Friday, December 7, 2012

Boney Was A Warrior




The next time you are playing the British side in a Napoleonic battle, here is a little ditty that your troops can sing before those French start "coming on in the same old way".



Boney was a Warrior
Boney was a warrior
Away, a-yah!
A warrior and a terrier
Jean Francois!

Boney fought the Russians
Away, a-yah!
The Russians and the Prussians.
Jean Francois!

Moscow was a-blazing
Away, a-yah!
And Boney was a-raging.
Jean Francois!

Boney went to Elba
Away, a-yah!
Boney he came back again.
Jean Francois!

Boney went to Waterloo
Away, a-yah!
There he got his overthrow.
Jean Francois!

Then they took him off again
Away, a-yah!
Aboard the Billy Ruffian.
Jean Francois!

He went to Saint Helena,
Away, a-yah!
There he was a prisoner,
Jean Francois!

Boney broke his heart and died
Away, a-yah!
Away in Saint Helena
Jean Francois!

8 comments:

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

First 30 seconds or so....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXPX9FkR9Jk

Ulrich von Boffke said...

Aha! This is what the British troops were shouting out before the battle commenced in the Rod Steiger-Christopher Plummer version of Waterloo (1970). Thank you for solving this mystery, Jim.

Best Regards,

Stokes

joppy said...

Beaten to it by both the above!Although, going of the last few verses, the song must post-date Waterloo?

arthur1815 said...

And, from the rhythm and refrain, it is clearly a sea shanty - not something the 'lobsters' would know or sing!

Der Alte Fritz said...

I wonder if some of the earlier verses were done before Waterloo and the rest of them added after the demise of Napoleon.

joppy said...

a little net search gives - probably written around 1820s in 6/8 time (whatever that is) as a sea shanty. www.shanty.org.uk/archive_songs/boney.ht

one interesting point I discovered about St.Helena while doing this. Zulu king Dinizulu incarcerated there for 7 years in the 1890s!

Michael Mathews said...

The shanty was used to time hoisting the capstan according to my sources. I've seen a few minor variations on it and personally sing a different one, ardent Bonapartist though I am.

John Chadderton said...

There's a modern rock version of "Boney was a Warrior" on Rogue's Gallery - a CD compilation of modern sea shanties and 'pirate' ballads that Johnny Depp had a hand in producing (post-Pirates of the Caribbean). It's performed by an ensemble calling themselves Jack Shit (!) and is describe in the CD notes as a "halyard or fore-sheet chantey". It rocks along pretty well - electric guitars and everything. Almost Punk.