This sounds much better with a big chorus, so feel free to join in. Like the Cruel Mother, this is a Landfall song. Don’t be fooled by the suspiciously authentic-sounding references to Queen Anne (r. 1702-14) – it really is an old song (it’s in Pills to Purge Melancholy, published 1706). I find it heartbreakingly sad; the wistful tune, with that repeated dying fall on the last line, seems at odds with the gung-ho sentiment of the words. It’s not exactly an eighteenth-century Army Dreamers, but you can’t help remembering that a lot of them wouldn’t return, with full honour or otherwise – and suspecting that the people who sang it at the time knew it too. Or perhaps it’s just that we just sing it far too slow these days.
I was planning to use an earlier recording, put down while I had a cold and was getting weepy and emotional at the drop of a hat; I really belted out that chorus, I can tell you. Unfortunately by the end of the song I was singigg “Queen Adde commadds add we obey”, which spoiled the effect rather.
Admin note: up to now we’ve had two weeks with one folk song (FS) and one not-a-folk-song (NS), and one week with one FS and two NS. If this goes on I’ll end up with more non-folk songs on this site than folk, which wasn’t the idea at all. On the other hand, I do want to keep the 1-52 numbering system for both folk songs and weeks. My solution is to introduce a third category: AS, or also-a-folk-song. (No, it doesn’t make much sense. Humour me!)