Mudcat Café message #3620908 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #22617   Message #3620908
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
21-Apr-14 - 04:09 PM
Thread Name: Origin: High Germany
Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
Much learned discussion about "High Germany," whether it is the work of some unknown poet of the 1820s-1830s, as implied by Bruce O some years ago (above) or a folk effort of an earlier time, is penned in this thread.
The text, however, has not been posted in mudcat.
Whether it descends from the 18th C. verses posted earlier in this thread is open to question.


O Polly, love, O Polly, love, the rout is begun
And we must away at the sound of the drum,
Go dress yourself in all your best, & go along with me
And I'll take you to the wars in High Germany.

O my dearest Billy mind what you say,
My feet they are sore I cannot march away,
Besides my dearest Billy, I am with child by thee,
Not fitting for the wars in High Germany.

I will buy you a horse, if my Polly can ride,
And many a long night I will march by her side,
We will drink at every alehouse there ere we come nigh
And we'll travel on the road sweet Molly and I.

O Polly, love, O Polly, love, I like you very well,
There are few in this place my Molly can excell,
But when your baby is born, love, and sits smiling on your knee,
You will think on your Billy that is in High Germany.

Down in yonder valley I'll make for him a bed,
And the sweetest of roses shall be his coverlid, (coverlet?)
With pinks and sweet violets I will adorn his feet,
Where the fishes are charmed the music is so sweet.

O Polly, love, O Polly, love, pray give me your hand
And promise you will marry me when I come to Old England,
I give you my right hand, I will not married be,
Till you come from the wars in High Germany.

Woe be to the wars that they began, For they have prest my Billy & many a clever man,
For they have prest my Billy no more him I shall see
And so cold will be his grave in High Germany.

The drum that beats is covered with green,
The pretty lambs a sporting much pleasure to be seen
May the birds on the branches hinder my downfall
The leaving of my true love grieves me the worst of all.

Harding B11, 1536; B11 (2899); and others of roughly the same date (1820-1830), broadsides in the Bodleian Collection.