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English Folk-Heritage
This is what is called a ‘night-visiting song’ that dates back to Mid-1700s England, and has many versions in English folk-heritage. The story tells of the eternal quest of young men throughout the ages - to seduce young women, and particularly to gain access to their bed, usually by invoking pity from the female. Many traditional English songs were ‘warnings’ to young maidens to beware false-hearted young men and this night-visiting song does just that.
Unlike other English versions where the couple live happily ever after, I chose this one in which the soldier wheedles his way into the young lady's bed then scarpers, leaving the female to regret her loss of maidenhead, which as everyone knows is a town in Berkshire.

Lyrics

My cap is frozen to my head, My feet my fingers they’re chilled and dead,
My heart is like a lump of lead, Through standing at your window pane.

Refrain:
Oh let me in the soldier cried, it is a cold and haily night,
And I won't, no I won't go back again

My parents they are fast asleep, and they my chamber keys do keep
My doors and windows they do creak, and so I dare not let you in.

So then she rose and let him in, and kissed his frozen lips and chin
Then they repaired to bed again, and soon he gained her favour-oh

Now since you had your will of me, oh soldier let us married be
I must away fair maid said he, into this cold and haily night

And then he jumped straight out of bed, and pulled his cap down upon his head
And she had lost her maidenhead, on that cold and haily night.

He seized his coat and doused the light, and thru the window he took flight,
And then she cursed that haily night that she ever let him in.

My cap is frozen to my head, My feet my fingers they’re chilled and dead,
My heart is like a lump of lead, Through standing at your window pane.

© PhilDrane Music 2016