Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafebrownie

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Origins: Gentleman Soldier / The Sentry Box

DigiTrad:
THE SENTRY BOX


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Soldier Song (5) (closed)
Lyr Req: Gentleman Soldier (from the Pogues) (14)
(origins) Lyr/Tune Add: Gentleman Soldier (Penguin) (5)
Lyr Add: The Gentleman Soldier (from Dubliners) (9)


Bob Schwarer (phidea@cris.com) 13 Dec 96 - 11:54 AM
albert.hansell@bentley.com 13 Dec 96 - 12:59 PM
Bob Schwarer 13 Dec 96 - 03:41 PM
dick greenhaus 14 Dec 96 - 09:35 AM
albert.hansell@bentley.com 14 Dec 96 - 11:09 AM
Only once I'm afraid 09 Jan 97 - 04:20 PM
Bruce O. 16 May 98 - 04:58 PM
Jim Dixon 21 May 17 - 02:25 AM
Lighter 27 May 17 - 02:36 PM
Joe Offer 27 May 17 - 02:54 PM
Lighter 27 May 17 - 04:25 PM
Lighter 27 May 17 - 04:40 PM
Jim Dixon 23 Aug 17 - 10:04 PM
meself 24 Aug 17 - 01:11 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:



Subject: Gentleman Soldier
From: Bob Schwarer (phidea@cris.com)
Date: 13 Dec 96 - 11:54 AM

Does anyone have the lyrics to "A (or The) Gentleman Soldier" I think it's a Steeleye Span tune, but not positive. Bob S.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: THE GENTLEMAN SOLDIER (from the Spinners)
From: albert.hansell@bentley.com
Date: 13 Dec 96 - 12:59 PM

I learned it from a Spinners album.

Bert.

THE GENTLEMAN SOLDIER
(from the Spinners)

'Twas of a gentleman soldier. On a sentry he did stand.
He kindly saluted a fair maid with a waving of his hand.
So boldly then he kissed her and passed it off as a joke,
And drilled her into his sentry box, wrapped up in a soldier's cloak.

CHORUS:
And the drums they go with a rum-a-tum-tum and the fifes do loudly play.
So fare thee well, me Polly dear. I must be going away.

"Oh, come, my Gentleman soldier. Oh, won't you marry me?"
"Oh, no, my dearest Polly. This thing can never be,
For married I am already, and children I have three.
Two wives are allowed in the army, but one's too many for me."

Chorus

"Oh, come, my gentleman soldier. Why didn't you tell me so?
My parents will be angry when this they come to know."
When nine long months were up and past, this poor girl she brought shame.
She had a little militia boy and couldn't tell his name.

Chorus

"If anyone comes a-courting you, you treat them to a glass.
If anyone comes a-courting you, say you're a country lass.
You needn't even tell them you ever played this joke,
That you ever went in a sentry box wrapped up in a soldier's cloak."

Chorus


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Gentleman Soldier
From: Bob Schwarer
Date: 13 Dec 96 - 03:41 PM

That's it! Thanks a lot I appreciate the effort


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Gentleman Soldier
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 14 Dec 96 - 09:35 AM

Hi- That's the trouble with titles. We have the song (or a very close variant)as The Sentry Box.

If you can't find what you're looking for, try searching for a distinctive word or phrase INSIDE the song (NOT necessarily in the title).

Or, try a keyword. This song can be found with @soldier. @seduction and/or @bastard.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Gentleman Soldier
From: albert.hansell@bentley.com
Date: 14 Dec 96 - 11:09 AM

Great,

I'd forgotten that verse

-- There they tossed and tumbled... --

Thanks,

Bert.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Gentleman Soldier
From: Only once I'm afraid
Date: 09 Jan 97 - 04:20 PM

The Gentleman Soldier used to be called The Soldiers Cloak, and is a very old tune picked up by many folk groups 'cos its raunchy. I believe it appears in Roy Palmers 'The Rambling Soldier' with a bit of history.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD: The Gentleman Soldier (from A. L. Lloyd)
From: Bruce O.
Date: 16 May 98 - 04:58 PM

THE GENTLEMAN SOLDIER
As recorded by A. L. Lloyd on "England & Her Traditional Songs" (2003)

It's of a gentleman soldier, as a sentry he did stand.
He kindly saluted a fair maid by waving of his hand.
So boldly then he kissed her, and passed it as a joke.
He drilled her into the sentry box, wrapped up in a soldier's cloak.

CHORUS:
For the drums did go with a rap-a-tap-tap, and the fifes did loudly play,
Saying: "Fare you well, my Polly dear. I must be going away."

Oh, there they tossed and tumbled, till daylight did appear.
The soldier rose, put on his clothes, saying, "Fare you well, my dear,
For the drums they are a-beating, and the fifes so sweetly play.
If it warn't for that, dear Polly, along with you I'd stay."
For the drums, &c.

