O what is that sound which so thrills the ear
Down in the valley drumming, drumming?
Only the scarlet soldiers, dear,
The soldiers coming.
O what is that light I see flashing so clear
Over the distance brightly, brightly ?
Only the sun on their weapons, dear,
As they step lightly.
O what are they doing with all that gear
What are they doing this morning, this morning?
Only the usual manoeuvres, dear,
Or perhaps a warning.
O why have they left the road down there
Why are they suddenly wheeling, wheeling?
Perhaps a change in the orders, dear,
Why are you kneeling ?
O haven’t they stopped for the doctor’s care
Haven’t they reined their horses, their horses ?
Why, they are none of them wounded, dear,
None of these forces.
O is it the parson they want with white hair;
Is it the parson, is it, is it ?
No, they are passing his gateway, dear,
Without a visit.
O it must be the farmer who lives so near
It must be the farmer so cunning, so cunning?
They have passed the farm already, dear,
And now they are running.
O where are you going? stay with me here!
Were the vows you swore me deceiving, deceiving?
No, I promised to love you, dear,
But I must be leaving.
O it’s broken the lock and splintered the door,
O it’s the gate where they’re turning, turning
Their feet are heavy on the floor
And their eyes are burning.