Banks of the Nile

Hark! hark! the drums are beating, my love, I must away,
I hear the bugle calling, I can no longer stay;
We are ordered out from Portsmouth for many a long mile,
To fight the Moors and Niggers on the banks of the Nile.

Oh, Willie dear, don’t leave me here behind to weep and mourn,
So I may curse and rue the day that ever I was born,
For the parting from my sweetheart is like parting from my life,
So stay at home, dear Willie, and I will be your wife.

The Queen she calls for men, love, and I, for one, must go,
The Queen she calls for men, love, I dare not answer No;
We must away to face the foe while cannons roar the while,
To fight with Briton’s heroes on the banks of the Nile.

Then I’ll cut off my yellow hair and go along with you,
I will put on men’s clothing and go see Egypt, too;
I will cherish and protect you through hardship and through toil,
And we’ll comfort one another on the Banks of the Nile.

Your waist it is too slender, love, your fingers are too small,
I am afraid you would not answer when on you I would call,
Your delicate constitution would last but a short while,
Among those sandy deserts on the Banks of the Nile.

Oh, cursed be the cruel war and the hour it first begun,
For it has robbed old Ireland of many a noble son;
It robs us of our sweethearts, protectors of the soil,
And their bodies feed the wild fowls on the Banks of the Nile.

But soon the war will be over and we’ll all be coming home,
Unto our wives and sweethearts we left behind to mourn;
We will kiss them and embrace them with their little winning smile,
And we never will return again to the Banks of the Nile.

Gordon, Robert Winslow, 1888-1961
Date Recorded: 
September, 1924
Track Duration (h:m:s): 
Original Medium: 
wax cylinder
American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Call Number/Physical Location: 
AFS 19011A: G80 Misc 133

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