“The Removal of Napoleon's Ashes”

Author: John Morgan (source: broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(116), Harding B 13(205), Harding B 11(3256), Curzon b.41(63) and Harding B 15(256a))
Earliest date: before 1856 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(116)); c.1845 (broadside NLScotland L.C.1270(016)) [see Notes]
Keywords: battle separation betrayal France wife Napoleon
Found in: Ireland


At Waterloo Napoleon was forced to yield. Marie Louisa wept and cursed the gold that bribed "False Grouchy." A monument is erected in Paris "to contain the ashes of his heart, And every Frenchman that passes by respectfully a tribute pays"


The commentary for broadside NLScotland L.C.1270(016) states "James Kay worked in Glasgow as printer during the mid-1840s." - BS

Emmanuel Grouchy (1766-1847) commanded one of the wings of Napoleon's army in the Waterloo campaign, and his failure to arrive at Waterloo may have cost Napoleon the battle. The charge that he betrayed Napoleon occurs also in "Napoleon Bonaparte (III)" (see that song for a discussion) and in "The Wheels of the World," but there is no reason whatsoever to believe that it is true.

Although the conceit is common in folk song, there is even less reason to think that Marie Lousia of Austria grieved for him, since she became involved with other men before he was even dead. (See the notes to "Saint Helena (Boney on the Isle of St. Helena)"; also "The Royal Eagle" and "The New Bunch of Loughero") - RBW

Historical references

Cross references



  1. Moylan 206, "Napoleon Bonaparte" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  2. BI, Moyl206