You never know when war may come,
And that is why I keep a drum:
For if all sudden in the night
From east or west came battle fright,
And you were sound asleep in bed,
And very soon to join the dead,
You then would gladly wish my drum
Would warn you that the war had come.
So that is why on afternoons
I tell the neighborhood my tunes:
Sometimes behind a fortress bench,
Or where the hedges make a trench,
I beat the drum with all my might,
While people look with awful fright,
Just as they would if war had come,
And heard the warning of my drum.
They must be thankful, I am sure,
Because they now may feel secure,
And rest so safe and sound in bed,
Without wild dreams of fearful dread;
For now they hear me all the day,
As round the yard I march and play,
To let them know if war should come
They'll get the warning of my drum.