Supplementary Appendix 277a.1

The Popular French Folk Song Marlbrough s’en va-t-en guerre

Anonymous illustration ca. 1880:


Translation from The Poets and Poetry of Europe, with introductions and biographical notices by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Philadelphia 1845), 472:


Malbrouck the prince of commanders,
Is gone to the war in Flanders;
His fame is like Alexander's;
But when will he come home?

Perhaps at Trinity Feast, or
Perhaps he may come at Easter.
Egad! he had better make haste, or
We fear he may never come.

For Trinity Feast is over,
And has brought no news from Dover,
And Easter is past, moreover,
And Malbrouck still delays.

Milady in her watch-tower
Spends many a pensive hour,
Not knowing why or how her
Dear lord from England stays.

While sitting quite forlorn in
That tower, she spies returning
A page clad in deep mourning,
With fainting steps and slow.

"O page, prithee, come faster!
What news do you bring of your master?
I fear there is some disaster,
Your looks are so full of woe."

"The news I bring, fair lady,"
With sorrowful accent said he,
"Is one you are not ready
So soon, alas! to hear.

"But since to speak I'm hurried,"
Added this page, quite flurried,
"Malbrouck is dead and buried!"
And here he shed a tear.

"He's dead! He's dead as a herring!
For I beheld his berring,
And four officers transferring
His corpse away from the field.

"One officer carried his sabre,
And he carried it not without labor,
Much envying his next neighbour,
Who only bore a shield.

"The third was helmet-bearer, —
That helmet which on its wearer
Filled all who saw with terror,
And covered a hero's brains.

"Now, having got so far, I
Find that — by the Lord Harry! —
The fourth is left nothing to carry. —
So there the thing remains."

A version set to music (Folk-Songs and other Songs for Children, ed. Jane Byrd Radcliffe-Whitehead [Boston 1903], 96–97):