Roud 2036
Words: Traditional/Tim Erikson/Ruth Hazleton
Music: Tim Eriksen


This song originates from the British broadside ballad tradition. New words and arrangement of words by Tim Eriksen based on the Timothy Connor manuscript republished in A Sailor’s Songbag: An American Rebel in an English Prison, 1777–79, by George G. Carey. I have contributed a final verse inspired by the poets and literary imagery of World War I.


Words: Traditional/Tim Eriksen/ Ruth Hazleton. 
Music: Tim Eriksen 
Down by deep water where sweet linden stand
I saw pretty Polly wringing her hands
The song that she sung made the whole grove to ring
My Billy has left me to fight for a king
And I wish the wars were all over.
I stood in amaze to hear what she said
I'll follow my Billy whether living or dead
The notes that she sung were the nightingale's notes
How the lark and the linnet they warbled their throats
And I wish the wars were all over.
I said my dear Polly if you'll stay with me
I'll make you as happy as happy can be
No then she said that never can be
I'll never be happy ‘til my Billy I see
And I wish the wars were all over.
Now from my parents I'll haste and away
I'll dress myself out in a young man's array
And every company that I pass by
I'll ask for my Billy or where he does lie
And I wish the wars were all over.
In cold winds of winter, my Billy I found
In a row of white crosses in cold, foreign ground
To the masters of hatred, pray you’ll never know
The hell where young men and innocence go
And I wish the wars were all over.


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