THE RIFLEMEN'S SONG AT BENNINGTON (trad.) (1770s)

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At Bennington, Vt., one of General Burgoyne's foraging detachments was attacked by 800 villagers who rallied in a driving rain to kill or capture the entire British force.
Burl Ives, Song Book, New York, NY, 1966, p. 92.

Lyrics as reprinted ibid., pp. 92-93.
Tune used by THE ALMANAC SINGERS for "The Rifles" (1942).

Why come ye hither, Redcoats, your mind what madness fills?
In our valleys there is danger, and there's danger on our hills.
Oh, hear ye not the singing of the bugle wild and free?
And soon you'll know the ringing of the rifle from the tree.
CHORUS:
Oh, the rifle, oh, the rifle
In our hands will prove no trifle.
Ye ride a goodly steed, ye may know another master;
Ye forward came with speed, but you'll learn to back much faster.
Then you'll meet our Mountain Boys and their leader Johnny Stark,
Lads who make but little noise, but who always hit the mark.

Tell he who stays at home, or cross the briny waters
That thither ye must come like bullocks to the slaughter.
If we the work must do, why, the sooner 'tis begun,
If flint and trigger hold but true, the sooner 'twill be done.

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