The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #23538   Message #4093136
Posted By: GUEST,Felipa
14-Feb-21 - 12:32 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: We Be Soldiers Three
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Be Soldiers Three

[ In July, 2010, we received a message from Simon Freedman, who "spent many years in the Sealed Knot Society, English Civil War Re-enactment, singing this round a roaring log fire, first representing a band of Highland Mercenaries and then an English Cannon Regiment, who typically used the skills of Dutch Gunners who had fought in the 30 years war."
Here are his clarifications and comments on the original article]:

Although the English weren’t involved directly in the 30 Years War in the Low Countries, there were many Highland (Scottish) Mercenaries that were. They brought this back with them at the start of the English Civil War, where they were pressed to support Charles 1st.

Footnote 1: The Line Pardonnez Moi, Je Vous en Pris? Is actually a question, in French. “Pardon me, can I help you?” and was said as a mercenary typically intentionally caught someone with their shoulder in a pub or bar, spilling their drink. Basically it was an offer to start a fight!

Verse 1: Lately come forth from the low country instead of Lately come forth of the low country.

Footnote 2: a penny of money: It does relate to money, namely the Mercenary pay that they didn’t receive, most of the time. Either that or they’d spent it!

Verse 2: I know Here, good fellow ... as Hail, good fellow ...

Verse 4: Payes for the shot what ever it hits ... rather than ...what ever it is ...: The Mercenaries had to pay for the powder and shot they used, out of their wages, “whatever it hits” , whether that was the enemy or not.

June Tabor sang Soldiers Three in 2005 on her CD Apples. She commented in the liner notes:

First printed in Deuteromelia (1609).

At the beginning of the 16th century the Netherlands were part of the most powerful empire on earth, that of Charles V (1500-1558). It was during his reign that the persecutions and wars began. More than 150 years of violence and brutality followed as the great powers of Europe fought in and for those territories. Finally the land was partitioned, the South annexed by France, the north becoming modern-day Holland and the central part, eventually, Belgium. A degree of stability was achieved but the habit of fighting wars here continued. Mercenaries returning from the troubled Low Countries, penniless, thirsty and dangerous, were to be given a wide berth. “Pardona moy” was definitely a provocation, not an apology.

Footnote 3: Charge it againe boy, charge it againe, ...: “Charge” relates to the loading of a musket or cannon.
As long as there is any inck in thy pen, ...: “Ink in my pen” to sign for the powder & shot, so they could be duly billed for it.