drum horn

The NWC Songbook

Join us in celebrating the music popular with soldiers of the early 19th Century and (Ta-Da!) songs created and adapted by members of the NWC. Press the button with a musical notation to hear a MIDI rendition of the tune. Translations of non-English lyrics are my own, with apologies to native speakers of the respective languages!

This famous ballad of soldierly misconduct takes its title from the garrison town of Garryowen, near Limerick in Ireland. The 5th Royal Irish Lancers quartered there apparently made an impression on Thomas Moore, who wrote the lyrics in 1807, set to the 1788 tune Auld Bessy. This song later became the anthem of Custer's U.S. 7th Cavalry, and by extension the symbol of cavalrymen everywhere.



Let Bacchus' sons be not dismayed,
But join with me, each jovial blade,
Come, drink and sing and lend your aid
To help me with the chorus:

Garryowen (bagpipes)

Instead of Spa, we'll drink brown ale,
And pay the reckoning on the nail;
No man for debt shall go to jail
Garryowen (bagpipes, version 2) From Garryowen in glory!

We'll beat the Bailiffs out of fun,
We'll make the Mayor and Sheriffs run!
Bagpipes We are the boys no man dares dun
If he regards a whole skin!


Our hearts so stout have got us fame,
For soon 'tis known from whence we came,
Where'er we go they fear the name
Of Garryowen in glory!


This 1794 song long outlived the Republic whose defenders it sought to inspire, and became an eternal anthem of the solidarity of the French people with their soldiers.

Le Chant du Départ

Le Chant du Départ

Un Député du Peuple:

La victoire en chantant
Nous ouvre la carrière,
La liberté guide nos pas.
Et du Nord au Midi
La trompette guerrière
A sonné l'heure des combats.
Tremblez, ennemis de la France,
Rois ivres de sang et d'orgueil,
Le peuple souverain s'avance,
Tyrans, descendez au cercueil!

La République nous appelle;
Sachons vaincre ou sachons mourir.
Un Français doit vivre pour Elle;
Pour Elle, un Français doit mourir.
Un Français doit vivre pour Elle;
Pour Elle, un Français doit mourir.

Une Mère:

De nos yeux maternels
Ne craignez point les larmes.
Loin de nous de lâches douleurs!
Nous devons triompher.
Quand vous prenez les armes,
C'est aux rois de verser des pleurs.
Nous vous avons donné la vie;
Guerriers, elle n'est plus à vous.
Tous vos jours sont à la patrie;
Elle est votre mère avant tout.


French Drummer's Shako

Un vieillard:

Que le fer paternel
Arme la main des braves.
Songez à nous au champ de Mars;
Consacrez, dans le sang
Des rois et des esclaves
Le fer béni par vos vieillards.
Et rapportant sous la chaumière
Des blessures et des vertus,
Venez fermez notre paupière
Quand les tyrans ne seront plus!


Un enfant:

De Barra, de Viala,
Le sort nous fair envie;
Ils sont morts, mais ils ont vaincus.
Le lâche acablé d'ans
N'a pas connu la vie!
Qui meurt pour le peuple a vécu!
Vous êtes vaillants, nous le sommes;
Guidez-nous contre les tyrans.
Les républicains sont des hommes,
Les esclaves sont des enfants.


Une épouse:

Partez, vaillants époux,
Les combats sont vos fêtes.
Partez, modèles de guerriers,
Nous cueillerons des fleurs
Pour en ceindre vos têtes.
Nos mains tresseront vos lauriers,
Et si le temple de mémoire
S'ouvrait à vos mânes vainqueurs,
Nos voix chanteront votre gloire,
Nos flancs porteront vos vengeurs!


Une jeune fille:

Et nous, soeurs des héros,
Nous qui, de l'hyménée,
Ignorons les aimables noeuds,
Si, pour s'unir un jour
À notre déstinée
Les citoyens forment des voeux:
Qu'ils reviennent dans nos murailles
Beaux de gloire et de liberté,
Et que leur sang dans les batailles
Ait coulé pour l'égalité!


Un guerrier:

French Infantry, 1796

Sur le fer, devant Dieu,
Nous jurons à nos pères,
À nos épouses, à nos soeurs,
À nos représentants,
À nos fils, à nos mères,
D'anéantir les oppresseurs,
En tous lieux; dans la nuit profonde
Plongeant l'infâme royauté,
Les français donneront au monde
Et la Paix, et la Liberté!


A representative of the people:

Victory, singing,
Opens us a path,
Liberty guides our steps.
And from the North to the South
The warlike trumpet
Has announced the time for battle.
Tremble, enemies of France,
Kings drunk with blood and arrogance,
The sovereign people advance;
Tyrants, down to your tomb!

The Republic calls us;
We must know how to conquer, or how to die.
A Frenchman must live for Her,
For Her, a Frenchman would die.
A Frenchman must live for Her,
For Her, a Frenchman would die!

A mother:

Do not fear to spill the tears
Of our maternal eyes.
Far from us, cowardly sorrows!
Our cause must triumph.
When you take up your arms,
It's the kings who will be weeping.
We gave you life;
Warriors, it belongs not to you.
All your days are owed to your country;
She is your mother above all.


An old man:

May thy fathers' steel
Arm the hands of the brave.
Think of us in the arena of Mars;
Consecrate, in the blood
Of kings and slaves,
The steel blessed by your ancestors.
And, returning to their hearth
Covered with wounds and virtues,
Come close our dying eyes
When the tyrants have been destroyed!


