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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Lyrics: "A Soldier's Life is Always Gay."

The 12th Virginia Infantry, the Petersburg Regiment, left the Cockade City on May 14, 1862, singing "A Soldier's Life Is Always Gay."  By July 31, 1863, a tradition had developed that singing the song would bring on a battle the next day, and after the regiment sang it that night, a battle took place August 1.  Only the chorus was published by Capt. Richard Manson after the war in The Sunny South (Atlanta).  I finally found the words on the internet here,  The chorus was employed in many variations of the song, which alludes to Shakespeare's As You Like It.

We're the boys that's gay and happy,
Wheresoever we may be;
And we'll do our best to please you,
If you will attentive be.

So let the wide world wag as it will,
We'll be gay and happy still,
Gay and happy, gay and happy,
We'll be gay and happy still.

We envy neither great nor wealthy,
Poverty we ne'er despise,
Let us be contented, healthy,
And the boon we dearly prize.

So let the wide world wag as it will,
We'll be gay and happy still,
Gay and happy, gay and happy,
We'll be gay and happy still.

The rich have cares we little know of,
All that glitters is not gold,
Merit's seldom made a show of,
And true worth is rarely told.

So let the wide world wag as it will,
We'll be gay and happy still,
Gay and happy, gay and happy,
We'll be gay and happy still.