The Recruited Collier   

Traditional England


I used to enjoy accompanying Louis Killen on this song on the rare occasions we managed to sing together.  I finally asked him to teach it to me.  "Paid the smart and run for the golden guinea" – a bribe for the recruiting officer to let her man go.


Gordon – viol                                                             


What's the matter with you me lass, and

            where's your dashing Jimmy?

The soldier lads have picked him up, and

            now her gone far from me

Last pay day he went into town, and them

            red-coated fellows

Enticed him in and made his drunk; he'd

            have better gone to the gallows


The very sight of his cockade, it set us all


And me, I nearly fainted twice: I thought

            that I was dying

My father would have paid the smart and

            run for the golden guinea

But the sergeant swore he'd kissed the book,

            and not they've got young Jimmy


When Jimmy talks about the wars it's worse

            than death to hear him

I have to go and hide my tears, for truth, I

            cannot bear him

But aye, he jives and cracks his jokes, and

            bids me not forsake him

For a Brigadier or a Grenadier he says

            they're sure to make him


As I looked o'er the stubble fields – below it

            runs the seam -*                                                *coal mine

I thought of Jimmy hewing there, but that

            was just a dream

He hewed the very coals we burn, and when

            the fire I'm lighting

To think the lumps was in his hands, it sets

            my heart a beating


So break my heart and then it's o'er; aye,

            break my heart, my dearie

And I'll lie in the cold, cold ground; of a

            single life, I'm weary



The Recruited Collier is recorded on the album Apples in the Basket