Forfar Sodger, The

DESCRIPTION: The singer grows up in Forfar, where he is rather a cut-up. After many adventures, he joins the army. He loses a leg in the Peninsular War, but it does not bother him; "Snug in Forfar now I sit, And thrive upon a pension."
AUTHOR: David Shaw
EARLIEST DATE: 1897 (Reid); author Shaw died 1856
KEYWORDS: soldier injury money
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Ford-VagabondSongsAndBalladsOfScotland, pp. 163-166, "The Farfar Soldier" (1 text, 1 tune); cf. pp. 166-168, "The Perthshire Pensioner" (1 text, a Crimean War item adapted from the above and probably not a folk song in its own right)
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #74, pp. 1-2, "The Forfar Sodger" (2 texts)
Greig/Duncan1 69, "The Forfar Sodger" (15 texts, 13 tunes)
Dallas-TheCruelWars-100SoldiersSongs, pp. 162-164, "The Forfar Sodger" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Alan Reid, _The Bards of Angus and the Mearns: An Anthology of the Counties_, J. and R. Parlaine, 1897, p. 407, "The Forfar Pensioner" (1 text)

Roud #2857
The Perthshire Pensioner (Ford-VagabondSongsAndBalladsOfScotland, pp. 166-168)
The Forfar Soldier
The Forfarshire Sodger
The Sodger
In Forfar I Was Born and Bred
NOTES [171 words]: It will be obvious that the author of this song did not in fact have to live off the sort of pension paid by the British government in the early nineteenth century....
Reid gives a few brief reminiscences of Shaw, who was a weaver who had almost no edication. Among other things, the book reports that he was born c. 1786, died in 1856, and published two collections of songs. He is said to have had at least two daughters; no sons are mentioned. (Thanks to Jim Dixon for pointing this out to me.)
At least some versions of the song mention the singer being taught the "rule of three." This is a statement about proportions -- in effect, "if a is to b as c is to d, what is d?" (an equation in three known and one unknown term, hence the name). In modern fractional notation, we would say that a/b=c/d, and that the rule tells us that d=bc/a. A trivial calculation today, but it let minimally educated people calculate such things as the price of a fraction of a pound of an item when the price for a whole pound was known. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.4
File: FVS163

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