Hark, I hear the drums beating—no longer can I stay,
I hear the trumpets sounding, my love I must away.
We are ordered from Portsmouth many a long mile,
For To join the British soldiers on the banks of the Nile.
Willie, dearest Willie, don't leave me here to mourn,
You'll make me curse and rue the day that ever I was born.
For the parting of my own true love is parting of my life,
So stay at home dear Willie and I will be your wife.
I will cut off my my yellow locks and go along with you,
I will dress myself in velveteens and go see Egypt too,
I will fight or bear your banner while kind fortune seems to smile,
And we'll comfort one another on the banks of the Nile.
Nancy, dearest Nancy, with me you cannot stay,
Our colonel he gives order: no women there shall go,
We must forget our own sweethearts besides our native soil,
And go fight the Blacks and Heathens on the banks of the Nile.
Your waist it is too slender love, your waist it is too small.
I'd be afraid you would not answer me when on you I would call,
Your delicate constitution would not hear the unwholesome clime,
Nor the cold sandy deserts on the banks of the Nile.
My curse attend the war and the day it first began,
It has robbed old Ireland of many a clever man,
It took from us our true loves, the protectors of our soil,
To fight the Blacks and Negroes on the banks of the Nile.
So now the war is over and homewards we'll return,
Unto our sweethearts and wives we left behind to mourn,
We'll embrace them in our arms until the end of time,
And we'll go no more to battle on the banks of the Nile.
It was on a Monday morning, the twenty-ninth of May,
Our ship she slipped her cable and we were ready for sea.
The wind blew from the South-Sou'-West, to Egypt we were bound,
And the Portsmouth hills were garnished with pretty girls all round.
There I beheld a handsome maid all in her bloom of years,
A-making lamentation and her eyes were full of tears.
"Oh, I'll cut off my yellow hair and sail along with you,
And I'll dress myself in sailor's clothes and I'll see Egypt too."
"Oh no, my dearest Nancy, sure that will never do.
Lord Nelson have commanded no women there may go.
We must stand to our colors, love, and hope that fortune smiles,
As we fight with bold Lord Nelson on the banks of the Nile."
"Your waist is too slender and your fingers are too fine,
Your delicate constitution couldn't stand the hot campaign.
And the sultry suns of Egypt your complexion they would spoil,
If you fought with bold Lord Nelson on the banks of the Nile."
"The cannons they do rattle so and the cannon balls do fly,
And the silver whistles they sound out to drown our dismal cries.
But let a hundred days be brightened, love, and then you'll give a smile
And remember Nelson's victory on the banks of the Nile."