BANKS OF THE NILE
Music & Lyrics: Traditional, arr. Caroline Lavelle
Oh hark, the drums do beat my love, I can no longer stay.
The bugle horns are sounding clear, and I must march away.
We are ordered down to Portsmouth, and it’s many’s the weary mile,
to join the British army, along the banks of the Nile.
Oh Willie dearest Willie, don’t leave me here to mourn.
Don’t make me curse and rue the day that ever I was born;
for the parting of our love would be like parting with my life –
so stay at home my dearest love, and I will be your wife.
Oh Nancy darling Nancy, sure that would never do.
The government has ordered and we are bound to go;
the government has ordered and the queen she gives command,
and I am bound on oath my love to serve in a foreign land.
Oh then I’ll cut off my long hair, and I’ll go along with you.
I’ll dress myself in uniform & I’ll see Egypt too;
I’ll march beneath your banner while fortune she do smile
and we’ll comfort one another along the banks of the Nile.
But your waist it is too slender, your fingers they’re too small;
the cruel sun of Egypt your rosy cheeks would spoil.
Well the cannons they do rattle and the bullets they do fly,
and the silver trumpets sound so loud to hide the dismal cries.
Oh then cursed be those cruel wars since ever they began,
for they have robbed our country of many’s the handsome man.
They have robbed us of our sweethearts, while their bodies they feed the lions
on the dry & sandy deserts, which are the banks of the Nile