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(86) Page 62 - Soldier's return
62
THE SONGS OF'SCOTLAND.
'-PS
MODERATO.
THE SOLDIER'S RETURN.
A1K, "THE MILL, MILL, 0.'
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When wild war's dead - ly
blast was blawn, And
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gen - tie peace re - turn - ing, Wi' mo - ny a sweet babe t'a - ther - less, And
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left the lines and
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tent - ed field, Where lang I'd heen
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hum - ble knap - sack a' my wealth ; A poor and hon - est sod - ger.
A leal light heart beat in my breast,
My hands unstain'd wi' plunder ;
And for fair Scotia, hame again,
I cheery on did wander.
I thought upon the banks o' Coil,
I thought upon my Nancy,
I thought upon the witchin' smile
That caught my youthful fancy.
At length I reach'd the bonnie glen
Where early life I sported ;
I pass'd the mill and trystin' thorn
Where Nancy oft I courted.
Wha spied I but my ain dear maid,
Down by her mother's dwelling !
And turn'd me round to hide the flood
That in my e'e was swelling.
Wi' altered voice, quoth I, Sweet lass,
Sweet as yon hawthorn's blossom,
! happy, bappy may he be
That's dearest to thy bosom !
My purse is light, I've far to gang,
And fain would be thy lodger,
I've served my king and country lang :
Talc' pity on a sodger.
Sae wistfully she gazed on me,
And lovelier was than ever ;
Quoth she, A sodger ance I loved,
Forget him will I never !
Our humble cot and hamely fare,
Ye freely shall partake it ;
That gallant badge, the dear cockade,
Ye're welcome for the sake o't !
She gazed — she redden'd like a rose —
Syne pale as ony lily ;
She sank within my arms, and cried,
Art thou my ain dear Willie ?
By Him who made yon sun and sky,
By whom true love's regarded,
I am the man ! and thus may still
True lovers be rewarded.
The wars are o'er, and I'm come hame,
And find thee still true hearted;
Though poor in gear, we're rich in love,
And mair we'se ne'er be parted.
Quoth she, my grandsire left me gowd,
A mailin' plenish'd fairly ;
Then come, my faithfu' sodger lad,
Thou'rt welcome to it dearly.
For gold the merchant ploughs the main,
The farmer ploughs the manor ;
But glory is the sodger's prize,
The sodger's wealth is honour.
The brave poor sodger ne'er despise,
Nor count him as a stranger :
Remember he's his country's stay,
In day and hour of danger.
" When wlld War's deadly blast was blawn." This song was written by Burns, in the spring of 1793, to take
place of unseemly old verses that used to be sung to the same air. Captain Charles Gray, R.M., in his " Cursory
Remarks on Scottish Song," No. 15, thinks that the song was probably suggested by a casual meeting with " a poor
fellow of a sodger," iu a little country inn ; which Burns mentions in a letter to John Ballantine, Esq. The air is
probably much older than the date of Mrs. Crockat's MS., 1709, beyond which Mr. Stenhouse does not trace its
antiquity. Gay chose the air for one of his songs in " Polly," printed in 1729.

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