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DT Correction/origins: Female Drummer/Soldier Maid

DigiTrad:
FEMALE DRUMMER
SOLDIER MAID
THE FEMALE DRUMMER
THE HANDSOME YOUNG SAILOR


Related thread:
Lyr Add: Female Drummer (6)


Bigtone2 10 Jul 07 - 12:46 PM
Bigtone2 10 Jul 07 - 12:57 PM
Little Robyn 10 Jul 07 - 03:40 PM
Joe Offer 10 Jul 07 - 05:05 PM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Jul 07 - 07:24 PM
Joe Offer 26 Apr 21 - 05:18 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Apr 21 - 05:32 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: FEMALE DRUMMER correction
From: Bigtone2
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 12:46 PM

FEMALE DRUMMER

I was brought up in Yorkshire and when I was sixteen
I walked all the way to London and a soldier I became

cho: With me fine cap and feather, likewise me rattling drum
They learned me to play upon the ra-ba-da-ba-dum
With me gentle waist so slender, and me fingers long and small
I could play upon the ra-ba-dum the best of them all

And so many were the pranks that I saw upon the French
And so boldly did I fight me boys although I'm but a wench
And in buttoning up up me trousers so often have I smiled
To think I'd live with a thousand men and a maiden all the while

But they never found my secret out until this very hour
When they sent me up to London to be sentry at the Tower
When a young girl fell in love with me and she found that I's a maid
She went up to me officer and me secret she betrayed

He unbuttoned then my red tunic and he found that it was true
"It's a shame", he says "to lose a pretty drummer boy like you"
So now I must return to me mum and dad at home
And along with me bold comrades no longer can I roam

NOTES: Corrections by listening to the record. Sadly it makes v2 less of a mystery. TS


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Subject: FEMALE DRUMMER correction
From: Bigtone2
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 12:57 PM

FEMALE DRUMMER

I was brought up in Yorkshire and when I was sixteen
I walked all the way to London and a soldier I became

cho: With me fine cap and feather, likewise me rattling drum
They learn_ed me to play upon the ra-ba-da-ba-dum
With me gentle waist so slender, and me fingers long and small
I could play upon the ra-ba-dum the best of them all

And so many were the pranks that I saw upon the French
And so boldly did I fight me boys although I'm but a wench
And in buttoning up up me trousers so often have I smiled
To think I'd live with a thousand men and a maiden all the while

But they never found my secret out until this very hour
When they sent me up to London to be sentry at the Tower
When a young girl fell in love with me and she found that I's a maid
She went up to me officer and me secret she betrayed

He unbuttoned then my red tunic and he found that it was true
"It's a shame", he says "to lose a pretty drummer boy like you"
So now I must return to me mum and dad at home
And along with me bold comrades no longer can I roam

Notes: Corrections made to original lyric by listening repeatedly. Sadly verse 2 is no longer a mystery (see thread 'FEMALE DRUMMER') TS


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Subject: RE: FEMALE DRUMMER correction
From: Little Robyn
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 03:40 PM

But who did you listen to?

"To think I'd live with a thousand men and a maiden all the while"

I understand it's "I've lain with a thousand men"
Makes it more of a joke.
Also at the start, I've always sung "I ran away from home".
But that might just be my version.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: FEMALE DRUMMER correction
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 05:05 PM

There certainly are a lot songbook sources for this one. The Traditional Ballad index breaks it into two entries, and lists Roud (click) and Sam Henry, and much more:

