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about

Mary And The Soldier is one of a family of songs found throughout Britain and Ireland telling the story of an enterprising young woman who, having both the courage and financial means at her disposal, elects to follow her soldier love into battle rather than meekly await his return at home. The song reminds us of the stories of women and trans people throughout history who, either by desire or desperation, escaped the stifling gender norms of their time through disguise and the anonymity of the armed forces.

Owing to a creative misremembering of the lyrics by the lead vocalist, our version of the song is set during the reign of Queen Anne and, one therefore assumes, the War of the Spanish Succession. The traditional words made no reference to the good queen, but such is the folk process!

lyrics

Come all you lads of high renown
That would hear of a fair young maiden
And she roved out of a summer's day
For to view the soldiers parading
They marched so bold and they looked so gay
Their colours flying and the bands did play
And it caused young Mary for to say
I'll wed you me my gallant soldier

She viewed the soldiers on parade
And as they stood at their leisure
Mary to herself did say:
At last I've found my pleasure
But oh how cruel Queen Anne must be
To banish my darling away from me
Well I'll leave them all and I'll go with thee
My bold undaunted soldier

Oh Mary dear, your parents' love
I pray don't be unruly
For when you're in a foreign land,
Believe me you'll rue it surely
Perhaps in battle I might fall
All shot by an angry cannonball
And you so far from your daddy's hall
Be advised by a gallant soldier.

Oh I have fifty guineas in bright gold,
Likewise a heart that's bolder
And I'd leave this all and I'll go with you
My bold undaunted soldier
So don't say no but let me go
And I will face the daring foe
And we'll march together to and fro
And I'll wed you, my gallant soldier

Oh when he'd seen her loyalty
And Mary so true-hearted
He said my darling, married we'll be
And nothing but death will part us
And when we're in a far off land
I'll guard you, darling, with my right hand
In hopes that God might stand a friend
To Mary and her gallant soldier

credits

from We Bid You Welcome Brother Debtor, released May 19, 2016
Traditional arranged by 12 Dead in Everett.

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about

12 Dead in Everett England, UK

A low-down, seditious trio playing old time, folk and rebel music. Songs to fan the flames of discontent and tell your boss to go to hell. Sweet harmonies of reason in a world deaf to exploitation.

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