Over the Hills....


This song predates Sharpe's time. Like many of the tunes of its era, it has a variety of verses, depending on who you happened to be at war with at the time. There is at least one reputedly bawdy version of the song (probably more).


According to this website, the tune was originally published in Thomas D'Urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy (1706). The words, as quoted on this website, are as follows:

The Recruiting Officer: Or, the Merry Volunteers: Being an Excellent New Copy of Verses upon raising Recruits.

To the foregoing Tune. [Over the Hills and far away = Jockey's Lamentation, comm: Jockey met with Jenny fair.]

Hark! now the Drums beat up again,
For all true Soldiers Gentlemen,
Then let us list, and march I say,
Over the Hills and far away;

Chorus:
Over the Hills and o'er the Main,
To Flanders, Portugal and Spain,
Queen Ann commands, and we'll obey,
Over the Hills and far away.

All Gentlemen that have a Mind,
To serve the Queen that's good and kind;
Come list and enter into Pay,
Then o'er the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.

Here's Forty Shillings on the Drum,
For those that Volunteers do come,
With Shirts, and Cloaths, and present Pay,
When o'er the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.

Hear that brave Boys, and let us go,
Or else we shall be prest you know;
Then list and enter into Pay,
And o'er the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.

The Constables they search about,
To find such brisk young Fellows out;
Then let's be Volunteers I say,
Over the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.

Since now the French so low are brought,
And Wealth and Honour's to be got,
Who then behind wou'd sneaking stay?
When o'er the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.

No more from sound of Drum retreat,
While Marlborough, and Gallaway beat,*
The French and Spaniards every Day,
When o'er the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.

He that is forc'd to go and fight,
Will never get true Honour by't,
While Volunteers shall win the Day,
When o'er the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.

What tho' our Friends our Absense mourn,
We all with Honour shall return,
And then we'll sing both Night and Day,
Over the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.

The[n] Prentice Tom he may refuse,
To wipe his angry Master's Shoes;
For then he's free to sing and play,
Over the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.

Over Rivers, Bogs, and Springs,
We all shall live as great as Kings,
And Plunder get both Night and Day,
When o'er the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.

We then shall lead more happy Lives,
By getting rid of Brats and Wives,
That Scold on both Night and Day,
When o'er the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.

Come on then Boys and you shall see,
We every one shall Captains be,
To Whore and rant as well as they,
When o'er the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.

For if we go 'tis one to Ten,
But we return all Gentlemen,
All Gentlemen as well as they,
When o'er the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.


The song appeared in The Recruiting Officer, a comedy by George Farquhar, and in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728). These are the words John Gay wrote:

MacHeath:
Were I laid on Greenland's coast,
And in my arms embrac'd my lass;
Warm amidst eternal frost,
Too soon the half year's night would pass.
And I would love you all the day.
Ev'ry night would kiss and play,
If with me you'd fondly stray
Over the hills and far away.

Polly:
Were I sold on Indian soil,
Soon as the burning day was clos'd,
I could mock the sultry toil
When on my charmer's breast repos'd.
I would love you all the day.
Ev'ry night would kiss and play,
If with me you'd fondly stray
Over the hills and far away.
Over the hills and far away...

Duet:
Were I laid on Greenland's coast,
And in my arms embrac'd my lass;
Warm amidst eternal frost,
Too soon the half year's night would pass.
And I would love you all the day.
Ev'ry night would kiss and play,
If with me you'd fondly stray
Over the hills and far away.


These are the words as sung in The Recruiting Officer:

Our 'prentice Tom may now refuse
To wipe his scoundrel Master's Shoes,
For now he's free to sing and play
Over the Hills and far away.
Over the Hills and O'er the Main,
To Flanders, Portugal and Spain,
The queen commands and we'll obey
Over the Hills and far away.

We all shall lead more happy lives
By getting rid of brats and wives
That scold and bawl both night and day -
Over the Hills and far away.
Over the Hills and O'er the Main,
To Flanders, Portugal and Spain,
The queen commands and we'll obey
Over the Hills and far away.

