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Martinmas Time

This song is by Anne Briggs and appears on the compilation The Bird in the Bush: Traditional Songs of Love and Lust (1996).

It fell up on Martinmas time
When snow lay on the borders
There came a troop of soldiers here
To take up their winter quarters

Chorus (after each verse):
With me right fol-de-li-dle ly-die li-dle ly-dee-o
With me right fol-de-li-dle ly-dee la-ry

They rode up and they rode down
And they rode over the border
There they met a fair pretty girl
And she was a farmer's daughter

They made her swear a solemn oath
With a salt tear in her eye, oh
That she would call at their quarter gates
When no-one did her spy, oh

So she goes to the barber shop
To the barber shop went soon, oh
She's made him cut her fine yellow hair
As short as any dragoon, oh

Then she goes to the tailor shop
And dresses in soldier's clothes, oh
A pair of pistols down by her side
And a nice little boy was she, oh

When she came to the quarter gates
It's loud, loud she did call, oh
"There comes a troop of soldiers here
And we must have lodgings all, oh!"

The quartermaster he comes out
He gives her half a crown, oh:
"Go and find lodgings for yourself
For here there is no room, oh"

But she drew nearer to the gates
And louder she did call, oh:
"Room, room, you gentlemen
We must have lodgings all, oh!"

The quartermaster he comes out
He gives her eighteen pence, oh:
"Go and find lodgings in the town
For tonight there comes a wench, oh"

She's pulled the garters from her legs
The ribbons from her hair, oh
She's tied them 'round the quarter gates
As a token she'd been there, oh

She drew a whistle from her side
And blew it loud and shrill, oh:
"You're all very free with your eighteen pence
But you're not for a girl at all, oh"

And when they knew that it was her
They tried to overtake her
She's clapped her spurs to her horse's side
And she's galloped home a maiden