The Soldier's Return

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Melody - "The Mill, mill, O"
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Robert Burns, 1793

When wild war's deadly blast was blawn,
And gentle peace returning,
Wi' mony a sweet babe fatherless
And mony a widow mourning.
I left the lines and tented field
Where lang I'd been a lodger
My humble knapsack all my wealth
A poor but honest sodger.

2. A leal, light heart was in my breast,
My hand unstain'd wi' plunder;
And for fair Scotia hame again,
I cheery on did wander:
I thought upon the banks o' Coil,
I thought upon my Nancy,
I thought upon the witching smile
That caught my youthful fancy.

3. At length I reached the bonnie glen
Where early life I sported;
I pass'd the mill and trysting thorn
Where Nancy oft I courted.
Wha spied I but my ain dear maid
Down by her mother's dwelling,
And turn'd me round to hide the flood
That in my een was swelling.

4. Wi' alter'd voice, quoth I, "Sweet lass,
Sweet as yon hawthorn's blossom,
O! happy, happy may he be,
That's dearest to thy bosom:
My purse is light, I've far to gang,
And fain would be thy lodger;
I've serv'd my king and country lang
Take pity on a sodger."

5. Sae wistfully she gaz'd on me,
And lovelier was than ever;
Quo' she, "A sodger ance I lo'ed,
Forget him shall I never:
Our humble cot, and hamely fare,
Ye freely shall partake it;
That gallant badge-the dear cockade,
Ye're welcome for the sake o't."

6. She gazed, she redden'd like a rose
Syne pale as any lily,
She sank within my arms and cried,
"Art thou my ain dear Willie?"
"By Him that made you sun and sky
By whom true love's regarded
I am the man! And thus may still
True lovers be rewarded."

7. "The wars are owre, an' I've come hame
And find the still true-hearted;
Tho' poor in gear, we're rich in love
And mair we'se ne'er be parted."
Quoth she, "My grand-sire left me gowd
A mailin plenish'd fairly
Then come, my faithfu' sodger lad,
Thou'rt welcome to it dearly."

8. For gold the merchant ploughs the main,
The farmer ploughs the manor;
But glory is the sodger's prize,
The sodgerpppp's wealth is honor:
The brave poor sodger ne'er despise,
Nor count him as a stranger;
Remember he's his country's stay,
In day and hour of danger.

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