I had always thought the song had a French origin but I've never seen it listed as such. I've only seen it referred to as a "college song," a "Glee Club song" or a "drinking song." I first learned it, under the name "Vive L'Amour" from my grandmother, who learned it at the small college she attended in Nebraska, Doan College, in the mid 1880s. She was a confirmed teetotaler, but had this repertoire of (mostly) drinking songs that she'd sing to me when she visited us. She lived to be almost 101 and before she died passed on to me an old book with those songs she used to sing when she was a college girl. The book is entitled "Songs of Yale," revised edition, edited by Charles S. Elliot and revised and edited by Elmer P. Howe "of the Yale Glee Club," Published by Taintor Brothers, Merrill & CO., NY, 1880. Doan College had adapted the Yale songs as - since both names were one syllable - they were easily transposed. ("Here's to good old Yale, drink it down, drink it down..." became "Here's to good old Doan... etc.") The Preface to the book contains this statement, "The college singing now in vogue was started on the introduction of "Gaudeamus" and "Integer Vitae" from the German Universities.... Since then tunes have been appropriated from various sources." The lyric in the Yale version are identical to those posted above by Chico-PM. My grandmother had pencilled in another verse that they apparently sang at Doan:
Drink to the health of our chairman so bold;
Drink to the health of these boys young and old;
May we all meet in the Heavenly fold;
Vive la compagnie.
Lynn Rohrbough, of the Cooperative Recreation Service of Delaware, Ohio, published a great many small "campfire sing-along" songbooks, through his Cooperative Song Service. They were very popular with Boy and Girl Scout groups, church groups and international work-camp groups. I have about a dozen of them in my possession and several include "Vive L'Amour." Nowhere, however, have I seen any notations about the origin of the song.