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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Hungry Army'



Hungry Army.

The wind in thundering gales did roar
As I left home in black October,
The hail and rain in torrents came,
And the world I thought was surely over.
The reason why, my " colleen dhas"
And I, fell out about my cousin Barney;
I bade farewell to the town of Kells,
And came to Dublin to join the army.

In Dublin city I soon arrived,
And crossed the Liffey?that darling river?
At the Castle-Yard a big " black guard"
Asked me to list,the bears to skiver.
I did agree, and they gave to me
A gun, but the weight of it soon did warm me;
So I hired myself by the powers of delph,
To go and smash Russia along with the army.

One morning the captain bawled out march.
In the barracks at Chatham we'll be quartered ;
By Jabers, you see, you'll not quarter me,
For I didn't join you to be slaughtered.
A sergeant, they said, I should be made,
But I knew the captain was tipping me blarney,
The stripes I got on an awkward spot,
While my back was aching I cursed the army.

News from abroad soon made us look sharp,
In a hurry we stuck our kits together;
To keep our hearts up we'd a stock of the sup,
And to keep up each head we'd a " stock of leather."
We marched to sea playing " Patrick's Day."
The cries of the colleens would most alarm ye ;
Some thought in their mind of the girls behind,
But I thought of the Bears were before our army.

In a ship as large as a town we sailed,
In every hole and corner stuffing us ;
To keep out the cold down in the hold.
By the 'tarnal, it wouldn't hold half enough of us.
We were smothered to death for want breath,
And bursting with hunger which did not charm me,
We were ordered to land and make a brave stand?
Oh, they might easy say " stand" to a hungry army

On the field of battle I hadn't been long,
Till I was longing for it to be over ;
To let a ball pass I sat down on the grass,
But I didn't imagine myself in clover.
The ball, I can tell, was a great bombshell,
It attacked my rear, but didn't much harm me ;
When to the next charge we were ordered to march,
I had a " lame" excuse to " hault" from the army.

The 5th of November I long will remember
How the Bears at Inkerman did muster,
Before the daylight they gave us a fright,
Before we had rightly time to muster
On one of my props a ball came hop,
And there I lay till they came to bury me,
When to their surprise I opened my eyes,
Saying is this the usage you give in the army.

Then into the hospital I was sent
My wound to heal and my health recover;
To keep up my spirits I poured some down,
For nobody else would be at the bother.
Then Surgeon Turk began to his work,
And cut off my limb that did not charm me,
Now instead of my leg I have a wood peg,
So you see what I got along with the army.


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Probable period of publication: 1852-1859   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(054)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Hungry Army'
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