"Now, come, you gentleman soldier, and won't you marry me?"
"Oh, no, my dearest Polly, such things can never be,
For married I am already, and children I have three.
Two wives are allowed in the army, but one's too many for me!"
For the drums, &c.

"If anyone comes a-courting you, you treat 'em to a glass.
If anyone comes a-courting you, you say you're a country lass.
You needn't even tell them that ever you played this joke,
That ever you went in a sentry-box wrapped up in a soldier's cloak."
For the drums, &c.

"It's come, my gentleman soldier. Why didn't you tell me so?
My parents will be angry when this they come to know."
When nine long months was up and past, this poor girl she brought shame,
For she had a little militia boy, and she couldn't tell his name.
For the drums, &c.

[A. L. Lloyd sang this on the 33 1/3 recording that went with the "Penguin Book of English Folksongs." Tune given there is that below, which was that collected by Anne Geddes Gilchrist in 1907.]

X:1
T:The Gentleman Soldier
S:Penguin Book of English Folksongs
Q:100
L:1/8
M:6/8
K:G mixolydian
D| B,2D D D D|G3B A G|A2DD2A|(G3G2)D|\
B,D D D D D|G3B2G|A2DD2A|(G3G2)G|\
B2BB2G|A(c2c)zA|G2GG2B|(D3D2)B,|B,2D D D D|\
G2AB2B|A D D D2A|(G3G)"Chorus" G A|B2B B A G|\
A A A c B A|G2G (GA) B|(D3D) D D|\
B,2DD2D|G2AB2B|A2D D D A|(G3G2)|]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: THE GENTLEMAN SOLDIER (from Bodleian)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 May 17 - 02:25 AM

From a broadside in the Bodleian collection: Harding B 11(3013). (I have added punctuation.)


THE GENTLEMAN SOLDIER

As I walked out one evening, one evening in the Strand,
I met a gentleman soldier; on sentry he did stand.
He kindly saluted me, and bade me pass a joke,
Then he walked me into his sentry box and wrapt me in his cloak.

CHORUS: So never let on, my darling, that ever you past a joke,
That you've been in a sentry box, & wrapt in a soldier's cloak.

It was there we kissed, and there we toyed, till daylight did appear,
When the soldier he put on his cloak and said: "Farewell, my dear,
For don't you hear our trumpet sound? The drums so merrily play.
If it was not for that, my dearest girl, along with you I'd stay."

"Now, soldier, valiant soldier, won't you marry me?"
"What's the use of marrying? Such can never be,
For married I am already, and children I have three,
And to have two wives in the army, when one's too many for me."

"My mammy will be angry, when she does get to know,
That I have been in a sentry box, and wrapt in a soldier's cloak."
"Your mammy cannot be angry, the family to increase,
To have a little soldier boy, to dandle at her ease."

Now when nine months was over, this girl was much to blame.
She had a little soldier boy, and could not tell his name.
How she did curse and rue that night that she did pass a joke,
That she went into the sentry box, and was wrapt in a soldier's cloak!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD: The Soldier's Cloak (Gentleman Soldier)
From: Lighter
Date: 27 May 17 - 02:36 PM

The Traditional Ballad Index traces the song only as far back as 1905.

This is from "A Garland of New Songs Containing...5.The Soldier's Cloak," dated by the British Museum Library to "1790?"

THE SOLDIER'S CLOAK

'Twas on a Monday morning a centry I did stand,
I kindly was saluted by shaking of my hand,
I kindly was saluted by kisses and by joke,
And I was in a centry box wrapt up in a soldier's cloak.

There we did continue until the break of day,
Drums did beat and trumpets sound and music sweetly play,
Drums did beat and sweetly sound and band most sweetly play,
Farewell, my dearest Molly, I can no longer stay.

Oh! my jolly soldier, how could you serve me so,
My mammy will be angry when she comes to know,
Your mammy will not be angry, if you'll not tell her the joke,
That you was kiss'd in a centry box whrapt up in a soldier's cloak.

Soldiers they are pretty men, and valiant men also,
Therefore my dear I am resolv'd along with you to go,
And if you are a single man, I do not mind the joke,
That I was kiss'd in a centry box, wrapt up in a soldier's cloak.

Married I am already and children I have three,
Two wives I have in the army, but one is too many for me,
Your mammy will not be angry your family to embrace,
If it's a young drummer boy born of a noble race.

Harding B11 (3013) is dated to "between 1797 and 1807." It's somewhat more coherent, but it lacks stz. 4, making it unlikely that either text is really the "earliest."

Kipling called the song "The Sentry-Box." The Anglo-Irish fragment in "With the Main Guard" (1888) is as follows. Kipling notes that there was also a chorus.

