Rambling Soldier (II), The
DESCRIPTION: "I am a rambling soldier, From (Tipperary) come to (France), And poverty compelled my To fall out into ranks." "Cold weather is approaching, And I have no clothes to pack... They are all upon my back." The singer tells how he acquired his ragged outfit
EARLIEST DATE: 1862 (Fred May's Comic Irish Songster, according to Brown)
KEYWORDS: clothes soldier rambling
FOUND IN: US(SE,Ap)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
BrownIII 369, "The Rambling Soldier" (1 text)
Boswell/Wolfe 54, pp. 91-92, "The Rambling Soldier" (1 short text, 1 tune)
cf. "The Son of a Gambolier (I)"
NOTES: The notes in Brown quote the Fred May's Comic Irish Songster version, in which the singer apparently sailed from Tipperary and now is selling song sheets of the song. They suggest it as the ancestor of "The Son of a Gambolier (I)" -- with which song I lumped it until the second traditional version, in the Boswell collection, turned up.
It is interesting to note that neither the Brown nor Boswell versions have preserved the name "Tipperary" (Brown makes the singer's home "Tripling"; in Boswell, it's "Tiplin Cain"), but both have him go to France. This obviously suggests that the hero of the song, originally a poor emigrant, has enlisted in the British army. Since the song cannot be traced before 1862, and the last time British troops fought against the French was in 1815, I wonder if there might not have been a (lost) version in which the singer enlisted in the British army in World War I and ended up in the trenches. - RBW
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