Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Ants Go Marching One by One

One of my early childhood memories is of being sung songs before bedtime when I lived with my mother at my maternal grandparents home.

Before I would go to bed my mother and her parents and siblings would sing songs with/to me.  One of these songs was the children's song "The Ants Go Marching One by One."  

I really enjoyed this bedtime ritual, and would always ask for "one more time" of my favorite songs.

What I didn't know then was that the song lyrics I remember so well was not the original lyrics.  While watching the Ken Burns series "Civil War" the other night on Netflix, and I heard this song in the background and that made me look into it.  It turns out that the song was "When Johnny Comes Marching Home", written by Patrick Gilmore (under the pen name Louis Lambert) and dates to the Civil War. 

The lyrics were:

"When Johnny comes marching home again
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We'll give him a hearty welcome then
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The men will cheer and the boys will shout
The ladies they will all turn out
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.
The old church bell will peal with joy
Hurrah! Hurrah!
To welcome home our darling boy,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The village lads and lassies say
With roses they will strew the way,
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.
Get ready for the Jubilee,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We'll give the hero three times three,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The laurel wreath is ready now
To place upon his loyal brow
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.
Let love and friendship on that day,
Hurrah, hurrah!
Their choicest pleasures then display,
Hurrah, hurrah!
And let each one perform some part,
To fill with joy the warrior's heart,
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home." 

Before the song was "When Johnny Comes Marching Home", the melody was a drinking song "Johnny Fill Up the Bowl"

The lyrics were:

"[1]
We all went down to New Orleans,
For Bales, for Bales;
We all went down to New Orleans,
For Bales, says I;
We all went down to New Orleans,
To get a peep behind the scenes,
"And we'll all drink stone blind,
Johnny fill up the bowl".

[2]
We thought when we got in the "Ring",
For Bales, for Bales;
We thought when we got in the "Ring",
For Bales, says I;
We thought when we got in the "Ring",
Greenbacks would be a dead sure thing,
"And we'll all drink stone blind,
Johnny fill up the bowl".

[3]
The "ring" went up, with bagging and rope,
For Bales, for Bales;
Upon the "Black Hawk" with bagging and rope,
For Bales, says I;
Went up "Red River" with bagging and rope,
Expecting to make a pile of "soap",
"And we'll all drink stone blind,
Johnny fill up the bowl".

[4]
But Taylor and Smith, with ragged ranks,
For Bales, for Bales;
But Taylor and Smith, with ragged ranks,
For Bales, says I;
But Taylor and Smith, with ragged ranks,
Burned up the cotton and whipped old Banks,
"And we'll all drink stone blind,
Johnny fill up the bowl".

[5]
Our "ring" came back and cursed and swore,
For Bales, for Bales;
Our "ring" came back and cursed and swore,
For Bales, says I;
Our "ring" came back and cursed and swore,
For we got no cotton at Grand Ecore,
"And we'll all drink stone blind,
Johnny fill up the bowl".

[6]
Now let us all give praise and thanks,
For Bales, for Bales;
Now let us all give praise and thanks,
For Bales, says I;
Now let us all give praise and thanks,
For the victory gained by General Banks,
"And we'll all drink stone blind,
Johnny fill up the bowl"