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As mentioned in David Hackett Fischer's extensive discussion on "Yankee Doodle" in Are there any documents that can prove that "Yankee Doodle" was written down? One of these documents is sheet music published in London, titled: "YANKEE DOODLE, or (as now christened by the Saints of New England), THE LEXINGTON MARCH." This is undated but must have been printed after the battles at Lexington and Concord in 1775.
Could some of it have been written years before by Dr. It is possible since the first verse tells a similar story as the one credited to him: Brother Ephraim sold his Cow and bought him a Commission, And then he went to Canada to Fight for the Nation; But when Ephraim he came home he prov'd an arrant Coward, He wouldn't fight the Frenchmen there for fear of being devour 'd. a sophomore at Harvard who had served at Lexington as a minuteman, these words --with slight variations -- were often reprinted during the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
The broadside, probably dating from 1775 or 1776, is the earliest known printing of this version.
Chorus: Yankey doodle keep it up, Yankey doodle dandy, Mind the music and the step, And with the girls be handy.
And there we see a thousand men, As rich as 'squire David, And what they wasted every day, I wish it had been saved. And there was Captain Washington, And gentle folks about him, They say he's grown so tarnal proud, He will not ride without them. And there we see a swamping gun, Large as a log of maple, Upon a deucid little cart, A load for father's cattle. And every time they shoot it off, It takes a horn of powder, And makes a noise like father's gun, Only a nation louder.
Thus the text taught to schoolchildren for many generations is NOT the original text.Fuld also wrote: Most of the authorities now conclude that the song is American in origin.This song is sometimes confused with "The Yankee Doodle Boy" -- known by its opening line: "I'm a yankee doodle dandy," written by George M.Cohan in 1904 and made famous by James Cagney singing it in the Warner Bros. But the legends and facts of the 18th century Boston ballad begin with these words: The song known as "Yankee Doodle" has been shrouded in legends for several centuries and it is difficult to determine which versions are authentic. Richard Shuckburgh wrote a ballad set to the "Yankee Doodle" tune to poke fun at New Englanders who served in the French and Indian War in Canada.It has been claimed that Shuckburgh included this verse: Obviously verses like that didn't please the New Englanders, or "Yankees," as they were called.Part of the legend is that Shuckburgh wrote his mocking ballad in 1755 or 1758 while a guest at the Van Rensselaer brick manor house also known as Fort Crailo near Albany, New York .