My mother used to wake us with this phrase, "Up and at 'em with a heart that's full of glee!" I've seen the use of "Up and at 'em!" before, but not with the addition that my mom used. Has anyone else heard this specific phrase? I would love to know its etiology. -Amy
If you'd like an answer, you've come to the right place. If you have heard the term "up and at em'" you probably know that means that you must get up from sleeping and do something, referring to the "at em'" part. The origination most likely came from "up, guards, and at em'!" However, with your extension, it means that a person is full of joy. So, to put it all together, Up and at em' with a heart that's full of glee means to do something while still being optimistic.
That sounds like it might be the line of a song. I found the two halves of your sentence in two (very!) different songs:
Up an' at 'em, up an' at 'em,
Up an' at the Hun,
Get 'em on the run,
Make the sun-of-a-gun say "Uncle Sam, please,
We'll get on our knees
And admit the Kaiser is an awful piece of cheese".
-- From Up an' at 'em, up an' at the Hun! (1918), words by Arthur Guy Empey, music by Chas. R. McCarron and Carey Morgan
Do you know our schoolmate, little Don?
A merry lad is he,
With eyes that shine like stars at night,
And a heart that's full of glee
-- From Don by Charles Marsh, from an 1888 book of children's songs
I doubt that your mother was combining Edwardian-era songs, but if these phrases were common at this time, they might have been used together in a song that she remembers?