“The Forfar Sodger”


The singer grows up in Forfar, where he is rather a cut-up. After many adventures, he joins the army. He loses a leg in the Peninsular War, but it does not bother him; "Snug in Forfar now I sit, And thrive upon a pension."


It will be obvious that the author of this song did not in fact have to live off the sort of pension paid by the British government in the early nineteenth century....

At least some versions of the song mention the singer being taught the "rule of three." This is a statement about proportions -- in effect, "if a is to b as c is to d, what is d?" (an equation in three known and one unknown term, hence the name). In modern fractional notation, we would say that a/b=c/d, and that the rule tells us that d=bc/a. A trivial calculation today, but it let minimally educated people calculate such things as the price of a fraction of a pound when the price for a whole pound was known. - RBW

Same tune

  • The Perthshire Pensioner (Ford-Vagabond, pp. 166-168)


  1. Ford-Vagabond, pp. 163-166, "The Farfar Soldier" (1 text, 1 tune); cf. pp. 166-168, "The Perthshire Pensioner" (1 text, a Crimean War item adapted from the above and probably not a folk song in its own right)
  3. Roud #2857
  4. BI, FVS163


Alternate titles: “The Forfar Soldier”
Author: David Shaw
Earliest date: 1904 (Ford); author Shaw died 1856
Keywords: soldier injury money
Found in: Britain(Scotland)