Saturday, December 8, 2012

Over the Hills and Far Away

37th Foot at the Battle of Minden in 1759

The 18th Century is back on my mind as we move away from the Napoleonic wars for awhile and get back to more SYW gaming in our group. Our next battle will likely be the battle of Lobositz, fought between the Austrians and Prussians in 1756. The game will be fought over the Christmas holiday. So soon I shall be clearing off the wargame table of AWI terrain and troops and start the "terra-forming" of the Lobositz terrain and the setting out of the Austrian and Prussian troops (hint, hint, pictures to come over the next couple of weeks).

Obviously the picture of the 37th Foot repulsing what look to be the French Carabiniers, and doing it in fine style I might add, has nothing to do with Lobositz, it does fit in nicely with my posting of the words to the song "Over the Hills and Far Away". This has been a popular song for the British soldier of all ages and eras and it would appear to have its origins in the Marlbourian wars, given its references to Queen Anne and Marlbourough himself.

It has always been one of my favorite songs, so here are the words. Sing it the next time you encounter the French -- it is guaranteed to drive them crazy.

Over the Hills and Far Away

Hark! Now the drums beat up again,
For all true soldier gentlemen,
Then let us 'list and march I say,
Over the hills and far away.


Over the hills and o'er the main.
To Flanders, Portugal, and Spain,
Queen Anne commands and we'll obey.
Over the hills and far away.

All gentlemen that have a mind,
To serve the Queen that's good and kind,
Come 'list and enter into pay,
Then over the hills and far away.


Here's forty shillings on the drum,
For those that volunteers do come,
With shirts, and clothes, and present pay,
Then o'er the hills and far away.


No more from sound of drums retreat,
While Marlborough and Galway beat,
The French and Spaniards every day,
When o'er the hills and far away.


The 'prentice Tom he may refuse,
To wipe his angry master's shoes,
For then he's free to sing and play,
Over the hills and far away.


Come on then boys, and you shall see,
We every one shall captains be!
To whore and rant as well as they,
When over the hills and far away.


We then shall lead more happy lives,
By getting rid of brats and wives,
That scold on both the night and day,
When over the hills and far away.



  1. And all this time I've thought it was a Led Zeppelin tune! One learns something new everyday I guess. Thanks!

    Best Regards,


  2. Yes, the tune is from the War of Spanish Succession. 1706 to be exact, when it appeared in George Farquhar's play, "The Recruiting Officer".

    He used a tune (with very different lyrics) from late in the 17th century -- but the "soldier" theme was from Farquhar's play:

    -- Jeff