The Dashing White Sergeant
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


Information
Lyrics
This was written by Sir Henry Rowley Bishop (1786-1855). At the age of 18 Rowley wrote the music for Angelina. Thereafter he wrote almost continuously for the London Theatre. In 1810 he was hired by Covent Garden for eight years as composer and director of music. He served as conductor for the Philharmonic Society (of which he was a founding member) in 1813. He also served as musical director of Drury Lane and Vauxhall and was Chair of Music at Edinburgh University for two years. Rowley wrote more than fifty operas, including Guy Mannering. He was knighted in 1842 (the first musician to be knighted) and was appointed Chair of Music in Oxford.

I have also seen the song attributed to General John Burgoyne (1722-1792), British commander at Saratoga. After his defeat at Saratoga and parole, Burgoyne returned to England. He was commander in chief in Ireland from 1782-83. After his retirement from active duty, Burgoyne became a leader in London society. He wrote several plays. The most successful was The Heiress (1786).

Ironically, the song became a favorite at West Point Military Academy and is still played during graduation week.

(There is a long introduction)

If I had a beau for a soldier who'd go,
Do you think I'd say no? No, no, not I!
For a soldier who'd go, Do you think I'd say no?
No, no, no, no, no, no, not I!
When his red coat I saw,
Not a sigh would it draw,
But I'd give him eclat for his bravery!

If an army of Amazons e'er came in play,
As a dashing white sergeant I'd march away,
A dashing white sergeant I'd march away,
march away, march away, march away,
march away, march away, march away,
march away, march away, march away!


When my soldier was gone, do you think I'd take on,
Or sit moping forlorn? No, no, not I!
Do you think I'd take on, Or sit moping forlorn?
No, no, no, no, no, no, not I!
His fame my concern,
How my bosom would burn,
When I saw him return crown'd with victory!

If an army of Amazons e'er came in play,
As a dashing white sergeant I'd march away,
A dashing white sergeant I'd march away,
march away, march away, march away,
march away, march away, march away,
march away, march away, march away!


Related Links
From One Hundred Songs of England
See Bibliography for full information.