“Kind Fortune”


A drummer proposes marriage to a maiden. She rejects him because her father "is a captain of honour and fame" and she would not "bind myself down to slav'ry." He threatens suicide. She relents. They elope. Her outraged father gives them an annual income

Supplemental text

Kind Fortune
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

The Drummer

From Helen Creighton, Folksongs from Southern New Brunswick,
#27, p. 54. Collected from Angelo Dornan, Elgin, N. B.

One bright summer's morning in the sweet month of May,
Four and twenty ladies went strolling so gay,
A regiment of soldiers they chanced to pass by,
And a drummer on one of them casted his eye.

  And it's oh my hard fortune.

(8 additional stanzas)


Karpeles-Newfoundland omits the broadside touch of the father's money after the elopement; we are left to believe that she is left to "follow the drum."

Grieg _Folk-Song of the North-East_, CLXXVIII p.2, "O Hard Fortune," adds the following elements to the beginning of the story: A company of soldiers is playing and a drummer among them falls in love with a beautiful lady. He asks his captain what he should do since "for love I must die." His captain advises him to tell her. The plot described in DESCRIPTION continues.

Martin Gorman's version on Voice01 follows Grieg. - BS


  • Bodleian, Harding B 17(285a), "The Silly Drummer," Angus (Newcastle), 1774-1825; also Firth c.14(305), Harding B 25(677), "The Fortunate Drummer"


  • Martin Gorman, "The Little Drummer" (on Voice01)


  1. Karpeles-Newfoundland 74, "Kind Fortune" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Creighton-SNewBrunswick 27, "The Drummer" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. ST KaNew074 (Partial)
  4. Roud #2302
  5. BI, KaNew074


Alternate titles: “Hard Times”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1826 (broadside, Harding B 17(285a))
Found in: Canada(Mar,Newf)