pocket that means everything to me

Don't follow me to die boys in bloody Kandahar
With the eerie glow of tracers lighting every wretched scar
Who will say a prayer for me and cry each year this day?
If you see a recruiting seargeant boys, run, run away

Run over the mountains and over the sea
By Hercules transporter to fight the Afghani
With a rifle in my hand to set the country free
It's your picture in my pocket that means everything to me

And it's over the mountains and over the sea
By Hercules transporter to fight the Afghani
With a rifle in my hand to set the country free
It's your picture in my pocket that means everything to me

It's your picture in my pocket that means everything to me

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