This is a complete reworking of The Discharged Drummer, collected by Maud Karpeles in Newfoundland, using the tune (verse only, there was no chorus) the charactors and a few of the nicer lines. (I found Maud's book at the wonderful Haslway Manor, in Somerset - home of the Wren Trust and now of the Peter Kennedy archive)


In Bristol lived a lady, long gone seventeen

Courted by so many, but no wedding had she seen

With a fine and famous fortune, no lover would she ever trust

To covet her just for beauty, and all suiters she rebuffed

With a whack for the tiddle-eye, foddle all the day

For the tyro gay, for the Bristol lady - and the play!


Till at length there came a drummer, a tyro proud and gay

Says will you be my lover, for you I’ll make a play

I know all about your fortune, care never any jot for that

I only care for dancing, and me drum's old rat tat tat


Says she; well, your eyes do sparkle, there's feathers all in your cap

I'd dance to your fine music, and your drum's old rat tat tat

But you're just a lowly soldier, how dare you speak so bold?

When you’ve only sticks and tabor, where I have lands and gold?


Well if you foresook your fortune, and stepped along with me

You could dance to me rat tat rhythm, and we’d live so wild and free

Let me make a demonstration, to help your heart to choose

I’ll slip into my rhythm while you slip out your shoes


Oh the devil is in your drum, Sir, my pulse is racing fast

You’ve done me with your rhythm, and won my heart at last

So I will foresake my fortune, and dance so wild and free

For what need I for riches if I own the love of thee?


Then says the tyro drummer, at last I may speak free

I too have lands and title, and gold as good as thee

I am surely in the army, but drumming’s just my fun

I'm a Lord in the North Country, and my love you've surely won


Oh no says this fine lady, your lies have ended that

You've tricked me to a false love, with your drum’s old rat tat tat

So let this be a lesson, on the worth of goods and gold

For now I’ll dance, not marry, with some other drummer bold!