Wars alarms entic’d my Willy

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WARS ALARMS ENTIC'D MY WILLY. AKA - "Wars Alarms," "When war's alarms entic'd my Willy from me." Scottish, English; Air (whole time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The air was first publised by Thompson and Son (London) in A Complete Tutor for the English Flute (1768). The song [Roud No. 6864] appeared Act 1, scene ii, of the successful stage production The Camp (1778), by Richard Brinsley Sheridan (music composed by Thomas Linley the Elder, 1756-1778), where it was sung by Miss Walpole in the character of Nancy, the forsaken lover. The words to the song were printed in The Goldfinch, or New Modern Songster (Glasgow, c. 1785, p. 194).


WHEN wars alarms entie'd my Willy from me,
My poor heart with grief did sigh,
Each soft remembrance brought fresh sorrow on me,
I 'woke ere yet the morn was nigh.
No other could delight him,
Ah ! why did I e'er fight him?
Coldly answering his fond tale,
Which drove him far
Amid the rage of war,
And left ally me thus to bewail.
But I no longer, tho' a maid forsaken,
Thus will mourn like yonder dove,
For, 'ere the lark to-morrow shall awaken,
I will seek my absent love;
The hostile country over
I'll fly to seek my lover,
Scorning ev'ry threat'ning fear;
No distant more,
Nor cannon's roar,
Shall longer keep me from my dear.

It was a popular song and air, printed in a variety of songsters, instrumental tutors and collections of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and appears in several musicians manuscript collections of the same period. A different "War's Alarms" was published by James Oswald in his Caledonian Pocket Companion (1760).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 3), 1788; No. 593, p. 226.

Recorded sources:

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