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Russian Napoleonic ballads translated to English


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GUEST,Eoin O'Buadhaigh 23 Aug 15 - 11:01 AM
cnd 23 Aug 15 - 03:06 PM
Joe Offer 23 Aug 15 - 05:28 PM
Joe Offer 23 Aug 15 - 08:07 PM
GUEST,leeneia 24 Aug 15 - 05:24 PM
GUEST,Eoin O'Buadhaigh 25 Aug 15 - 08:18 AM
Joe Offer 25 Aug 15 - 05:58 PM
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Subject: Napoleonic ballads translated to English
From: GUEST,Eoin O'Buadhaigh
Date: 23 Aug 15 - 11:01 AM

I am looking for Russian ballads on Napoleon that have been translated into English. I am giving a talk soon on Napoleon Ballads and would like to have the Russian perspective on The Retreat of Napoleon from Russia (and any other Russian/Napoleon ballads)
Can anyone who knows where I can find such books please let me know.A Russian friend has sent me recorded clips but in Russian, wont do I'm afraid.

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Subject: RE: Napoleonic ballads translated to English
From: cnd
Date: 23 Aug 15 - 03:06 PM

Here is a long book about Napoleanic ballads, but at a brief glance, they all appear to be of the other side's view.

Historical & Legendary Ballads & Songs by Walter Thornbury, p. 222

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Subject: RE: Napoleonic ballads translated to English
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Aug 15 - 05:28 PM

Interesting topic, Eoin. I hope you get some answers. Take a look atIt's a British broadside, but it certainly tells the story from a pro-Russian perspective.

Bonaparte's Disasters in Russia.

TUNE?" Green grows the Rashes O"

LET suff'ring Europe lift her head,
Proud Bonaparte is humbled now,
His routed legions fleeing are,
Before brave Gen'ral Kutusow.
Three hundred thousand Conscript Youths
The base Usurper forc'd from home,
And march'd them many hundred. miles
To spoil the Russians of their own.
Now let us pray that soon we'll see
Of meek-ey'd Peace the cheering ray,
And that the direful strife of War
May cease till Earth dissolves away!

But Russia's hardy Sons resolv'd
To save their Country, or to die,
And arm'd themselves. like Patriots,
To meet their haughty Enemy.
The Russian King to Britain look'd
For counsel, which he'd act upon,
And campaign plans were soon laid down
by gallant Gen'ral Wellington.
Now let us pray, &c.

The Tyrant, with his hosts, advanc'd.'
While vict'ry on him seem'd to flow ;
Tho twenty thousand men he lost,
Before the town of Smolensko.
The Russians, faithful to their plans,
Allowe'd him farther on to go.
Until a bloody check he got,
At the battle of Borodino.
Now let us pray, &c.

Three days that battle's fury rag'd,
At length his weaken'd ranks recoil,
And forty thousand of his men
Lay bleeding on the Russian soil.
But being quickly re-enforced.
He straight to Moscow bent his way;
The Russians, weaken'd by their loss,
Could not well then his progress stay.
Now let us pray. &c.

But still resolv'd he should not get
Muscow in all its ancient pride,
They burn'd it to the ground and left
A heap of calcin'd ruins wide
Of winter quarters thus depriv'd.
The Corsican was fairly foil'd,
For no resource he now had left,
But to steal back thro' dreary wilds.
Now let us pray, &c.

The bitter Russian winter cold
With icy fangs held all things fast.
Whilst robust Natives keep the field,
Regardless of the northern blast.         
O! hapless men! Thy Despot doom'd
To wander through the Russias, drear,
Or perish in the chilling snows,
Far, far from home, and all that's dear!
Now let us pray, &c.

The mis'ries that are falling on
The humbled Tyrant's wretched crew,
Distress the feeling heart, to tell,
And nature sickens at the view!
His horse, in thousands, daily die!
His men their lives to hunger yield!
Or, quite benumb'd with polar frost,
Expire upon the snow-clad field!
Now let us pray, &c.

The roads are strew'd with waggons, guns,
And implements that war do wage,
And slaughter'd men - a wretched prey
To Cossacs' unrelenting rage!
To Poland bleak, he shap'd his course,
Close hunted by the Cossac band;
Who nobly strove to cut him off,
And to arrest his bloody hand.
Now let us pray, &c.