A child:

The fate of Barra, of Viala
Is the future we crave.
They died, but they conquered.
A coward laden with years
Has never known life!
He who dies for the people, has lived.
Lead us against the tyrants.
Republicans are men,
Slaves are but children.


A bride:

Go, valiant husbands,
Battle will be your celebration.
Go, model warriors,
We will gather flowers
To engarland your heads.
Our hands will weave your laurels;
And if the temple of memory
Opens for your conquering spirits,
Our voices will sing your glory,
Our bellies will carry your avengers!


A girl:

And we, sisters of heroes,
We who know not yet
The bridal bed's delights;
If someday you citizens hope
To link your destinies to ours:
May you return among our walls
Shining with glory and liberty,
And may your blood in battle
Have flowed for equality!


A warrior:

French Infantry 1789-96

On this steel, before God,
We swear to our fathers,
To our wives, to our sisters,
To our representatives,
To our sons, to our mothers,
To annihilate the oppressors
In every place; into eternal night
Plunging infamous Royalty,
Frenchman will give to the world
Both Peace, and Liberty!



Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, acclaimed author of Faust and other crown jewels of German literature, wrote this drinking song in 1810. Set to music by Max Eberwein in 1813, it celebrates not only the joys of potable spirits, but in the fourth verse offers a vision of a glorious future for Germany to be attained at the conclusion of the Befreiungskrieg.

Voilà un homme!
(That is a Man!)

Napoleon, after meeting Goethe

Ergo Bibamus

Ergo Bibamus

Hier sind wir versammelt zu löblichen Tun,
Drum Brüderchen, ergo bibamus!
Die Gläser, sie klingen, Gespräche, sie ruhn;
Beherziget: ergo bibamus!
Das heißt noch ein altes, ein tüchtiges Wort,
Und passet zum ersten und passet sofort
Und schallet ein Echo, vom festlichen Ort,
Ein herrliches: ergo bibamus!
Ein herrliches: ergo bibamus!

Ich hatte mein freundliches Liebchen gesehn,
Da dach ich mir: Ergo bibamus!
Und nahte mich traulich, da ließ sie mich stehn,
Ich half mir und dachte: Bibamus!
Und wenn sie versöhnet euch herzet und küßt,
Und wenn ihr das Herzen und Küßen vermißt,
So bleibet nur, bis ihr was besseres wißt,
Beim tröstlichen Ergo bibamus!
Beim tröstlichen Ergo bibamus!

Mich ruft mein Geschick von den Freunden hinweg;
Ihr Redlichen, ergo bibamus!
Ich scheide von hinnen mit leichten Gepäck,
Drum doppeltes: ergo bibamus!
Und was auch der Filz vom Leibe sich schmorgt,
So bleibt für den Heitern doch immer gesorgt,
Weil immer dem Frohen der Fröhliche borgt:
Drum, Brüderchen: ergo bibamus!
Drum, Brüderchen: ergo bibamus!

Was sollen wir sagen zum heutigen Tag?
Ich dächte nur: ergo bibamus!
Er ist nun einmal von besonderem Schlag,
Drum immer aufs neue: bibamus!
Er führet die Freunde durchs offene Tor,
Es glänzen die Wolken, es teilt sich der Flor,
Da leuchtet ein Bildchen, ein göttliches vor,
Wir klingen und singen: bibamus!
Wir klingen und singen: bibamus!

Therefore We Drink!

Here be we gathered in a worthy cause,
Therefore, little brother, ergo bibamus!
The glasses clink, the talk grows warm;
Say a heartfelt: ergo bibamus!
Call forth an old, a fitting phrase,
That suited of old and suits us now,
And raise an echo through the jolly old town,
A splendid: ergo bibamus!

I went to my lovely darling,
She said to me: Ergo bibamus!
As she snuggled closer to keep me beside her,
I thought yet again: bibamus!
When hearts are in harmony and kissing reigns,
Or when hearts and kisses are gone,
One can always find good refuge
In a comforting Ergo bibamus!
In a comforting Ergo bibamus!

My friend tells me all I need to know,
In his forthright, ergo bibamus!
I depart on my way unburdened by care,
Therefore say again: ergo bibamus!
And if you would bitterness drain from your being,
No matter how heavy and constant your woes,
Ever borrow the joyful way of the happy:
Therefore, little brother: ergo bibamus!

What ought we to say in the present day?
Why, only: ergo bibamus!
It is now the time for extraordinary doings,
Therefore we say anew: ergo bibamus!
Onward, friends, through the open door,
The sky shines bright on every flower,
O bright picture of a glorious time,
We clink glasses and sing: bibamus!

And now, one of the songs adapted by Neil Henderson, whose leadership of the "Fighting Sixth" British Division should stand as an inspiration for the entire NWC:

Take up the Shilling

Take Up the Shilling/Wait for the Waggon

Song traditional English. "Wait for the Waggon"
Words by Brigadier-General "Waffles" Henderson
Commander, VI British Division

English Coin 1791

So take up the shilling,
Who will take the shilling?
Bold hearts are willing
And we'll all be free!
Take up the shilling,
Jolly silver shilling,
To the battle thrilling
And we'll all be free!

Strike up the drum,
Colour Bearer Come, boys, come!
Hark to the sound,
Wave the standards round.
Gaily we sing,
Who will serve his King?
Brave Britons all,
Who will heed the call?


Strike up the fife!
We live a hero's life,
Red coat and gun,
See the Frenchman run!
When we are there,
Then let the maids beware!
Honour, glory, fame,
All in Britannia's name!

(Chorus x2)

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