The Maiden Soldier

There are many traditional songs about girls dressing as men and joining the army or navy, and it did happen. The words of The Maiden Soldier were collected by Francis James Collinson (I have no other details) which I sing, appropriately enough, to the first part of the 4th Dragoon Guards Quick March in James Blackshaw’s unpublished Shropshire fiddlebook of 1779.

There’s no suggestion that the young officer in our early 19th century painting was female, but it shows how easily a woman might secretly enlist. Incidentally, two years ago on this very day the painting was sold on ebay for £3,200.

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