Cheer Boys Cheer
X:1 T:Cheer, Boys, Cheer M:4/4 L:1/8 R:Air B:Howe - Musician's Omnibus, No. 3 (c. 1865, p. 234) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:F A2A2A3G|(FCFA) d2c2|A2A2A3A|(B>AG>F) G2 z2| A2A2A3G|(FCFA) (d2 c2)|d2 d>d c2 zF|A2 A>G F2!Fine!z|| G|G2G2G2zG|(GEGc) (c2=B2)|F2F2F3G|(AAG>F) E2z2| G2 G>G G3G|GGEc =B2 A>B|c2 =B>A G c2 c|=BGFD C (c2 _B)!D.C.!||
CHEER, BOYS, CHEER. English (originally), Irish, American; Air and March (4/4 time). F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. The most celebrated of the compositions by Henry Russell  (1812-1900) in conjunction with lyricist Charles Mackay (1814-1889). The most fruitful part of his career was spent in the United States during the late 1830s and early 1840s, before he returned to England. Composed in 1850, "Cheer, Boys, Cheer" was introduced into one of Russell's musical entertainments, the "The Emigrant's Progress," and steadily gained popularity. Unfortunately, Russell is said to have sold the rights to the song for five Pounds, later learning the printer needed twenty-nine presses to meet the demand for it. For obvious reasons, the song was popular in the British army in Victorian times, from Crimea to the Boer War.
Cheer! boys, cheer! no more if idle sorrow
Courage, true hearts, shall bear us on our way.
Hope points before--shows the bright to-morrow,
Let us forget the darkness of to-day.
So farewell, England, much as we may love thee,
We'll dry the tears that we have shed before,
Why should we weep to sail in search of Fortune?
So farewell, England, farewell for evermore.
Scott (1926) notes the melody is reminiscent of the French folk-song "Joli Tambour." The melody was included in the c. 1885 music manuscript collection of fiddler Francis Reynolds of Gaigue, Ballinamuck, Co. Longford.