“Napoleon's Lamentation”

Author: unknown
Keywords: war France Napoleon royalty hardtimes wife children
Found in: Ireland

Description

Napoleon says "I was born to wear a stately crown." He recounts his victories until, after Moscow, "my men were lost through cold and frost." Defeats follow. He bids fare well to his "royal spouse, and offspring great"

Notes

The ballad is recorded on one of the CD's issued around the time of the bicentenial of the 1798 Irish Rebellion. See:

Franke Harte and Donal Lunny, "Napoleon's Lamentation" (on Franke Harte and Donal Lunny, "My Name is Napoleon Bonaparte," Hummingbird Records HBCD0027 (2001)) - BS

This sounds to me rather like "The Bonny Bunch of Roses" [Laws J5], recast to put it in the mouth of Napoleon the Father rather than Napoleon the Son. Of course, I can't tell in which direction the mixture went -- or, indeed, if there might not be a third song that influenced both. - RBW

References

  1. Moylan 194, "Napoleon's Lamentation" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, Moyl194