Drink Little England Dry
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


Information
Lyrics
According to Barrett this was written around the time Napoleon threatened to invade England, circa 1800. The song is also known as Old England Dry, Drink Old England Dry and He Swore He'd Drink Old England Dry.

The song was later adapted for the Crimean War (1853-1856). In 1936 a version of the song mentioned Lord Roberts and in the Second World War, Winston Churchill took his place. In much later versions the enemies were the Russians. In most versions the French are the enemy.*

The song was printed on several broadsides. One of these, printed in Liverpool, can be viewed at the Bodleian Library Collection.

Drink, my boys, and ne'er give o'er,
Drink until you can't drink no more,
For the Frenchmen are coming for a fresh supply,
And they swear they'll drink little England dry.
Paddie, widdie, waddle, widdie, bow, wow, wow,
Paddle, widdie, waddie, widdie, bow, wow, wow,
For the Frenchmen are coming with a fresh supply,
And they swear they'll drink little England dry.


They may come, the frogs of France,
But we'll teach them a new-fashioned dance,
For we'll pepper their jackets most ter-ri-bully,
Afore they'll drink little England dry.
Paddle, widdie, waddie, widdie, bow, wow, wows
Paddie, widdie, waddle, widdie, bow, wow, wow,
For we'll pepper their jackets most ter-ri-bully,
Afore they'll drink little England dry.


They may come as they may think,
But they shall fight afore they drink,
For the guns they shall rattle
     and the bullets they shall fly
Afore they'll drink little England dry.
Paddie, widdie, waddie, widdie, bow, wow, wow,
Paddle, widdie, waddie, widdie, bow, wow, wow,
For the guns they shall rattle
     and the bullets they shall fly
Afore they'll drink little England dry.


Then drink, my boys, and ne'er give o'er,
Drink until you can't drink no more,
For the Frenchmen's brags are all my eye,
And they'll never drink little England dry.
Paddle, widdie, waddle, widdie, bow, wow, wow,
Paddle, widdie, waddle, widdie, bow, wow, wow,
For the Frenchmen's brags are all my eye,
And they'll never drink little England dry.


Related Links
From English Folk-Songs and
*Folksongs of Britain and Ireland, Kennedy
See Bibliography for full information.