“The Scavenger's Brigade”


The singer joins "The Scavengers' Brigade" sweeping Belfast streets. They parade like soldiers with brooms on their shoulders. His family and sweetheart think he's in some army brigade and expect promotion and glory. He recommends it as an occupation

Long description

The singer arrives in Belfast and finally finds work sweeping streets in "The Scavengers' Brigade." "With our brooms across our shoulders, That's our only uniform ... We're always on parade." His father reads his letters to the neighbors "for he thinks that I'm a sojer, with a gun." His mother wonders "if her darling is a kilty or dragoon" and expects he'll soon be a General. His sweetheart writes "that for my sake she's not afraid to leave her native land And risk a soldier's life whenever I get command" He tells everyone to save their pennies, come to Belfast, and "come and gain promotion in the Scavenger Brigade."


  • Bodleian, Firth c.16(409), "The Scavenger Brigade" ("It's myself a dacent Irish lad, arrived from Donegal," unknown, n.d. [beginning lines illegible]


  1. Hayward-Ulster, pp. 72-73, "The Scavenger's Brigade" (1 text)
  2. Hammond-Belfast, p. 45, "The Scavengers' Brigade" (1 text)
  3. Roud #5978
  4. BI, HayU072


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1925 (Hayward-Ulster); 19C? (broadside, Bodleian Firth c.16(409))
Found in: Ireland