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GUEST,Lighter Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old? (70* d) RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old? 29 Aug 13


Thanks for the historical info, Teribus.

Below is the well-known "ancestral" song in full, from Henry Playford's _Wit and Mirth: or Pills to Purge Melancholy_, Vol. IV, pp. 102-104. (Playford, not D'Urfey, was the sole editor of the first edition.) The indicated "foregoing Tune" - "Jockey's Lamentation" - is not notably like the "Twa Sergeants" tune.

The great Bruce Olson provided words from the second ed. of _Pills_ (1707)on an earlier thread. Except for trivial differences in punctuation, spelling, and italicizing (all reproduced below for pedants), the 1706 words are identical.

The refrain of "Twa Sergeants" has been modernized from this song. But aside from that and the general inspiration, the two songs are quite distinct:



       _The Recruiting_ Officer; _Or, the Merrie Voluntiers: Being an Excellent New_ Copy _of Verses upon Raising Recruits. To the   foregoing Tune.

Hark! now the Drums beat up agen,
For all true Soldiers Gentlmen;
Then let us list, and March I say,
Over the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills and o're the Main,
To _Flanders, Portugal_ and _Spain_,
Queen _Ann_ Commands and we'll obey,
_Over the Hills and far away_.

All Gentlemen that have a Mind,
To serve the Queen that's good and kind,
Come list and enter into Pay,
Then o're the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills and o're the Main,
To _Flanders, Portugal_ and _Spain_,
Queen _Ann_, &c.

Here's Forty Shillings on the Drum,
For those that Voluntiers do come,
With Shirts and Cloaths and present Pay,
When ore the Hill and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.

Hear that brave Boys and let us go,
Or else we shall be Prest you know;
Then List and enter into Pay,
And o're the Hills and far away;
O're the Hills, &c.

The Constables they search about,
To find such brisk young Fellows out;
Then let's be Voluntiers I say,
Over the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.

Since now the French so low are brought,
And wealth and honours to be got,
Who then behind wou'd sneaking stay,
When o're the Hills and far away;
Over, &c.

No more from sound of Drum retreat,
While _Marlborough_, and _Gallaway_ beat,*
The French and Spaniards every day,
When over the Hills and far away; &c.

He that is forc'd to go and Fight,
Will never get true honour by't,
While Voluntiers shall win the Day,
When o're the Hill and far away;
Over, &c.

What tho our Friends our Absence mourn,
We all with honour shall return,
And then we'll sing both Night and day,
Over the Hills and far away;
Over, &c.

The Prentice _Tom_ he may refuse,
To wipe his angry Master's Shoes:
For then he's free to Sing and play,
Over the Hills and far away. &c.

Over Rivers, Bogs and Springs,
We all shall live as great as Kings,
And Plunder get both Night and Day,
When o'er the Hills and far away.&c.

We then shall lead more happy Lives,
By getting rid of brats and Wives,
That scold on both Night and Day,
When o're the Hills and far away. &c.

Come on then Boys and You shall see.
We every one shall Captans be,
To Whore and Rant as well as they,
When o're the Hills and far away, &.

For if we go 'tis one to Ten,
But we return all Gentlemen,
All Gentlemen as well as they,
When o'er the Hills and far away; &c.


Olson adds the following in explanation of "Gallaway":

"Henry de Massue, French, created Earl of Galway by the English in 1697, reviving extinct title. In 1707 he lost the battle of Almanza. The tune, presumeably Irish, "Lord Gallaway's Lamentation", probably refers to him. (D. O'Sullivan's 'Carolan', II, p. 128-9)."

Lloyd and others note that "The Recruiting Officer" is sung in George Farquhar's play of the same name, also published in 1706. The play, however, includes only Playford's stanzas 10 (with a "soundrel" master); 12 (who "scold and Brawl"); the refrain (with "the "Queen" unspecified); and the first couplet of stanza 13.

Interestingly enough, the Dublin-born playwright Farquhar was himself a recruiting officer for the British army from 1703-1706. It suggests at least the possibility that during that period he himself wrote the full song, abridging it and improving a few words for the play. (Both appeared independently in 1706.)

The "Twa Recruiting Sergeants" looks like an inspired Scots rewrite and expansion of the stanzas sung in Farquhar's classic play. "The Voluntiers" could not have simply "evolved" into the "Sergeants."

Scott, undoubtedly reflecting wider usage, called the Black Watch "The Forty-Twa" so early as 1816.


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