Soldier Maid, The

DESCRIPTION: The singer, a maiden, runs away from her parents and enlists as a soldier/sailor. She proves highly successful. Sent home to recruit, a woman falls in love with the "soldier boy." The other woman betrays her secret; the woman is cashiered
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1930 (Ord)
LONG DESCRIPTION: Singer enlists as a (drummer/sailor) (and fights "with the Noble Duke of York at the seige of Valenciennes"). Her "fingers neat and small" makes her the best drummer. She sleeps with the men but remains "a maiden all the while," Sent as a guard to the Tower of London a girl falls in love with her, she reveals her secret which the girl betrays to the regiment. She is given a bounty by the queen for her courage, marries and teaches her husband to drum, and would enlist again "if the (Queen/Duke) be short of men"
KEYWORDS: soldier sailor love disguise trick cross-dressing betrayal war
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
May 24-July 28, 1793 - Siege of Valenciennes by the Allies including the British under the Duke of York (source: Campaigns in the Online Encyclopedia site "Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 182 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica")
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland,England(Lond,South)) Ireland Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
SHenry H497, p. 326, "The Drummer Maid" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ord, p. 311, "The Soldier Maid" (1 text)
Peacock, pp. 346-347, "The Soldier Maid" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, SAILMAID* SOLDMAID

ST DTsoldma (Full)
Roud #226
RECORDINGS:
Harry Cox, "The Female Drummer" (on HCox01)
Mary Ann Haynes, "The Female Drummer" (on Voice11)

BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, 2806 c.17(132), "The Female Drummer" ("A maiden I was at the age of sixteen"), W. Armstrong (Liverpool), 1820-1824; also Harding B 11(2338), Harding B 11(1187), Harding B 11(1188), Firth c.14(165), Firth c.14(166), Firth c.14(168), Harding B 11(970), Harding B 17(93b), Harding B 11(969), Harding B 11(2505), Harding B 16(93c), 2806 c.16(67), Harding B 20(240)[some words illegible], "The Female Drummer"
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Banks o' Skene" (plot)
cf. "The Drum Major (The Female Drummer)" (plot)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Handsome Young Sailor
When I Was a Fair Maid
Notes: The [long] description is from broadside Bodleian, 2806 c.17(132). In Mary Ann Haynes's version on Voice11 her secret is revealed when she is wounded on the battlefield and she would enlist again "If our old queen was to go short and never want of men." The queen is a character in all versions (the broadsides are almost identical to each other) but not as an indication there is no king. Possibly this is a side reference to one of King George III's bouts of "madness" (porphyria).
Yates, Musical Traditions site Voice of the People suite "Notes - Volume 11" - 11.9.02 cites broadsides from c.1655 to 1689, predating the Siege of Valenciennes. Between 1689 and 1793 the Musical Traditions notes that "Roy Palmer ... [reports] there was indeed a female drummer at Valenciennes by the name of Mary Ann Talbot (1778 - 1808). In 1809 Talbot was the subject of a book The Life and Surprising Adventures of Mary Ann Talbot." - BS
Ben Schwartz originally described his texts of "The Female Drummer" as separate from "The Soldier Maid." As the above makes clear, the song evolved heavily over time -- e.g. the localiation to Valenciennes. I consider "The Female Drummer" a special case of "The Soldier Maid," though, and have lumped accordingly.
This has proved very popular with folk revival singers. It doesn't seem to have been quite as popular in tradition, though by no means rare (the notes in Henry/Huntington/Herrmann list only fifteen traditional texts, mostly from Grieg, but many Pop Folk recordings).
Valenciennes was one of the great border forts Louis XIV used to protect from invasions from the Netherlands. The chronology here is confusing, however: It was in July 1656 that the Prince de Condé (at that time serving the Spanish) forced the Vicomte de Turenne (then a French officer) to give up the siege of Valenciennes. But Oliver Cromwell did not committ English troops to the fight (on the side of the French) until 1657. I wonder if the Siege of Valenciennes referred to in the song might not be some other engagement, perhaps during the War of the Spanish Succession.
IIncidentally, there are historical records of women running off to join the army. I know of the case of Mollie Bean, who in the American Civil War fought in the 47th North Carolina regiment. Cuban immigrant Loreta Janeta Velazquez reportedly served as "Lt. Henry Buford" from 1861 until discovered in 1863, though many of the stories about her are self-reported and dubious. The Confederates even deliberately commissioned one female officer, Sally Louisa Tompkins -- though she was commissioned to allow her to run a hospital. - RBW
File: DTsoldma

