“The Plains of Waterloo (VII)”


Singer tells about her lover who "fought in Spain and Portugal and was slain at Waterloo." When Ireland fell he joined Bonaparte, promising to return and marry. "When Bathurst was taken" he went to Waterloo. She'll have no other man.


Moylan considers this the same song as "The Plains of Waterloo" (VI), but then he argues against his own position: "Unlike most other Napoleonic songs found in Ireland and Britain, the hero of the song fights on Napoleon's side." Moylan's version of "The Plains of Waterloo" (VI) (Moylan 191) shares no lines with this ballad.

Moylan speculates that the Bathurst reference "may refer to Henry, the 3rd Earl of Bathurst, who was Secretary of State for the Colonies." There is a connection between "Bathurst" and Napoleon. The following statement is from the Napoleonic Society site: "It is our view that Liverpool, Castlereagh and Bathurst betrayed Napoleon by offering him asylum in England and then sending him off to St-Helena." Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh (Foreign Secretary 1812-1822), Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool (Prime Minister 1812-1827), and Henry Bathurst (Secretary of State for War and the Colonies 1812-1827) are the parties mentioned.

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, "My Love at Waterloo" (on Franke Harte and Donal Lunny, "My Name is Napoleon Bonaparte," Hummingbird Records HBCD0027 (2001))

Frank Harte's version resolves the Bathurst "problem." His verse is

When Badajoz was taken and our leaders all were dead,

The plain around in carnage lay to show how much we bled,

Ten thousand man lay in their gore and those who fled were few,

And we marched on to fight once more on the Plains of Waterloo.

Harte: "Badajoz ... is the capital of Badajoz province situated near the border with Portugal. The French captured it in 1811, and held it until the following year when it was retaken by the British, led by the Duke of Wellington." - BS

Historical references

  • June 18, 1815 - Battle of Waterloo


  1. Moylan 190, "The Plains of Waterloo" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, Moyl190


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 2000 (Moylan)
Found in: Ireland