The Soldier Cut Down in his Prime

The Soldier Cut Down in his Prime
As I was a-walking all through the dark arches,
Dark were the night and dull were the day;
Who should I meet only one of my comrades,
He was wrapped up in blankets much colder than clay.
As sung by Harry Brazil, Sander’s Lane, Gloucester 5 January 1966 (Springthyme 66.1.15). In:
Shepheard, Peter. Folk Songs and Ballads of the Brazil Family of Gloucester (1967).

As I was a-walking all through the dark arches,
Dark were the night and dull were the day;
Who should I meet only one of my comrades,
He was wrapped up in blankets much colder than clay.

Give me a candle to light him to bed with,
And a black flannel to bind up his head;
His poor head is aching, his kind heart is breaking,
There’s nobody knows how the poor man do feel.

If I had of known that my friends they do slight me,
If I had of known that I took it in time;
I might have had one of those pills of white mercury, [see below **
But now I’m a young man cut down in my prime.

My poor ageing father, my old ageing mother,
Often times told me they’d bring me to ruin;
To never go courtin flash girls of the city,
Pray stay at home and keep sweet company.

At the top of the street there was two girls a-standing,
One to the other they whispered and said;
“There goes a young man whose money we’ve squandered,
Now we have brought him to his silent grave.”

So beat the drums over him and play the fife merrily, [merrily sung as mallorys
Play the dead march as you carry him along;
Take him to a churchyard and fire three volleys over him,
There goes a young soldier that never done wrong.

** This line sounds more like the picturesque:
I might have been one of those fields of white marguerites

Another verse probably from Cooke in Cinderford:
On the top of his tombstone these words they are written,
All you fellows take warning by me;
Never go courtin flash girls of the city,
The girls of the city were the ruin of me.


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