The Sentry Box

(aka The Gentleman Soldier)


’Twas on one Sunday evening on sentry he did stand
    He fell in love with some pretty young maid by shaking of her hand;
By shaking of her hand, my boys, and the passing of a joke,
    He slipped her into the sentry box and roll’d her up in his cloak.

                And the drums they go a rat a tat tat,
                    And the fifes they loudly play.
                Fare ye well, Polly my dear,
                    I must be going away.

O! there they toss’d and tumbl’d till daylight did appear
    Then he arose, put on his clothes, and said, “Farewell my dear.
The drums they are a-beating and the fifes so sweetly play,
    If it wasn’t for that, Polly my dear, with you I’d gladly stay”.


“If anyone comes a-courting you, you treat them to a glass -
    If anyone comes a-courting you, say can you’re a country lass.
You need not even tell them that ever you pass’d a joke,
    That ever you went in a sentry box wrapp’d up in a soldier’s cloak”.


“Now come, my valiant young soldier, O! won’t you marry me?”
    “O no, my dearest Polly, such things they never can be,
For married I am already and children I have three,
    Two wives are allow’d in the army, but one’s too many for me.”


“O! now, my valiant young soldier, why hadn’t you told me so?
    My parents they’ll be angry if ever they come to know.”
When nine long months was up and pass’d this poor girl she brought shame,
    For she had a little militia boy and she did not know his name.


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