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Danny Deever

Rating: 2.8

"What are the bugles blowin' for?" said Files-on-Parade.
"To turn you out, to turn you out", the Colour-Sergeant said.
"What makes you look so white, so white?" said Files-on-Parade.
"I'm dreadin' what I've got to watch", the Colour-Sergeant said.
For they're hangin' Danny Deever, you can hear the Dead March play,
The regiment's in 'ollow square -- they're hangin' him to-day;
They've taken of his buttons off an' cut his stripes away,
An' they're hangin' Danny Deever in the mornin'.

"What makes the rear-rank breathe so 'ard?" said Files-on-Parade.

"It's bitter cold, it's bitter cold", the Colour-Sergeant said.
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Joe Pearce 09 September 2019

It's a great poem, which I've known since I was 12, but if you've ever heard it set to music (by Walter Damrosch, in the late 1890s) , it actually adds to the drama of the poem and becomes one of the greatest narrative ballads ever written, spoken or sung. The recording by Leonard Warren is the one to have, but it was also done by its creator, David Bispham (both Warren and Bispham were Americans) , and there are load of other good recordings of it, almost all by English baritones.

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