Back when I had a lot more time on my hands, I used to record a song every week for the #TradSongTues project, run by Fay Hield and various members of the University of Sheffield Folk group. I can't remember the theme, but I do remember struggling to find something until I thought that this song would fit.
The lyrics here are the ones used by the Young Tradition (since that's the version I'm most familiar with), though the tune is the Granemore Hare which I learned from the singing of Ciarán Boyle
“Oh hark! the drums are beating and I must haste away,
The bugles sweetly sound and I can no longer stay.
We are going up to Portsmouth, and it's many a weary mile
To fight among those legions on the banks of the Nile.”
“Oh Willie, dearest Willie, don't leave me here to mourn,
Don't make me curse and rue the day that ever I was born.
For parting from you, Willie, is like parting from my life.
Oh stay at home, dear William, and I will be thee wife.”
“Oh, I'll cut off my yellow hair and go along with you.
I'll dress myself in velveteen and go and see Egypt too.
I'll fight and hold thee banner, love, and fortune it may smile,
And we'll gather love and honour on the banks of the Nile.”
“Your waist it is too slender, your features are too fine.
Your body is to weak, my love, to spend a long campaign.
The sultry suns of Egypt your precious self may spoil
And the sandy desert wastes on the banks of the Nile.”
“Oh, cursed, cursed be the day that ever wars began,
For they've taken out of England for may a fine young men.
Our lads are going to perish on that unwholesome soil
And they never will return from the banks of the Nile.”
from At Home
released March 4, 2022