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On Monday Evening as we set sail,
The wind did blow a most pleasant gale,
For to fight the French it was our intent,
Through smoke and fire, through smoke and fire,
And it was a dark and a gloomy night

Now the French were landed on the mountains high,
And we poor souls in the valley lie,
"Never mind, my lads", General Wolfe did say,
"Brave lads of honour, brave lads of honour
Old Eng[e]land she will win the day."

Then the very first broadside we give to them,
We killed seven hundred and fifty men,
"Well done, my lads", General Wolfe did say,
"Brave lads of honour, brave lads of honour
Old Eng[e]land she will win the day."

Then the very first broadside they give to us,
They wounded our general in his right breast,
Then out of his tender breast loving blood did flow,
Like any fountain, like any fountain,
Till all his men were filled with woe.

"Now here's a hundred guineas in bright gold,
Take it and part it for my blood runs cold,
And use your soldiers as you did before,
Your soldiers own, your soldiers own,
And they will fight for evermore.

And when to old Eng[e]land you do return,
Pray tell my friends that I am dead and gone,
Pray tell my tender old mother dear,
That I am dead Oh! that I am dead Oh!
And never shall se her no more"

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Source: Marrowbones, ed. Frank Purslow. EFDS Publications, 1965.

Notes:
Hammond D.529/D.174. Sam Gregory, Beaminster, Dorset, July 1906 and William Bartlett, Wimborne Union, Dorset 1905.

A painting of the death of General Wolfe by Benjamin West, 1770

A short biography of Wolfe (with MP3 of similar song)
Account of the battle in a letter from by Rear-Admiral Charles Holmes, Sept. 18, 1759


The tune given by Frank Purslow in Marrowbones (EFDS Publications, 1965) was noted from Sam Gregory; the text came from William Bartlett (details above). Gregory and Bartlett's tunes (not very dissimilar) and Bartlett's text were printed in The Journal of the Folk Song Society vol.VIII issue 34, 1930. Versions have been found mainly in England (as recently as the late 1960s) and Canada; sometimes in the USA.

There are a good few broadside issues, mainly of the latter half of the 19th century; some of these can be seen at ?  Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, chiefly as Bold General Wolfe or General Wolfe. Of these, several are undated; the oldest of those with a (tentative) date is

General Wolfe Printed 17-- by J. Grundy, Worcester . Harding B 25(716).

Roud: 624 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six
Laws:
Child:



Related Songs:  The Hostess's Daughter [I Sowed Some Seeds] (melodic)

Browse Titles: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z