Drum Major, The (The Female Drummer)

DESCRIPTION: A girl enlists "voluntarily in a regiment of foot" to follow her lover. A soldier sees her bathing; she is called before the officers. They call her lover and request that he pay the postage on a letter from his love. He pays the postage. They are married
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1939 (Sam Henry collection)
KEYWORDS: love separation disguise soldier cross-dressing trick
FOUND IN: Ireland Britain(Scotland)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
SHenry H797, p. 327, "The Drum Major" (1 text, 1 tune)
Roud #1678
BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Harding B 28(78), "The Female Drum Major" ("Come all you true lovers and batchelor's sweet"), unknown, n.d.; also 2806 c.17(131), 2806 c.17(130)[almost entirely illegible], "The Female Drum Major"
ALTERNATE TITLES:
cf. "The Soldier Maid" (subject)
Notes: The story in the Bodleian broadsides is somewhat different from SHenry but there is enough similarity in lines to convince me that these are the same. Here is a description for the broadsides: A girl enlists "who carries the drum, In search of her true love to Flanders is gone." Besides being a drummer who "excelled them all," she distinguished herself in battle ("she fought with such courage, I mean by the sword, Until that her fame it came up to the board"). A soldier sees her bathing; she is called before the officers. They hear her story and the captain dresses her "in silks so fine, in woman's apparel." They call Jacklare, her lover. They kiss. The captain gives her "fifty pound, In reward for her service as we do hear. The King settled on her three hundred a year." They marry. - BS
File: HHH797

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2007 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


For comparison, here are the lyrics from the Digital Tradition. I'm guessing this is the Steeleye Span version.

FEMALE DRUMMER

I was brought up in Yorkshire and when I was sixteen
I walked all the way to London and a soldier I became

cho: With me fine cap and feathers, likewise me rattling drum
They learned me to play upon the ra-ba-da-ba-dum
With me gentle waist so slender, me fingers long and small
I could play upon the ra-ba-dum the best of them all

And so many were the pranks that I saw upon the breech
And so boldly did I fight me boys although I'm but a wench
And they buttoned then up me trousers so up to them I smiled
To think I'd live with a thousand men and a maiden all the while

And they never found my secret out until this very hour
When they sent me out to London to be sentry at the Tower
When a young girl fell in love with me and she found that I's a maid
She went out to me officer me secret she betrayed
He unbuttoned then my red uniform and he found that it was true
"It's a shame", he says "to lose a pretty drummer boy like you"
So now I must return to me mum and dad at home
And along with me old comrades no longer can I roam

recorded by Steeleye Span on "Please To See The King" (1971)

One of the many songs in which a young girl dresses up as a man and
joins the Army. This one is special because there's no lover involved
nor does she become pregnant. The second verse refers to the habit
punishing the young servicemen (drummer boys, midshipmen etc.) for
petty offenses with lashes on the bare bottom while being bent over
breech of a cannon. I would really like to know how she pulled off
the trick of not being found out. MJ

@soldier @transvestite @army
filename[ SOLDMAI3
MJ


...and another version:

SOLDIER MAID
OR RUB A DUB A DUB

When I was a fair maid at the age of sweet sixteen
From my parents I did run away a soldier to become
I enlisted in the army a soldier for to be
And they learnt me tae play upon the rub a dub a dee

With my nice cap and feathers if you only could have seen
You'd have sworn in your very heart a young man I had been
With my gentle waist so slender and my fingers long and small
I could rattle up the rub a dub a dee the best of them all

Oh many is the prank I played upon the field
And many was the young man his love to me revealed
Many a prank have I seen among the French
And so boldly I fought, though only a wench

