“The Rolling Neuse”


"When Greene's horn blew a long, loud blast, At early day's bright dawning, In slumber my heart was pulsing fast. I was dreaming of the morning When Nancy would be my youthful bride." As he prepares to fight, he prays for her happiness


Brown's informant listed this as a fragment, and so it appears to be. As it stands, it looks rather like "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," though whether that comparison would stand in a full-length version is not clear.

Greene is doubtless Nathaniel Green (1742-1786), who had a long career in the Continental (American Revolutionary) army. In October 1780 he was given command of what would now be called something like the southern theatre of the war. He successfully lead Cornwallis around by the nose, and despite minor setbacks, captured most southern cities by the end of 1781.

The Neuse River flows into Pamlico Sound in North Carolina, but this cannot be used to date the song more precisely; the soldier seemingly is not serving on the Neuse but thinking of his home near it. - RBW

Cross references


  1. BrownIII 366, "The Rolling Neuse" (1 short text)
  2. Roud #11746
  3. BI, Br3366


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1952 (Brown)
Found in: US(SE)