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The Lied, Art Song, and Choral Texts Archive

Sweet Polly Oliver

Language: English

As sweet Polly Oliver lay musing in bed,
A sudden strange fancy came into her head.
"Nor father nor mother shall make me false prove,
I'll 'list as a soldier, and follow my love".

So early next morning she softly arose
And dressed herself up in her dead brother's clothes.
She cut her hair close and she stained her face brown,
And went for a soldier to fair London Town.

Then up spoke the sergeant one day at his drill.
"Now who's good for nursing? A captain, he's ill".
"I'm ready", said Polly. To nurse him she's gone,
And finds it's her true love all wasted and wan.

The first week the doctor kept shaking his head,
"No nursing, young fellow, can save him", he said.
But when Polly Oliver had nursed him back to life,
He cried, "You have cherished him as if you were his wife".

Oh, then Polly Oliver, she burst into tears
And told the good doctor her hopes and her fears,
And very shortly after, for better or for worse,
The captain took joyfully his pretty soldier nurse.



Submitted by Ted Perry

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

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