The Colonel’s Song

“The Colonel’s Song”
(from Act II, sung by Anna, Allegro Moderato)

Drums, bugles, band at its head
There comes the regiment
Going to the mayor’s to look
For their billets
“I have nothing left, faithful soldiers
Unless by favour, I billet you
in the young ladies’ convent,”
Said the mayor who was an old joker.
“Let’s go to this convent, forward !”
Answers the Colonel and marches,
followed by the whole regiment.
Bugles blowing,
Drums beating
Ta ra ta ta ra ta ta ta
Ra fla fla fla !

“Shut the door,” at once cried
the Convent’s Mother Superior
X’cuse me Mother Superior,
There are our billets
Soldiers in a young ladies convent
(Said the lady playing devout)
Would damage our reputation with the families
“Better storm us ! Hurry forward !”
Says the Colonel dashing ahead
Followed by the whole regiment
Bugles blowing the general salute
Drums beating all along
Ta ra ta ta ra ta ta ta
Ra fla fla fla !

During a whole year
The regiment did not reappear
The Ministry of War reported it missing
They were giving up finding their track
When suddenly on a morning,
There it was to be seen on the mall
The Colonel still at its head
Trotting jauntily
All the convent’s boarders
Marching behind the regiment
The bugles blowing
The drums triumphing
Ta ra ta ta ra ta ta ta
Ra fla fla fla !

Not to pain the beauties
The minister in the garrison
Left the young ladies.
There, I think, lies the reason
Why a hundred army children
Popped up one day as if by chance
The handsome Colonel himself
had five of them riding behind
He got promoted
For having so swiftly doubled
The strength of his regiment
This is an excellent system
To contribute to recruitment.
Ta ra ta ta ra ta ta ta
Ra fla fla fla !

Translated into English by Max Rives