Courage, boys, 'tis one to ten,
But we return all gentlemen
All gentlemen as well as they,
Over the hills and far away.
Over the Hills and O'er the Main,
To Flanders, Portugal and Spain,
The queen commands and we'll obey
Over the Hills and far away.



An American version of the song that was popular in Maryland around 1754 goes like this...

Over the Hills with Heart we go,
To fight the proud insulting foe,
Our country calls and we'll obey,
Over the Hills and far away.

Chorus
Over the Mountains dreary waste,
To meet the enemy we haste,
Our King commands and we'll obey
Over the Hills and far away.

Whoe'er is bold, whoe'er is free,
Will join and come along with me,
To drive the French without delay
Over the Hills and far away.

Chorus
Over the rocks and over the steep,
Over the waters, wide and deep,
We'll drive the French without delay,
Over the Hills and far away.

On fair Ohio's Banks we stand,
Musket and bayonet in hand,
The French are beat, they dare not stay,
But take to their heels, and run away.

Chorus
Over the rocks and over the steep,
Over the waters, wide and deep,
We'll drive the French without delay
Over the Hills and far away.


Here is a traditional British version from the early 18th century, possibly a version sung by a recruiting sergeant:

Hark now the drums beat up again
For all true soldier gentlemen
So let us list and march I say
And go over the hills and far away

Chorus:
Over the hills, and o'er the main
To Flanders, Portugal and Spain
Queen Anne commands and we'll obey
And go over the hills and far away

There's twenty shillings on the drum
For him that with us freely comes
'Tis volunteers shall win the day
Over the hills and far away

Come gentlemen that have a mind
To serve a queen that's good and kind
Come list and enter in to pay
And go over the hills and far away

And we shall live more happy lives
Free of squalling brats and wives
Who nag and vex us every day
So its over the hills and far away

Prentice Tom may well refuse
To wipe his angry master's shoes
For now he's free to run and play
Over the hills and far away

No more from sound of drum retreat
When Marlborough and Galway beat
The French and Spaniards every day
Over the hills and far away

 


The following are the verses sung by John Tams over the closing credits of the various Sharpe episodes.

They're shown in the order of the films and have probably been rearranged to fit in with the "theme" of each particular episode.

The first verse is from the first *and* second episodes, the second verse from the third episode, etc.

Possibly the chorus is sung "TO Flanders" after the first verse and "THROUGH Flanders" thereafter.

Some words are spelt phonetically to indicate pronunciation. Differences in the last line from other verses are indicated by asterisks.

Here's fourteen shillings on the drum
For those who'll volunteer to come
To list and fight the foe today
Over the hills and far away

[Chorus:]
O'er the hills and o'er the main
To (through) Flanders, Portugal and Spain
King George commands and we obey
Over the hills and far away

Through smoke and fire and shot and shell
Unto the very walls of hell
We shall stand and we shall stay
Over the hills and far away

[chorus]

Now though I travel far from Spain
A part of me shall still remain
For you are with me night and day
*And* over the hills and far away

[chorus]

So fall in lads behind the drum
With Colours blazing like the sun
Along the road to come-what-may
Over the hills and far away

[chorus]

When evil stalks upon the land
I'll nyther hold nor stay me' hand
But fight to win a better day
Over the hills and far away

[chorus]

If I should fall to rise no more
As many comrades did before
Ask the pipes and drums to play
Over the hills and far away

[chorus]

Let Kings and tyrants come and go
I'll stand ajudged by what I know
A soldier's life I'll ne'er gainsay
Over the hills and far away

[chorus]

 


And here, at last, are the words to the "modern" British version, as sung on the Sharpe CD by John Tams:

Here's forty shillings on the drum
For those who'll volunteer to come
To 'list and fight the foe today.
Over the hills and far away.

(Chorus)
O'er the hills and o'er the main.
Through Flanders, Portugal and Spain.
King George commands and we obey.
Over the hills and far away.

When duty calls me I must go
To stand and face another foe.
But part of me will always stray
Over the hills and far away.

If I should fall to rise no more,
As many comrades did before,
Then ask the fifes and drums to play.
Over the hills and far away.

Then fall in lads behind the drum,
With colours blazing like the sun.
Along the road to come-what may.
Over the hills and far away.

(Traditional - additional lyrics by John Tams)



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