Yankee Doodle

American Songs

Yankee Doodle (1) (Traditional)

From "A Song-book of Folk and Pop Music"

by Mario Papa & Giuliano Iantorno, Zanichelli Editore, 1977


Father and I went down to camp,

A-long with Captain Goodin',

And there we saw the men and boys

As thick as hasty puddin' (2).



Yankee Doodle, keep it up,

Yankee Doodle Dandy,

Mind the music and the step,

And with the girls be handy.


And there we saw a thousand men,

As rich as Squire (3) David;

And what they wasted ev'ryday,

I wish it could be saved.



Yankee Doodle, keep it up, etc.


And there was Captain Washington (4)

Upon a slapping stallion,

A-giving orders to his men;

I guess (5) there was a million.



Yankee Doodle, keep it up, etc.


And then the feathers on his hat,

They looked so very fine, ah!

I wanted peskily (6) to get

To give to my Jemima.



Yankee Doodle, keep it up, etc.


(1) Yankee is a word generally used for a person coming from tbc United States.

Doodle means a simple fellow. `Yankee Doodle' has been popular in America since the colonial days. The tune was popular in Europe during the 1500s and the song was sung to small children in England in Shakespeare's time. Later the tune was used for a rhyme that began:


Lucy Locket lost her pocket,

Kitty Fisher found it;

Nothing in it, nothing in it,

Save the binding round it.


Another English form of the ‘Yankee Doodle’' tune was sung by the Cavaliers in the 1600s. They made up words to poke fun at Oliver Cromwell when he rode down from Canterbury to take charge of the Puritan forces:


Yankee Doodle came to town,

Upon a Kentish pony.

He stock a feather in his cap,

And called it macaroni.


At that time the word macaroni was used to mean the young men of London who dressed in odd Italian styles. The words of ‘Yankee Doodle’ known in the United States were written by an English armysurgeon, Dr Richard Schuckburgh. The song made fun of the untrained American troops during the French and Indian War in 1755. But the American troops liked ‘Yankee Doodle’ and the song soon became popular. ‘Yankee Doodle’ was well known all through the American colonies at the time of the Revolutionary War against the English.


(2) Hasty Pudding: a thick mess made of boiled corn meal. Although pudding is usually considered to be something sweet eaten at the end of a meal: Christmas Pudding or chocolate Pudding, it can also be used as a non-sweet accompaniment to meat: Yorkshire Pudding.


(3) Squire was a medieval title. lt is now used for the local landowner in a county district or village.


(4) George Washington was the leader of the American Army which defeated the English during the Revolutionary War (1775-1783). In 1789 he was elected first president of the USA.

(5) I guess: In the States means: ‘I think’'

(6). Peskily: Annoyingly.


American Revolutionary War 

The revolutionary war in America was fought by the early thirteen British colonies against Britain from 1775 to 1883, and when the war ended, the thirteen colonies gained their freedom and became the United States of America. Relationships between the colonists and Britain had been good for years, but things began to get worse in 1763 when Britain prohibited the American pioneers from settling and trading in lands west of the Appalachians, because those lands had been reserved for the Indians.

In the following years British Parliament passed several Acts to tax American goods or goods imported into America, like the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act and the Tea Act of 1773. This last tea taxation provoked a big riot. Some Americans went to Boston harbour where three English ships were waiting to unload and organized the famous ‘Boston Tea Party’. A band of colonists, disguised as Indians, made their way to the ships, boarded the ships meeting no resistance, and smashed open chests of tea, dumping all the tea overboard. In the following year the relationship between the Americans and the British got worse and worse, and the war broke out in 1775. The American revolutionary army led by George Washington won the victory after 8 years of fighting. The Treaty of Paris in 1783 formally ended the war. In 1776, when the war had already begun, representatives of the North American colonists wrote the Declaration of Independence, setting forth the reasons for declaring their independence from Great Britain.