The Recruiting Sergeant

Written by Seamus O'Farrell in 1915. Anyone caught singing it was liable to six months imprisonment!
From the singing of Dominic Behan.

As I was going down the road, feeling fine and larky-o
A recruiting sergeant says to me, Now you'd look fine in khaki-o
The King he is in need of men, come read his proclamation-o
A life in Flanders for you then would be a fine vacation-o

That may be so, says I to him but tell me sergeant dearie-o
If I had a pack stuck upon me back, do you think I'd look fine and cheery-o
You'd make me train and drill untilthey had me one of French's-o
It may be warm in Flanders but it's draughty in the trenches-o

The sergeant smiled and winked his eye, his smile was most provoking-o
He twiddled and twirled his wee moustache says he: You're only joking-o
For the sandbags are so warm and high, the wind you won't feel blowing-o
Well I winked at a cailin passing by, says I what if it's snowing oh

Come rain or hail or wind or snow, we're not going out to Flanders-o
There's fighting in Dublin to be done, let your Sergeants and your Commanders go
Let Englishmen for England fight, 'tis just about time they started-o
I wished the Sergeant a very good night and there and then departed-o

Seamus O'Farrell (1886-1973), a journalist, was a Dublin man. He assisted with the formation of the Irish Transport & General Workers' Union. He was very involved with nationalist movements and wrote for the "mosquito press": as one might say "he wrote when it was dangerous to write"!
He worked on the staff of the Irish Independent and then the Irish Press. Later he edited the Longford Leader and the Leinster Leader. He contributed a column ("Speaking for Myself")to the Nationalist and Leinster Times during the sixties.
He was a founder member of Muintir na Tire and an active member (and one-time President)of the National Agricultural and Industrial Development Association.He was a member of Seanad Eireann during the first Coalition Government.
"The Recruiting Sergeant" was published in some subversive paper; it was intended to be sung to the tune of The Peeler and the Goat.

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