With my regiment at the front all the time I might have been
With the brave Duke of York at the siege of Valenciennes
But was favored by my officer for fear I might be slain
I was sent home to England for recruiting back again

Many a night in the guard room I have lain
I never was afraid to lie down with the men
At the pulling off my breeches I oftimes gave a smile
To think I lay with a regiment, and a maiden all the while

That might never have been known until this very hour
But they sent me up to London to keep sentry in the Tower
A lady fell in love with me, I told her I was a maid
She went to my officer, and the secret she betrayed

My officer sent for me to see if that was true
I told him that it was - What else could I do
I told him it was and he smiled at me and said
It's a pity for to lose you, such a drummer as you made

But for your valiant conduct at the siege of Valciennes
A bounty you shall get my girl, a bounty from the king
But should the wars arise again and the King be wanting men
I'll put on my regimentals and I'll fight for him again

@soldier @transvestite @music
recorded by Frankie Armstrong on Music Plays So Grand
Roy Harris on Rambling Soldier
Watersons in Yorkshire Garland
filename[ SOLDMAID
TUNE FILE: SOLDMAID
CLICK TO PLAY
SOF

...and yet another:

THE FEMALE DRUMMER

When I was a young girl at the age of sixteen
Far from my parents ran away all to serve the Queen
The officer enlistng me said I was a nice young man
"I think you'll make a drummer, so it's come along young man.
So it's come along young man, so it's come along young man
I think you'll make a drummer, so it's come along young man.

I was sent up to my quarters all for to go to bed
And sleeping by a soldier's side I did not feel afraid.
In pulling off my red jacket it often made me smile
To think I was a drummer and a maiden all the while
And a maiden etc.

My waist being long and slender, my fingers thin and small
All for to beat upon the drum I soon exceeded all
I played upon my kettledrums like other drummers played
I played upon nmy kettledrums and still remained a maid.
And still remained etc.

I was sent up to London all for to guard the Tower
And there I might have been till this very day and hour,
But a young girl fell in love with me, I told her I was a maid
And straightway to my officer the secret she betrayed.
The secret se betrayed etc.

The officer he sent for me to know if it was true,
"Of such a thing I cannot nor I won't believe of you"
He looked me in the face and he smiled as he said
"It's a pity we should lose such a drummer as you've made."
Such a drummer etc.

So fare you well, dear officer, you have been kind to me
And likewise dear comrades, I'm not forgetting thee
And if your army should be short for want of any man
I'll put on my hat and feather and I'll march with you again*
And I'll march etc.

*more usually, "...and I'll beat the drum again."

From Wanton Seed, Purslow
@army @transvestite
filename[ SOLDMAI2
TUNE FILE: SOLDMAID
CLICK TO PLAY
RG
APR99


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Subject: RE: DT Correction/origins: Female Drummer/Soldier Maid
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 07:24 PM

Presumably 'Bigtone2' has listened to the arrangement recorded by Steeleye Span and has observed that the DT file that appears to be a transcription of that recording is either no such thing or was made from memory with plenty of mistakes in it. Mind you, his or her transcription also contains a fair few mis-hearings of its own.

It's also a mistake to transcribe 'my' as 'me', unless you are an ethnomusicologist; and then you would have to decide between 'my', 'mi', 'moi', 'ma', and other shades of pronounciation. When working from a commercial recording (essentially an 'art music' arrangement), it's frankly silly and pointless to insist on 'me'. The word is 'my'; pronounciation is a personal thing and irrelevent to the meaning of the text except where confusion may arise.


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Subject: RE: DT Correction/origins: Female Drummer/Soldier Maid
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Apr 21 - 05:18 PM

Joe - needs update


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Subject: RE: DT Correction/origins: Female Drummer/Soldier Maid
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Apr 21 - 05:32 PM

I'm pretty sure that rewritten version was by Mike and Norma Waterson.


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