If any young man should marry you,
Say nothin' about the joke;
That iver ye slep' in a sinthry box,
Wrapt up in a soldier's cloak. ...

I bid ye take care o' the brat, said he,
For it comes of a noble race.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Gentleman Soldier
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 May 17 - 02:54 PM

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on the song:

Gentleman Soldier, The

DESCRIPTION: Soldier brings woman into his sentry-box. They have sex; he prepares to leave. She asks him to marry her; he says he can't, as he's already married -- and "two wives are allowed in the army, but one's too many for me!" Nine months later she has a child.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1905 (Reeves-Sharp)
KEYWORDS: adultery seduction sex abandonment pregnancy bawdy humorous soldier
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South),Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, pp. 40-41, "The Gentleman Soldier" (1 text, 1 tune)
GreigDuncan7 1471, "The Sentry" (4 texts plus a single verse on p. 507, 3 tunes)
Reeves-Sharp 92, "The Sentry" (1 text)

Roud #178
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Drumdelgie" (tune)
cf. "One Morning in May (To Hear the Nightingale Sing)" [Laws P14] (plot)
File: VWL040

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


And here are the Digital Tradition lyrics. I checked it with the Southern Harvest edition of Constant Lovers, and the words are almost the same. Punctuation is different, though; and the DT lyrics have "you're" instead of "you are" in one place.

THE SENTRY BOX

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

O! there we toss'd and tumbl'd till daylight did appear
Then I arose, put on my clothes, saying, "Fare you well my dear.
The drums they are a-beating and the fifes so sweetly play,
If it wasn't for that, dear Polly, along with you I'd stay."

If anyone comes a-courting you, you treat them with a glass -
If anyone comes a-courting you, say 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 is enough 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 this poor girl she brought
shame,
For she had a little militia boy and she could not tell his name.

From the Constant Lovers, Purslow
@soldier @seduction @bastard
filename[ SNTRYBOX
TUNE FILE: SNTRYBOX
CLICK TO PLAY
RG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Gentleman Soldier / The Sentry Box
From: Lighter
Date: 27 May 17 - 04:25 PM

Of course that should be "was" and "but" (not "as" and "bit") [corrected by Joe] but "whrapt" is the garland misspelling in one instance.

Honoria Galwey's "Old Irish Croonauns" (1910) includes the melody only of "The Sentry-Box." Galwey (1830-1925) collected most of her songs in Innishowen, Co. Donegal, "in childhood." She says that "The Sentry-Box" was "well known in the North of Ireland and among soldiers."

Her tune is an excellent variant of the familiar one, with a little more of "Drumdelgie."

Go here:

http://www.itma.ie/digitallibrary/print-collection/old-irish-croonauns-and-other-tunes

With thanks to ITMA!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Gentleman Soldier / The Sentry Box
From: Lighter
Date: 27 May 17 - 04:40 PM

The words in Reeves-Sharp are incomplete, but as in the early versions, the narrator is mostly the girl.

Galwey's tune is a lot like that of the untitled "Jig" on p. 6 of R.M. Levey's "First Collection of the Dance Music of Ireland" (1858). Levey noted his tunes from Dublin fiddlers.

Even arranged as a "jig" (with each part repeated), the tune sounds like a song air.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: THE SOLDIER'S CLOAK (from Bodleian)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Aug 17 - 10:04 PM

The Bodleian Library ballad collection has four broadsides of this song. Here's one of them, printed in Nottingham, dated (according to the catalog) between 1797 and 1807. I have modernized the spelling and punctuation.


THE SOLDIER'S CLOAK (from Harding B 12(162))

'Twas one Monday evening, on sentry he did stand.
He kindly did salute me and took me by the hand.
He kindly did salute me with kisses and with jokes,
And ordered me into an entry wrapped up in a soldier's cloak.

And there he did detain me until the break of day.
The drums did beat and trumpets sound; the band did sweetly play.
The drums did beat and trumpets sound; the band did sweetly play.
He said: "My dearest Molly, I can no longer stay."

She said: "My jolly soldier, how could you serve me so?
My mammy she'll be angry when she does come to know."
"Your mammy will not be angry unless you tell the joke,
That you was kissed in an entry, wrapped up in a soldier's cloak;

"For married I am already, and children I've got three.
Two wives I have in the army, but one's too many for me.
Your mammy will not be angry, your family to increase.
If you have a little drummer boy, he'll come of a noble race."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Gentleman Soldier / The Sentry Box
From: meself
Date: 24 Aug 17 - 01:11 AM

Does anyone have an explanation of the phrase, "Two wives are allowed in the army"? Does this refer to some actual accepted practice, or is it (probably) just a corruption of a phrase that originally made more sense?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 20 September 12:35 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.