The Gentleman Soldier (aka The Sentry Box)

Traditional

Audio

This example of "The Gentleman Soldier" is performed by Donal Hegarty
Please refer to Cantaria's Copyright information

sheet music (toggle as desired for printing)

Notes: the tune to this song is the Scots tune Drumdelgie
This song was collected by A. G. Gilchrist in 1907, and published with tune in JFSS 19, p. 156 (1915).

It's of a gentleman soldier,
as a sentry he did stand,
He kindly saluted a fair maid
by waving of his hand.
So boldly then he kissed her,
and passed it off as a joke.
He drilled her into the sentry box,
wrapped up in a soldier's cloak.

Chorus:
For the drums did go with a rap-a-tap-tap,
And the fifes did loudly play,
Saying: 'Fare you well, my Polly dear,
I must be going away.'

Oh, all night they tossed and tumbled,
till daylight did appear.
The soldier rose, put on his clothes,
saying: 'Fare thee well, my dear,
For the drums they are a-beating,
and the fifes so sweetly play;
If it warn't for that, dear Polly,
along with you I'd stay.'

Chorus

'Now, come, you gentleman soldier,
and won't you marry me?'
'Oh, no, my dearest Polly,
such things can never be,
For married I am already,
and children I have three.
Two wives are allowed in the army,
but one's too many for me!'

Chorus

'If anyone comes a-courting you,
you treat 'em to a glass.
If anyone comes a-courting you,
you say you're a country lass.
You needn't even tell them
that ever you played this joke,
Thet ever you went in a sentry-box,
wrapped up in a soldier's cloak.'

'It's come, my gentleman soldier,
why didn't you tell me so?
My parents will be angry
when this they come to know.'
When nine long months was up and past,
this poor girl she brought shame,
For she had a little militia boy,
and she couldn't tell his name.