Author Topic: Add: The Dashing White Sergeant


Posted - 15 Oct 04 - 01:32 pm

Now the fiddler's ready, let us all begin!
So step it out and step it in.
To the merry music of the violin
We'll dance the hours away.
Katey and Peggy and Patsy and Coll,
Callum and Peter and Flora and Moll,
Dance Dance, Dance, Dance,
Dance away the hours together,
Dance till dawn be in the sky;
What care you and what care I?
Hearts a-beating, spirits high,
We'll dance, dance, dance.

Source: Singing Together, Summer 1968, BBC Publications


Identified as 'Scottish Song' from Songs of the Isles arranged by Sir Hugh Roberton. The tune is certainly well known but I don't think I have ever come across those lyrics before. An alternative set of lyrics is at

Edited By dmcg - 15-Oct-2004 02:12:34 PM

masato sakurai

Posted - 15 Oct 04 - 02:25 pm

These sheet music scores are at Levy:

(1) Title: The Dashing White Sergeant.
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: Composed by Henry R. Bishop.
Publication: New York: A. Imbert, No. 233 Broadway, n.d..

(2) Title: The Dashing White Sergeant.
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: Composed by Henry R. Bishop.
Publication: Baltimore: John Cole, No.123 Market St., n.d..

(3) Title: Dashing White Sergeant.
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: Composed By Henry R. Bishop.
Publication: New York: Printed from stone, and Published by Anthony Fleetwood, No.51, Murray Street, n.d..

Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 15 Oct 04 - 03:20 pm

The lyric above was written by Roberton. (Songs of the Isles, London: Curwen & Sons, 1950, 46-47). No composer is credited for the tune, but as early as 1884 (Athole Collection) it appeared thus. Whether Bishop set his song to an existing tune I don't know, but there seems no particular reason to think that he didn't write it; it appears earlier in English MS tunebooks.

Maybe his authorship was disputed in Scotland, or simply forgotten - or, just maybe, there was a certain unwillingness to acknowledge that such a popular "Scottish" tune had been made by an Englishman (Bishop was born and worked in London, though he did spend some time in Edinburgh later in life).

Jon Freeman

Posted - 15 Oct 04 - 03:31 pm

I knew the ST lyrics - I'm pretty sure I learned them in school from the pamphlet Dave is using - but I'd not seen another set of lyrics.

I had (by the sound of things wrongly) assumed that the tune was a dance tune with words set later.

Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 15 Oct 04 - 03:48 pm

I knew it as a dance tune only. It might be interesting to poke around further; what I've said so far may be quite wrong, but a good many popular "traditional" tunes did originate on the London stage, of course.


Posted - 15 Oct 04 - 10:35 pm

It's strange that there is no date to the sheet music in the Levy Collection, whereas the earliest date of broadsides in the Bodleian is 1823.

Anyone got any ideas??

Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 16 Oct 04 - 01:44 am

Henry Rowley Bishop was born in London in 1786, and died in 1885. His most famous composition was Home Sweet Home, and he was the first professional musician to be knighted by a British monarch (Victoria).

The 1832 Catnach broadside at the Bodleian (Dashing serjeant) is described as "Sung by Miss Stephens". This was Catherine Stephens, an admired soprano and actress born 18 September 1794, in London. She made her stage debut around 1813, and retired in 1835, marrying the extremely old 5th Earl of Essex some 3 years later. She died 22 February 1882. The Bodleian returns a good few search results for her name.

At the moment you can see a rather nice portrait of her (c.1822), by John Jackson, at Catherine, Countess of Essex

Guest Account
Posted - 15 Sep 06 - 12:05 pm

From: akingsho

I learnt this song at school and the dance to go with it... I was racking my brain to remember the names in the song but remembered all the other words - and seeing as that was some 38 years ago that was some going.
I recall having to learn the tune as part of the BBC's schools programme...

Oh happy days... BTW I was 11 at the time - but I thought I was younger - could have sworn I was 7 or 8 (due to the class I remember learning it in) would would make it 64 or 65...


Jon Freeman

Posted - 15 Sep 06 - 12:40 pm

You could be right. Some of the songs in Singing Together are repeated. I can't find records for those years.

I can't say I've ever danced to it but it's one of those tunes that cropped up later in life as a dance tune...


Posted - 15 Sep 06 - 01:06 pm

My junior school used to put on a little exhibition every year in one of the local parks and I remember dancing "The Dashing White Sergeant" as part of it in my first ever public performance!

Guest Account
Posted - 15 Feb 07 - 01:42 am

From: Peter

This was in the Australian broadcating commission's 1953 Edition of "Singing Together" a radio programme for Schools. Othere in the group of 3 songs were: The Spring is coming, resolved to bvanish the king of the ice with his turbulant train..." and "Pipe the music, beat the drum, to the dancing lads and Lassies come..." This last song, like The Dashing White serggeant, was scorded for two part antiphon respose by a mens' group. Since this was not taught to the children, and an adults' choir was used at a time when it was customary to use children's choirs in this programme, I saw the use of an adult choiras showing off.

Heather Wood

Posted - 15 May 11 - 01:44 pm

We learned this song in school (England in the late 1950s) probably from the BBC radio program "Singing Together" with William Appleby (same program as the Australian poster above). We also learned words to "Flowers of Edinburgh" and "Come ye not from Newcastle," two other mainly dance tunes.

"Flowers of Edinburgh" -

Sing a lay, sing a song, 'mid the primrose and the snowdrop
Tread a measure in the meadow for the coming of the spring
Youth is rare, youth is fair, be ye blithe and bonny while ye may
Nor stint while still the fiddle, flute, and far-heard fife.

So dance, dance, lads and lasses
While spring your sister passes
Scattering the flowerets from her green robe's fold
Let this happy morning be far from care and sorrow free,
'Twill be time enough for grieving when the year grows old.

dredged from a 50-year memory ...

something of a tongue-twister, especially at dance speed.

Jon Freeman

Posted - 15 May 11 - 02:41 pm

I play the Flowers of Edinburgh but never thought of singing anything to it.

X: 1
T:The Flowers of Edinburgh
Z:Nigel Gatherer
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d2|g2g2 gbag|f2f2 fagf|edef gfed|B2e2 e2ge|
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Jon Freeman

Posted - 15 May 11 - 02:48 pm

I assume this is the other one.  I don't know it.

X: 1 T:B053-  Cam'st thou not from Newcastle?

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