This song was written by Jennet whilst in command of Tom Drake's army and is popular amongst soldiers. Often only the first three verses are sung.

OOC the tune is the Gallant Forty Twa, words by Daisy, Jude and Kath. Recording is here.

An often sung variant of the tune is slightly different - sheet music available here

1. Well once I was a farmer Out in the sun and rain I sowed the fields in springtime And reaped the autumn grain But I've put down my ploughing, Took my billhook in my hand And joined that gallant army That's the pride of Bregasland

Chorus: You can talk about your Highguard And your Freeborn Privateers Your Wintermark militia And your Dawnish Volunteers Or any other army, The glorious Empire wide For I'd sooner be a Strong Reed, With a Marcher at my side.

2.Well I was a musician Across the land I'd play From the taverns down in Wayford To the golden fields of Hay But now I am a drummer And I've laid my harp aside And now I march to battle Proudly at the Bounders' side

Chorus (ending with "For I'd sooner be a Bounder, with a Marcher at my side")

3.Well I was once a Friar A pilgrim on the Way My nights were spent in prayer And I tended herbs by day But I've left the monastery And I'm armed with mace and shield And now I preach to Tom Drake's army On the battlefield

Chorus (ending with "For I'd sooner be in Tom Drake's, with a Marcher at my side")

4.Once I was a trapper Culling vermin on the farm But I yearn to use my bow skills To do a greater harm So now I've left the copses Where the fox and deer abide To go to cull the enemy, The Beaters at my side

Chorus (ending with "For I'd sooner be a Beater, with a Marcher at my side")

5.I bargain with Eternals, I circle and recite To bring the crops to fruitfulness Heal blemish and the blight And now, intoning in the fray Unarmed, no plate, no chain This Upwold Keeper strives to keep His fellow Bounders sane

Chorus (ending with "For I'd sooner be a Bounder, with a Marcher at my side")

6.The sickle that scythed through the grain Now reaps a grimmer yield And the billhook that repaired the hedge Lays waste upon the field The Strong Reeds stand unbowed, unbent Against the coming storm And now we thresh right through them Like a flail through the corn

Chorus (ending with "For I'd sooner be a Strong Reed, with a Marcher at my side")

7.Where the land once echoed With hammer striking steel The rhythm of the lathe and loom, The weapon-maker's zeal The gathering troops now gird their loins With the fruits of sweat and blood: The gambeson, the mail shirt, The hauberk and the hood

Chorus (ending with "For I'd sooner be a Marcher, with my fellows at my side")