But, in disguise and sad dismay,
The Galic Chief to Paris fled,
Unmindful of the wretched men.
He,d onward to destruction led.
His num'rous army, once so gay,
In captive chains now long may pine,
And linger out a joyless life,
Within Siberis's barren clime.
Now let us pray, &c.

O, Bonaparte, thou greatest scourge
That Europe s nations ever saw,
Thy wicked reign seems nigh an end,
A reign that spurn'd at ev'ry law!
The waste of human life thou'st made,
The Widows and the Orphans, too,
Thy mem'ry's bloody stain shall stand,
A stain time cannot blot from view !
Now let us pray, &c.

J. Morren, printer

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Subject: ADD: My Uncle (Napoleonic Poem)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Aug 15 - 08:07 PM

This doesn't have much to do with the request, but I came across it and it was too good not to post.

(Napoleon III)

Who gave to France her liberty,
And all the many blessings she
Enjoys (of course including me)?
                           My Uncle!

Who taught that all were made for one
And blood of millions caused to run
For—p'r'aps the best expression's—fun?
                           My Uncle!

Who shot young Enghien in a ditch,
To bone his lands and chattels—which
He left his nephew to enrich?
                           My Uncle!

Who when his troops at Jaffa lay
Proposed to poison such, they say,
As being sick were in the way?
                           My Uncle!

Who for a second wife inclined,
Said his first marriage didn't bind—
(A dodge I mean to bear in mind)?
                           My Uncle!

Who with a mind extremely great,
Used to decide affairs of state
By cards and Fairburn's Book of Fate?
                           My Uncle!

Who took eight hundred thousand men
To starve and freeze in Russia; then,
Leaving them there came home again?
                           My Uncle!

Who taught me how to gag the press,
And soap the army to excess,
To get me out of any mess?
                           My Uncle!

Whose precepts taught me as I grew,
To govern France from whom I knew,
In short how easy 'twas to do?
                           My Uncle!

Source: The Napoleon Ballads: The Poetical Works of Louis Napoleon, by Sir Theodore Martin & Napoleon III (Emperor of the French), G.P. Putnam, 1852, pages 31-32

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Subject: RE: Russian Napoleonic ballads translated to English
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 24 Aug 15 - 05:24 PM

Thanks, Joe. Too often we lose sight of the suffering and destruction that so-called conquerers have brought upon the world.

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Subject: RE: Russian Napoleonic ballads translated to English
From: GUEST,Eoin O'Buadhaigh
Date: 25 Aug 15 - 08:18 AM

Thanks Joe, 'Bonaparte's Disasters in Russia' I was able to print it out, I have half of that ballad in Peter Wood's newly published book, 'The Green Linnet'
It is good to have the complete version so I can work from it during my talk on the retreat from Russia.
I have also just bought the Napoleon Ballads, (The Poetical works of Louis Napoleon) again many thanks for pointing me in the right direction.
I contacted a friend in Russia who sent me clips of Russian Ballads regarding the 1812 retreat but alas in Russian.
I think that with all I have collected over the years and this information you have provided I have enough to work on.
Once again many thanks.

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Subject: RE: Russian Napoleonic ballads translated to English
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Aug 15 - 05:58 PM

All the Napoleon songs I know, I learned from Dick Holdstock, so I sent this question on to Dick. He didn't know of any Russian ballads about Napoleon. But, as usual, his answer was interesting:

    I am not aware of any traditional songs about Napoleon Bonaparte that were originally written in Russian and later translated to English. Good point, though - there must be plenty. It was a rather important issue in Russia at the time. We know there are numerous traditional songs and broadside ballads written at the time in the British Isles, that were pro Napoleon. Naturally there are an equal if not greater number of anti Napoleon songs. During the last 2 or 3 decades there have been a few songs written dealing with the issues of the Napoleonic wars that come close to furthering what might be a Russian view of the times.

    Another very much to the point song is called "Bonny's Escape", This is from a broadside Ballad, that was cleaned up and sung by several others as well as me with the name "Warlike Lads of Russia." I can not remember the names of all the recently written songs that I like but one of the best is "Done With Bonaparte" sung by Niamh Parsons on Hearts Desire.

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