Napoleon's Farewell To Paris (Kenneth Peacock)

Farewell ye splendid citadel,
metropolis called Paris,
Where Phoebus every morning
shot four refulgent beams;
Where Flora's bright aurora
advancing from the horizon,
His radiant light adorning
the clear and shining streams.
That eve when censure does retire
while the ocean glows like fire,
And the universe admires
our merchandise and store;
Commending Flora's fragrance,
the fertile fields to decorate,
To illuminate that royal Corsican
again on the French shore.

My name is Napoleon Bonaparte
the conqueror of nations,
I have banished German legions
and drove kings from their thrones;
I have trampled dukes and earls,
and splendid congregations,
Though they have now transported me
to St Helena's shore.
I am an allied oak, with fire
and sword I've made them smoke.
I have conquered Dutch and Danes,
and surprised the Grand Signor,
I have defeated Austrians and Russians,
both Portuguese and Prussians,
Like Joshua at Alexandria
or Caesar of yore.

Some say the first of my downfall
was parting from my consort,
To wed a German's daughter
that wounded my heart sore;
This female train I ne'er would blame,
for never did she me defame,
She saw my sword in battle
and did me adore.
Now I severely felt the rod
for meddling with the House of God,
Coin and gold and images
in thousands away I tore;
I stole Malta's golden gates,
I did the works of God disgrace,
For if you'll give me time and peace
back to them I'll restore.

My golden eagles were pulled down
by Wellington's allied army;
My troops all in disorder
could no longer stand the field;
I was told that afternoon
upon the eighteenth of June,
My reinforcements proved traitors
which caused me to yield,
Now I'm in on a desert island
where rats the devil would afright,
But I'm in hopes to shine in armor bright
through Europe once more.

Now to the south of Africa
and the Atlantic ocean,
To view the wild emotions
and flowings of the tide;
Banished from the royal crown
of imperial promotion,
From the French throne of glory
to see these billows glide;
Three days I stood the pain,
liberty's cause to maintain,
Thousands I left slain
and covered in their gore;
I never fled without revenge,
nor to the allied armies cringed,
Now my sword is sheathed
and Paris is no more.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a British broadside ballad, Napoleon's Farewell To Paris, published sometime between 1815 and 1821, and archived at the National Library of Scotland, shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(139). Also a variant of a British broadside ballad, Napoleon's Farewell To Paris, published by T Birt (London) between 1833 and 1841, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 11(2602) ....####

Collected in 1952 by Kenneth Peacock from Philip J Foley [1905-1982] of Tilting, Fogo Island, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, pp.1009-1011, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that he doubted if Napoleon's Farewell has been collected from oral tradition before in such a high state of preservation. Having nearly beat the English, Napoleon has almost become an Irish folk hero.

A variant was also published in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland, #133, by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, PA, 1968.)


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