Thomas D'Urfey
(1653 - 1723)

De'il tak' the wars
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This work, D'Urfey : De'il tak' the wars : scoreid 148311, as published by notAmos Performing Editions, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. All relevant attributions should state its URL as Permissions beyond the scope of this licence may be available at
Published by D'Urfey in 1698. The words were certainly his, and the tune probably so (he wrote songs in a Scots style, but may here have used a pre-existing tune). The song remained popular for a further century and was often anthologised as a traditional song. As such, the tune was given to Haydn to arrange, with entirely different words, composed for that arrangement by Robert Burns.
Lyrics: Thomas D'Urfey

De'il tak' the wars that hurried Willy from me,
Who to love me had just sworn;
They made him captain, sure, to undo me;
Woe is me he'll ne'er return.
A thousand loons abroad will fight him,
He from thousands ne'er will run.
Day and night I did invite him
To stay safe from sword or gun:
I used alluring graces, with muckle kind embraces,
Now sighing, now crying; then tears, dropping, fall.
And had he my soft arms preferred to war's alarms,
My love grown mad, without the man of God,
I fear, in my fit I had granted all.

I washed and patched to make me look provoking;
Snares they told me would catch the men;
And on my head a huge commode sat cocking,
Which made me show as tall again.
For a new gown, too, I paid muckle money,
Which with golden flowers did shine.
My love well may think me gay and bonny:
No Scotch lass was e'er so fine.
My petticoat I spotted; fringe too with thread I knotted;
Lace shoes and silk hose, garter full over knee.
But Oh, The fatal thought! To Willy these were naught,
Who rode to towns, and rifled with dragoons,
When he, silly loon, might have plundered me!