“The Airy Bachelor (The Black Horse)”


The singer warns all bachelors against his mistake. He wanders into town and meets a sergeant, who asks him to enlist. At first he refuses, but the soldier wears him down; at last he accepts. He bids farewell to home, family, and girl


Sam Henry gives a brief history of the Black Horse, the regiment named in the song, which was raised in 1688 as the Earl of Devonshire's Horse. Henry reports that it fought at the Boyne, though this is not listed among its battle honours.

It was formally recognized for its part at Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde, Malplaquet, Dettingen, Warburg, various colonial affairs, and finally the First World War, where it fought from 1914 to 1918 (including the Somme and Cambrai). The regiment became the Princess Royal's Own (7th Dragoon Guards) in 1788. The regiment's separate history ended in 1922 when it was combined with the 4th Royal Dragoon Guards; the unit is now the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards, and no longer has the Princess Royal as its honorary colonel. - RBW

Cross references

  • cf. "Cashelnagleanna" (tune)


  • Bodleian, Harding B 11(816), "The Black Horse," T. Pearson (Manchester), 1850-1899; also 2806 b.9(231), 2806 c.8(141), Harding B 19(8), 2806 c.15(181), 2806 c.8(276), 2806 b.11(12)[some words missing], Harding B 26(60)[lines missing], "The Black Horse"


  1. SHenry H586, p. 80, "The Black Horse" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. OLochlainn 17, "The Black Horse" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. McBride 8, "The Black Horse" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Hayward-Ulster, pp. 58-60, "The Airy Bachelor" (1 text)
  5. Roud #3027
  6. BI, HHH586


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1900 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(816))
Found in: Ireland