I'm hundred and two today, bagoom!
Eh, today, I'm a hundred and two,
And at ten years of age, I wor soldiering, aye,
I wor drummer boy at Waterloo.
And when Wellington said "Sam, my lad, get thy drum,"
I wor so mighty anxious to start
That I dashed on in front and got captured by French,
And wor taken afore Boneyparte.
And Boneyparte, scratching his-self under t'arm,
Like you see him in pictures today
Said "Voila! so you are a drummer boy, oui?
Then show me how well you can play."
"Sam, Sam! beat the Retreat! Beat the Retreat on thy drum,"
I said "Beat the what?" He said, "Beat the Retreat."
I said "Nay, that's one thing as I'll never beat;
I'll beat ye the Charge, or I'll beat the Tattoo,
But I'm British and Yorkshire, ba goom!
And though you're Napoleon, I'll see thee blowed
If I'll beat the Retreat on my drum!"
Then scratching his-self under t'arm once again,
In the way Boneyparte always did,
He said, "Sacré bloo! " which is French for "Ba goom",
"Eh, thou hast got a sauce for a kid."
Then he called Josephine (Josephine wor his Queen)
And he said "Tell this lad, Josephine,
If he don't beat Retreat on his drum,
He'll be shot - aye and put underneath Guil-li-o-tine."
So she put her arm round me, and stroking me 'air,
She whispered, "Hush, hush now - coom, coom!
Be a good lad - do as Boneyparte tells thee,
And beat the Retreat on thy drum!"
I said "Missus, nay!" then she started to cry,
And she murmured "0, lad, you are too sweet to die;
And hast thou a mother who loves thee?" she sobbed.
I said "Aye, and she's Yorkshire, ba goom!
And she'd beat the Retreat on me trousers
If I were to beat the Retreat on me drum!"