WON’T YOU COME CRUSADING WITH ME?

Cole Porter
Copyright 1916 as “Prithee, Come Crusading With Me;” rewritten for “See America First” where it was listed as “Damsel, Damsel.” First written for “Paranoia” (1914) by the Yale Dramatic Association, the music has not survived.

From Robert Kimball, ed. The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1983) pp. 23-24.

A paynim is “a pagan…an infidel, esp. a Mohammedan.” The stereotypes pile up: in “Arabie” the big black infidel/Mohammedan will be lured by the French woman, only to have his head smashed by the Crusader.

HE: Let’s pretend we lived of old
In some early Louis’ reign.
SHE: You’re Sir Floris, hight “The Bold,”
I’m yclept Fair Yglavaine.
HE: Far below your casement high
I conduct my nightly wooing.
SHE: I have more than half an eye
To observe what you are doing.
HE: In the tongue of fair Provence
I implore your condescension.
SHE: My apparent nonchalance
Need not cause you apprehension.
HE: As I strum my sweet citole,
Hear this outburst of my soul.

Refrain 1
He: Damsel, damsel, dainty little damsel,
Won’t you come crusading with me?
I’ve a palfrey, waiting all free,
Champing at the bit for thee.
Lily flower, leave your fragrant bower,
Lay aside your dull embroiderie.
Come put color in the Red Sea,
Come put life into the Dead Sea.
When we meet a big black paynim
You’ll entice him, I shall brain ‘im;
Mon joie, Saint Denis!
Won’t you come crusading with me?

SHE: True love, true love,
An it list you,
Marry I should love to go
Crusading,
Escapading,
To Jerusalem or Jericho.
Leagues with you, love,
Close behind you,
So, on my pillion seated,

We’ll put red in the Red Sea,
We’ll put life in the Dead Sea,
Foes will bellow, when you yell oh!
Mon joie, Saint Denis!
I shall go crusading with thee.

Version used in “See America First” (1916

Verse 1
CECIL: Let’s pretend we lived of old
In some early Louis’ reign.
POLLY: You’re Sir Floris, hight the Bold,
I’m yclept Fayr Yglavaine.
HE: Far below your casement high
I conduct my knightly wooing.
SHE: I have more than half an eye
To observe what you are doing.
HE: In the language of fair Provence
I implore your condescension.
SHE: My apparent nonchalance
Needn’t cause you apprehension.
HE: As I strum my sweet citole
Hear this outburst of my soul:

Refrain 1

HE: Damsel, damsel, dainty little damsel,
Won’t you come crusading with me?
SHE: Marry, I should love to go crusading
HE: I’ve a palfrey, waiting all free,
Champing at the bit for thee.
SHE: Tirra, lirra, lirra!
HE: Lily flower, leave your fragrant bower,
Lay aside your dull embroideree.
SHE: What! my pretty dull embroideree?
HE: Come add color to the Red Sea.
SHE: To the Red Sea.
HE: Come put life into the Dead Sea.
SHE: In the Dead Sea.
HE: When we meet a big black paynim
You’ll entice him, I shall brain ‘im
Mon joie, Saint Denis
Won’t you come crusading with me?

Verse 2
POLLY: And I may not say thee nay,
Let’s be wed on Whit-sun-feast.
CECIL: In a gothic minster gray
By a most imposing priest!
POLLY: In my sire’s tusseted pile
On a dais proudly seated.
CECIL: Thou shalt smile a stained-glass smile,
As with cheers thou art greeted.
POLLY: Then the moments I shall count
Till the feasters we’ve eluded.
CECIL: Ah, behold each trusty mount
At the postern gate secluded.
POLLY: As we swiftly ride away,
I shall chant this rondelay–

Refrain 2
POLLY: True love! True love, summer skies are blue love,
As I go crusading with thee.
CECIL: Marry! ‘Tis a joy to go crusading,
POLLY: Larks are trilling, [illegible] is shrilling,
Hark their merry minstrelsy.
CECIL: Tirra, lirra, lirra,
POLLY: True love, true love, let us bill and coo love
All the way to sunny Arabie.
CECIL: All aboard for sunny Arabie.
POLLY: We will add color to the Red Sea.
CECIL: To the Red Sea.
POLLY: We’ll put life into the Dead Sea!
CECIL: In the Dead Sea!
POLLY: When we meet a big black paynim
I’ll entice him
Thou shalt brain ‘im
Mon joie, Saint Denis
Thus, I’ll go crusading with thee!

WON’T YOU COME CRUSADING WITH ME?