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Mick Pearce (MCP) Lyr Add: I Wish the Wars Were All Over (38) RE: Lyr Add: I Wish the Wars Were All Over 28 Sep 20

Here's the version from A Sailor's Songbag.



Down in the meadows the violets so blue,
There I saw pretty Polly milking her cow,
The Song that she sung made all the grove to ring,
My Billy is gone and left me to serve the king,
  And I wish the wars were all over.

I step't up to her and made her this reply,
And said my dear Polly what makes you to cry.
My Billy is gone from me whom I love so dear,
The Americans will kill him so great is my fear.
  And I wish, etc.

I said my dear Polly can you fancy me,
I'll make you as happy as happy can be,
No, no, sir said she that never can be
I ne'er shall be happy till my Billy I see.
  And I wish, etc.

I still amazed to hear what she said,
The small bird a singing on every tree,
The notes that she sung where nightingales notes
How the lark and the Linnets warble their throats
  And I wish, etc.

I now for my parent no longer can stay,
To seek for my Billy I'll hast away,
To see if my Billy will make me his wife,
Free for his sake I'll venture my life.
  And I wish, etc.

I now to some Tailor I'll hast and away,
To rig myself out in some young man's array,
Like a bold fellow so neat and so trim,
So free for his sake I'll go serve the King,
  And I wish the wars were all over.

Source: A Sailor's Songbag - An American Rebel in an English Prison, 1777-1779, edited with an introduction by George G. Carey

Carey's notes to the song say: This song is probably taken from a broadside slip. In the Madden Collection (5: 215) there is a version which includes only verses one, three and six in truncated form. However, elsewhere in the same collection (7:418; 8: 364, 368) there are three versions practically identical to Connor's manuscript piece. For further listings from oral tradition see Dean-Smith (p. 77). For a variant see Baring-Gould, A Garland of Country Song (pp. 18-19).

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