Banks of the Nile

Singer: 

Michael Cassius Dean

Recorder: 

Robert Winslow Gordon

Recording Date: 

Sep. 1924

Location of Recording: 

Canton, St. Lawrence County, New York, USA

Duration: 

0:38

Transcription: 

Hark, hark the drums are beating, my love, I must away,
I hear the bugle calling, no longer can I stay,
We are ordered out from Portsmouth for many a long mile,
To fight the Moors and Niggers on the banks of the Nile.

Rights: 

Duplication of sound recordings may be governed by copyright and other restrictions.

Language: 

en-US

Type: 

Music Recording

Format: 

mp3

Publisher: 

Brian Miller, Emma Dowd, Diane Giebink-Skoglind

Original Format: 

Wax Cylinder

Is Part Of: 

AFS Preservation Reel: AFS 19011A
G80
Misc. 133

Folk Song Index Numbers: 

Roud #950
Laws N9

Song Summary: 

Willie has been ordered to the banks of the Nile. His lover offers to cut her hair, dress like a man, and go with him. He will not permit her to; the climate is too harsh for a woman. She curses foreign wars that steal away the young men of Ireland.

Tags: 

First Line: 

Hark! hark! the drums are beating, my love, I must away

Full Song Text: 

Hark! hark! the drums are beating, my love, I must away,
I hear the bugle calling, I can no longer stay;
We are ordered out from Portsmouth for many a long mile,
To fight the Moors and Niggers on the banks of the Nile.

Oh, Willie dear, don’t leave me here behind to weep and mourn,
So I may curse and rue the day that ever I was born,
For the parting from my sweetheart is like parting from my life,
So stay at home, dear Willie, and I will be your wife.

The Queen she calls for men, love, and I, for one, must go,
The Queen she calls for men, love, I dare not answer No;
We must away to face the foe while cannons roar the while,
To fight with Briton’s heroes on the banks of the Nile.

Then I’ll cut off my yellow hair and go along with you,
I will put on men’s clothing and go see Egypt, too;
I will cherish and protect you through hardship and through toil,
And we’ll comfort one another on the Banks of the Nile.

Your waist it is too slender, love, your fingers are too small,
I am afraid you would not answer when on you I would call,
Your delicate constitution would last but a short while,
Among those sandy deserts on the Banks of the Nile.

Oh, cursed be the cruel war and the hour it first begun,
For it has robbed old Ireland of many a noble son;
It robs us of our sweethearts, protectors of the soil,
And their bodies feed the wild fowls on the Banks of the Nile.

But soon the war will be over and we’ll all be coming home,
Unto our wives and sweethearts we left behind to mourn;
We will kiss them and embrace them with their little winning smile,
And we never will return again to the Banks of the Nile.

Full Song Text Source: