FolkWorld #57 07/2015
© Seán Laffey

The Battle of Waterloo

 Eighteenth of June 

All you people who live at home easy
And are far from the trials of war
Never knowing the dangers of battle
But are safe with your families secure
Know you, the long scythe of destruction
Has been sweeping the nations all round
But it never yet cut with the keenness
That it did on the eighteenth of June

And what a sad heart had poor Boney
To take up instead of the crown
And to canter from Brussels to Paris
Lamenting the eighteenth of June

It began about five in the morning
And it lasted till seven at night
All the people stood round in amazement
They had never yet seen such a sight
And the thunder of five hundred cannon
Proclaimed that the battle was on
And the moon in the sky overshone all
Recording the eighteenth of June

All you young girls with sweethearts out yonder   
That go daily to buy the black gown
It's one thousand to one I will lay you
Your love fell on the eighteenth of June
Sixty thousand stout-hearted brave soldiers
Who died made an awful pall tune
And there's many's the one will remember
With sorrow the eighteenth of June

 Listen to Eighteenth of June from:

 Watch Eighteenth of June from:
     Martin Carthy, Eric Starr

Songs That Made History: This year marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, which as you all know occured on the 18th of June in 1815. The 7th Coalition was triumphant and Napoleon and his forces were defeated on the famous field which lies 15 km south of Brussels.

The related article has been withdrawn by the author.

Eighteenth of June

Frank Harte: My Name is Napoleon Bonaparte

The Green Mossy Banks of the Lea

 Her Mantle So Green 

As I went out walking one morning in June,
To view the fair fields and the valleys in bloom,
I spied a pretty fair maid she appeared like a queen
With her costly fine robes and her mantle so green.

Says I, "My pretty fair maid, won't you come with me
We'll both join in wedlock, and married we'll be,
I'll dress you in fine linnen, you'll appear like a queen,
With your costly fine robes and your mantle so green."

Says she now, "You Young man, you must be excused,
For I'll wed with no man, you must be refused;
To the green woods I will wander to shun all men's view,   
For the lad that I love fell in famed Waterloo."

"O, then, if you won't marry, tell me your love's name,
For I being in battle, I might know the same."
"Draw near to my garment and there will be seen,
His name is embroidered on my mantle so green."

In raising her mantle there I did behold
His name and his surname in letters of gold;
Young William O'Reilly appeared in my view
He was my chief comrade back in famed Waterloo.

"But when he was dying I heard his last cry
'If you were here, Lovely Nancy, contented I'd die;'
Now Peace is proclaimed, and the truth I declare
Here is your love token, the gold ring I wear."

"O, Nancy, dear Nancy, 'tis I won your heart
In your father's garden that day we did part.
Now the wars are all over, no trouble is seen
And I'll wed with my true love in her mantle so green."

 Listen to Her Mantle So Green from:
    Matt & Shannon Heaton, Sinéad O'Connor

 Watch Her Mantle So Green from:
     Mothers of Intention, Sinead O'Connor

Her Mantle So Green

Margaret Barry & Michael Gorman: Her Mantle So Green

Frank Harte

Frank Harte @ FW:
Artist Video FW#7, #30,
#31, #34, #40

Margaret Barry

Margaret Barry @ FW:
Artist Video FW#38, #40, #45

Her Mantle So Green

 The Bonny Light Horseman 
Broken Hearted I Will wander (Roud 1185)

Ye maids, wives and widows, I pray give attention,
Unto these few lines, tho' dismal to mention
I'm a maiden distracted, in the desert I'll rove,
To the gods I'll complain for the loss of my love.

Broken hearted I'll wander, 
Broken hearted I'll remain
Since my bonny light horseman
In the wars he was slain.

Well now Bonaparte he has commanded his troops for to stand   
And he levelled up his cannon all over the land;
Yes he levelled his cannon, the whole victory to gain,
And he slew my light horseman returning from Spain.

Oh if I were a blackbird and had wings for to fly
I would fly to the spot where my true love does lie
It is with my little fluttering wings his wounds I would heal
And 'tis all for teh night long on his breast I would lie.

Two years and two months since he left this bright shore,
My bonny light horseman that I did adore,
O why was I born this sad day to see,
When the drum beat to arms and did force him from me.

You should see my light horseman on a cold winter's day,
With his red and rosy cheeks and his curly black hair.
He's mounted on horseback, the whole victory to gain,
And he's over the battlefield for honour and fame.

Not a lord, duke or earl could my love exceed,
Not a more finer youth for his king e'er did bleed;
When mounted on a horse he so gay did appear,
And by all his regiment respected he were.

Oh Boney, oh Boney, I have done you no harm,
Tell me why then, tell me why do you cause me such alarm?
We were happy together, my true love and me,
But now you have stretched him in death o'er the sea.

Like the dove that does mourn when it loseth its mate,
Will I for my love 'til I die for his sake;
No man on this earth my affection shall gain,
And a maid live and die for my love that was slain.

 Listen to The Bonny Light Horseman from:
    Margaret Bennett, Mark Evans, Craig Herbertson, 
    Lynch The Box, Socks in the Frying Pan, Dáithí Sproule,
    The Voice Squad, Ewan Wilkinson

 Watch The Bonny Light Horseman from:
    Maranna McCloskey, John Faulkner and Dolores Keane, 
    Socks in The Frying Pan, The Voice Squad

The Bonny Light Horseman

William Holmes Sullivan: Battle of Waterloo, 18th June 1815, 1898

A Private of the 18th Light Dragoons (Hussars), 1812

The Bonny Light Horseman

 Arthur McBride and the Sergeant 

Oh, me and my cousin, one Arthur McBride
As we went a-walking down by the seaside
Now, mark what followed and what did betide
For it being on Christmas morning…
Out for recreation, we went on a tramp
And we met Sergeant Napper and Corporal Vamp
And a little wee drummer, intending to camp
For the day being pleasant and charming.

“Good morning ! Good morning!” the sergeant did cry
“And the same to you gentlemen!” we did reply ,
Intending no harm but meant to pass by
For it being on Christmas morning.
But says he, “My fine fellows if you will enlist,
It’s ten guineas in gold I will slip in your fist
And a crown in the bargain for to kick up the dust
And drink the King’s health in the morning.

For a soldier he leads a very fine life
And he always is blessed with a charming young wife
And he pays all his debts without sorrow or strife
And always lives pleasant and charming…
And a soldier he always is decent and clean
In the finest of clothing he’s constantly seen
While other poor fellows go dirty and mean
And sup on thin gruel in the morning.“

“But“, says Arthur, “I wouldn’t be proud of your clothes
For you’ve only the lend of them as I suppose
And you dare not change them one night, for you know
If you do you’ll be flogged in the morning.
And although that we are single and free
we take great delight in our own company
And we have no desire strange faces to see
Although that your offers are charming
And we have no desire to take your advance
All hazards and dangers we barter on chance
For you would have no scruples for to send us to France
Where we would get shot without warning“

“Oh now!“, says the sergeant “I’ll have no such chat
And I neither will take it from spalpeen or brat
For if you insult me with one other word
I’ll cut off your heads in the morning“
And then Arthur and I we soon drew our hods
And we scarce gave them time for to draw their own blades   
When a trusty shillelagh came over their heads
And bade them take that as fair warning

And their old rusty rapiers that hung by their side
We flung them as far as we could in the tide
“Now take them out, Divils!“, cried Arthur McBride
“And temper their edge in the morning“.
And the little wee drummer we flattened his pow
And we made a football of his rowdeydowdow
Threw it in the tide for to rock and to row
And bade it a tedious returning

And we having no money, paid them off in cracks
And we paid no respect to their two bloody backs
For we lathered them there like a pair of wet sacks
And left them for dead in the morning.
And so to conclude and to finish disputes
We obligingly asked if they wanted recruits
For we were the lads who would give them hard clouts
And bid them look sharp in the morning.

Oh me and my cousin, one Arthur McBride
As we went a walkin’ down by the seaside,
Now mark what followed and what did betide
For it being on Christmas morning.

 Listen to Arthur McBride from:
    Martin Carthy, Lehto & Wright, Planxty, 
    Skyhook, Ralf Weihrauch

 Watch Arthur McBride from:
    Tiernan McBride's film of Paul Brady's 'Arthur McBride, 
    Paul Brady, Planxty, Andy Irvine, Bruce Guthro, 
    Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick, Skyhook

Arthur McBride & The Sergeant

Elizabeth Southerden Thompson (Lady Butler): Listed for the Connaught Rangers, Recruiting in Ireland, 1878

Andy Irvine

Artist Video Andy Irvine @ FolkWorld:
FW#5, #11, #23, #27, #30, #35,
#36, #44, #48, #53, #55, #55

Paul Brady

Artist Video Paul Brady @ FolkWorld:
FW#41, #48, #57

Arthur McBride

 Battle of Waterloo 

Spring comes to Kirrie, all the world¹s in bloom,
Winter is forgiven now, fooled by April¹s broom,
Kirrie, oh Kirrie, you were aye my hame
Till Napoleon¹s bloody cannon hit their aim,
Jeanie oh Jeanie, I am surely done,
Stricken down in battle, at the mooth o Boney¹s guns,
Jeannie oh Jeannie, aye sae dear tae me,
Let me hold you in my mind afore I dee

   For the cold returns in autumn
   when the wind rakes the trees,
   And the summer lies forgotten
   In a cold bed of leaves,
   As winter begins aye mind Boney,
   It wasn¹t only you,
   Who was broken on the field of Waterloo.

Surgeon oh surgeon, leave me wi my pain,
Save your knife for others, who will surely rise again,
Surgeon oh surgeon, leave my blood to pour,
Let it drain into the bitter clay once more,

Daughter oh daughter, listen dear tae me,
Never wed a sodger, or a widow you will be
Daughter oh daughter, curse your lad to die,
Ere he catches the recruiting sergeant¹s eye,

Boney oh Boney, war was aye your game,
Bloody field your table, cannon yours to aim,
Boney oh Boney, we aye lived the same,
Drilling laddies not to fear the muskets¹ flame,

 Listen to Battle of Waterloo from:
    Jim Malcolm, Old Blind Dogs

 Watch Battle of Waterloo from:
    Jesse Ferguson 

Postscript: Battle of Waterloo

Tune traditional; words and arrangement Jim Malcolm.

This song, based on a traditional tune of the same name, tells the story of a man from Kirriemuir who is dying on the battlefield of Waterloo. In his final moments he thinks of the family he has left behind in Angus, rails against the dangers of soldiering, and tells Napoleon: “It wasn’t only you who was broken on the fields of Waterloo”.

Old Blind Dogs

Artist Video Old Blind Dogs @ FolkWorld:
FW#1, #3, #8, #12,
#19, #28, #31, #36, #43

Jim Malcolm

Artist Video Jim Malcolm @ FolkWorld:
FW#5, #5 #15, #25, #28, #32,
#39, #42, #45, #53, #56

Photo Credits: (1)+(4) Frank Harte, (2) "The Green Mossy Banks of the Lea", (3)+(5) Margaret Barry, (6) "Her Mantle So Green", (7) William Holmes Sullivan "Battle of Waterloo, 18th June 1815" 1898, (8) A Private of the 18th Light Dragoons (Hussars) 1812, (9) "The Bonny Light Horseman" (10) Elizabeth Southerden Thompson (Lady Butler) "Listed for the Connaught Rangers - Recruiting in Ireland 1878", (12) Paul Brady, (13) "Arthur McBride and the Sergeant", (15) Jim Malcolm (unknown/website); (11) Andy Irvine, (14) Old Blind Dogs (by Walkin' Tom).

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