The Gallant Hussar
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

William Barrett notes this melody was a London street melody which appeared often in comic songs. The ballad was also known as Young Edward, the Gallant Hussar. It appeared on numerous broadsides in the early and mid 1800s. Many of these can be found at the Bodleian Library.

The hussars were members of European light-cavalry used for scouting. The units were modeled on 15th-century Hungarian light-horse corps. In the 19th century some British hussar regiments were converted from light dragoons.

A damsel possessed of great beauty,
She stood by her own father's gate,
The gallant hussars were on duty,
To view them this maiden did wait;
Their horses were capering and prancing,
Their accoutrements shone like a star,
From the plain they were nearest advancing,
She espied her young gallant hussar.

Their pellisses were slung on their shoulders,
So careless they seemed for to ride,
So warlike appeared these young soldiers,
With glittering swords by each side.
To the barracks next morning so early,
This damsel she went in her car,
Because she loved him sincerely-
Young Edward, the gallant Hussar.

It was there she conversed with her soldier,
These words he was heard for to say,
Said Jane, I've heard none more bolder,
To follow my laddie away.
0 fie! said young Edward, be steady,
And think of the dangers of war,
When the trumpet sounds I must be ready,
So wed not your gallant Hussar.

For twelve months on bread and cold water,
My parents confined me for you,
0 hard-hearted friends to their daughter,
Whose heart it is loyal and true;
Unless they confine me for ever,
Or banish me from you afar,
I will follow my soldier so clever,
To wed with my gallant Hussar.

Said Edward, Your friends you must mind them,
Or else you are for ever undone,
They will leave you no portion behind them,
So pray do my company shun.
She said, If you will be true-hearted,
I have gold of my uncle in store,
From this time no more we'll be parted,
I will wed with my gallant Hussar.

As he gazed on each elegant feature,
The tears they did fall from each eye,
I will wed with this beautiful creature,
And forsake cruel war, he did cry.
So they were united together,
Friends think of them now they're afar,
Crying; Heaven bless them now and for ever,
Young Jane and her gallant Hussar.

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From English Folk-Songs
See Bibliography for full information.