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Tune: Traditional

My time it has expired all on the tenth of June [1781],
Where the pretty birds were singing, and flowers in their bloom,
Where the pretty birds were singing, so sweet from ev'ry tree,
Farewell unto the army, where they beat the reveille.

And to you my lovely officers, a word I have to say,
Before you go to battle, consider well I pray,
See how you kept our wages back, and robbed us of our clothes,
That we so dearly paid for in hard fatiguing blows.

And to you my lovely officers, those lines were written for,
I'd have you to pray for a short and moderate war,
Pray for the strength of Sampson and great King David slight,
For there's scarcely one to twenty of you that's courage
enough to fight.

Hear a word unto our counsel, that rules through every state,
I pray be honest-hearted, for knavery I hate,
Try for once to do justice, be liberal and free,
Deal fairly with a soldier, and he'll deal fair with thee.

What think you of a soldier that fights for liberty,
Do you think he fights for money, or to set his country free?
I'd have you consider, and bear it on your mind,
Lest you should want their help again, it might be bard to find.

Our officers on the right of us, our country on the left,
Our enemy in front of us a-firing at our breasts,
The devil he comes up behind, and brings up the rear,
And a soldier that escapes them all has never need to fear.

My time it has expired, my song is at an end,
Here's a health to General Washington and every soldier's friend,
And he that cheats a soldier out of his little pay,
May the devil take him on his back, to hell with him straightway.

Quoting Irwin Silber:

The mutiny of the Pennsylvania Line began on New Year's Day, 1781. The
accumulated grievances concerning food, clothing, quarters, pay, etc.,
together with claims that the terms of enlistment had expired, led to
the uprising. The mutiny lasted for ten days and some 1,500 Continen-
tal troops were involved in it at its high point. Many of the
mutineers planned a march on Philadelphia to confront the Congress
with their demands. Washington and the generals were quite concerned
about checking the possible spread of the mutiny throughout the army,
since there was wide-spread sympathy for the rebels. The mutiny was
finally negotiated to a settlement by leaders of the uprising and the
officers, but another revolt, this from New Jersey troops, followed in
its wake, as a sympathy action. Eventually, four of the New Jersey
mutineers were executed.

No one knows for sure which of the several mutinies, if any, gave rise
to the above song. But it would be surprising if its anonymous author
were not involved in one of them.

from Irwin Silber, _Songs of Independence_
@soldier @Army @American @revolution @bitching
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