Weaver Willie Brown enlists. The first sergeant fears he'll "make an awfu' mess o' the gallant forty-twa" Willie is always "first man at the table" When he goes home on furlough he'll teach his comrades to handle a gun and show them he's a corporal.
NLScotland commentary to L.C.Fol.70(25a): "The 'forty-twa' is the 42nd Highland Regiment, more commonly known as the Black Watch." [For the record of this regiment, see "Wha Saw the Forty-Second." - RBW]
Hammond-Belfast attributes one verse and chorus to Oiny Boak and other verses to Hugh Quinn (1884-1956). Oiny Boak's verse ("You may talk about your Lancers or your Irish Fusiliers, Your Aberdeen Militia or the Dublin Volunteers; Or any other regiment that's lying far awa', But give to me the tartan of the gallant forty twa") is the chorus of the broadside. His chorus ("Strolling through the green fields on a summer's day, Watching all the country girls forking up the hay, I really was delighted till he stole my heart awa', Then left me for the tartan of the gallant forty-twa") and Quinn's verses (the female singer recalls the day her lover marched away to war, and then when he returned) have no broadside counterpart. If the Hammond-Belfast version is sung in Ireland, the broadside version is sung in Scotland (see GreigDuncan 1 70, which omits the chorus).
The source for the description is broadside NLScotland L.C.Fol.70(25a).
Also collected and sung by David Hammond, "The Gallant Forty-Twa" (on David Hammond, "I Am the Wee Falorie Man: Folk Songs of Ireland," Tradition TCD1052 CD (1997) reissue of Tradition LP TLP 1028 (1959)) - BS