Continental Soldier
Freeborn
A kids' song, sung to the tune of "Turkey in the Straw," goes like this:

Do your ears hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie 'em in a know?
Can you tie 'em in a bow?
Can you toss 'em over your shoulder,
Like a Continental soldier?
Do your ears......hang.......low?

Where did the term "Continental soldier" come from, and if you know the origin of the song itself, I'd love to hear that. (Animal? Dog, rabbit, dairy goat, etc.?)

AdSumADS
In context, "Continental" refers to prototypical United States, the British American colonies: http://m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=continental
AtoZ
I first learned this song, albeit with somewhat different words, as a rugby song, with all that that designation implies. It was sung to the Sailor's Hornpipe, and I suspect the song may be of naval origin; but all I can find on it is "Trad. and Anon."
Frank Pierce
I'd guess that "continental" was selected only because it has four syllables and serves as a pretty good adjective for "soldier" the closest rhyme you can conveniently get to "shoulder."

It's a great song but should never be sung questioning the negative dihedral of the ears. I suspect that the rugby words are more accurate.

Return to the archive