Polly Oliver


“Polly Oliver,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed May 27, 2024, https://omeka.library.appstate.edu/items/show/31791.

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Polly Oliver


This item is part of the I. G. Greer Folksong Collection which consists of more than 300 individual song titles and their variants as collected by Isaac Garfield Greer (1881-1967) from informants, primarily in Ashe, Wilkes and Watauga counties. The collection includes manuscripts, typescript transcriptions produced by Dr. Greer’s clerical staff, and handwritten musical notations. Songs range from traditional Child Ballads, traditional English and Scottish ballads as well as their American variants, to 19th century popular music to musical compositions of local origin.


Ballads, English--United States
Love--Songs and music
Soldiers--Songs and music
Male impersonators--Songs and music

Alternative Title

Pretty Polly


W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University


Greer, I. G. (Isaac Garfield), 1881-1967








Polly and the Soldier Boy

One night as pretty Polly did lay on her bed
There came a queer notion that run through her head.

Neither father nor mother can make her false prove
“I’ll dress like a soldier and follow my love.”

So early next morning pretty Polly did arise with a case of bright
pistols and a sword by her side,
On her fathers best gilding pretty Polly did ride.

She went to the stable, she viewed all around,
She picked her out one that could measure the ground.

With her long yaller hair, down her head it did hang,
In every degree it looked like some young man.

She rode till she came to the first English town
The first one she met was the captain for Polly’s true love.

“To lie with the captain is a dangerous thing,
Although I’m a soldier from Washington came.”

“Your waist is too slim and slender, your fingers are too small
Your cheeks are too red and rosy to face a cannon ball.”

“I know my waist is slim and slender, my fingers very small,
It would not daunt me to see ten thousand fall.”

This battle it was ended, she took a circle round,
Among the dead and dying her darling love she found.

She picked him up all in her arms and carried him to a London town,
She sent unto a doctor to heal his mortal wound.

Thus couple they got married so well they did agree
This couple they got married and why not you and me.




Scholarly Classification

Brown, Older Ballads - Mostly British - 97 Laws, N 14 Cox, 122 Sharp, 54

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