The Kerry Recruit

Author Unknown

About four years ago I was digging the land
With my brogues on my feet and my spade in my hand
Says I to myself what a pity to see
Such a fine strapping lad footing turf in Tralee

Wid me toorum mi neaa me toorum mi na
Wid me toorim  me nure im mi nure im mi nya

So I buttered me brogues and shook hands with my spade
And I went to the fair like a dashing young blade
When up comes a Seargeant and asks me to ‘list
Arra, sergeant a gra put the bob in me fist

O! Then here is the shilling, as we’ve got no more
When you get to headquarters you’ll get half a score
Arra, quit your kimeens, sez I, Sergeant goodbye
You’d not wish to be quartered, and neither would I

And the first thing they gave me it was a red coat
With a wide strap of leather to tie round my throat
They gave me a quare thing I asked what was that
And they told me it was a cockade for my head

They next thing they gave me they called it a gun
With powder and shot and a place for my thumb
And first she spit fire and then she spit smoke
Lord, she gave a great lep and my shoulder near broke

The next place they sent me was down to the sea
On board of a warship bound for the Crimea
Three sticks in the middle all rowled with sheets
She walked thro’ the water without any feet

When at Balaclava we landed quite sound
Both cold wet and hungry we lay on the ground
Next morning for action the bugle did call
And we got a hot breakfast of powder and ball

Sure it’s often I thought of my name and my home
And the days that I spent cutting turf, och mavrone
The balls were so thick and the fire was so hot
I lay down in the ditch, boys, for fear I’d be shot

We fought at the Alma, likewise Inkerman
But the Russians they whaled us at the Redan
In scaling the walls there myself lost my eye
And a big Russian bullet ran off with me thigh

It was there I lay bleeding stretched on the cold ground
Heads, legs and arms were scattered all around
Says I, if my mama or my cleaveens were nigh
They’d bury me decent and raise a loud cry

They brought me the doctor, who soon staunched my blood
And he gave me an elegant leg made of wood
They gave me a medal an ten pence a day
Contented with Sheila, I’ll live on half pay.