PRATIE PLACE

Friday, February 11, 2005

Napoleon Scolded #2

Despite the rousing rotundity of Byron's rhetoric, I think it was bested by the succinct put-down below, in which the common man gets the last word. The lyrics are an amalgam of choice bits from anti-Boney broadsheets of the 18th and 19th centuries. Try to get hold of this song as sung by the incomparable Nic Jones.
The Warlike Lads of Russia

When Napoleon Bonaparte to Moscow he went
With all his troops and all his men, their minds fully bent
To take the Russian country they were full employed
But the Russians fought against them and they soon did them destroy.
Those warlike lads of Russia they fought all in one mind
Made Bonaparte to run and leave his troops behind.

Well, in a little while oh, the Russians did attack
'gainst Bonaparte and all his men they fought them and they drove them back
The action being so hot both right and left and front and rear
"Oh damn you all," says Bonaparte, "I'll stay no longer here."

Away then went poor Bonaparte as fast as he could run
The poor Frenchmen looked after, he left horses, men and guns
His boxes and his matches, ammunition, wagons too,
He left them all behind him, what else could poor Boney do?

Away then went poor Bonaparte as fast as he could ride
The poor Frenchmen looked after him, saying "Oh, it's very hard
To think he'd lead us all up here, then leave us to our fate
You'd think he'd stop along with us and help us in our state!"

"Here's 80,000 men from me they've killed and they have taken,
Likewise 10,000 horses and 200 bits of cannon
Never more to Leon, Paris or French Flanders I'll advance
For if I do I may be sure they'll teach me how to dance."

Now it's to conclude and thus to finish off my song
Old Boney's men and Russia wish they had a hold of him
The cruellest death they'd put him to, that ever a man befell
"Oh damn you all" says Bonaparte, "I'm clear of you all."
Those warlike lads of Russia they fought all in one mind
Made Bonaparte to run and leave his troops behind.

When my son saw this last picture of the glum Boney dragging a few butts back from Moscow he instantly said: "That isn't accurate. They'd already eaten all their horses."

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2 Comments:

At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Er -- shouldn't that be 18th and 19th centuries?

 
At 12:02 PM, Blogger melinama said...

Er, uh, thanks.

 

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