James Hook
(1746 - 1827)

Hook : When first the sprightly fife and drum : illustration

When first the sprightly fife and drum
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Sung by Mrs Franklin at Vauxhall Gardens. Published c. 1793. The song is described as accompanied by a fife and drum: there are no extant parts, or even cues, to specify the original realisation therewith.
Lyrics: Mr Fox

When first the sprightly fife and drum unto our village came,
Young Henry seemed inclined to roam and felt a thirst for fame.
I ev'rything did quickly try to check th'aspiring swain;
I knelt and to him oft did sigh, but all alas was vain;
For soon the martial band he joined and me he bade adieu.
"And thou, my love," he said, "shall find that Henry will be true."

My Henry is a comely youth, no-one can him excel;
Good nature, innocence and truth does ever with him dwell.
Though envious maidens sometimes say, because he's far from me,
That I shall find, some future day, he will not constant be.
But they'll ne'er mar my peace of mind, though they make much ado,
For something tells me I shall find that Henry will be true.

Ye heav'nly powers protect my swain, preserve him in the fight;
Oh! do not let him now be slain, but waft him to my sight.
Though he has left me three long years, soon as the war is o'er,
I hope to banish all my cares and from him part no more.
Then nothing will our peace destroy, but pleasure will ensue,
Oh! how my heart will leap for joy to find my Henry true.