DESCRIPTION: French language: "Malbrouck s'en va-t-en dguere-re/Marlborough he's gone to war." Marlborough is slow in returning home; he is dead and in his tomb. Details of his funeral are given
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1896 (Trebucq)
KEYWORDS: foreignlanguage nobility death burial funeral
1650-1722 - Life of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
1701-1714 - War of the Spanish Succession, pitting France and Spain against Britain, Austria, and many smaller nations. Marlborough made a reputation by winning the battles of Blenheim (1704), Ramillies (1706), and Oudenarde (1708) (he fought a draw at Malplaquet in 1709)
FOUND IN: France
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Kennedy 108, "Malbrouck" (1 text, 1 tune)
Chase, pp. 202-205, "Molly Brooks" (1 tune plus dance figures)
Fuld-WFM, pp. 231-233, "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow -- (Malbrouk -- We Won't Go Home till Morning! -- The Bear Went over the Mountain)
George Borrow, _Romano Lavo-Lil: Word-Book of the Romany or English Gypsy Language_, 1874 (references are to the 2011? Lost Library reprint), pp. 164-169, "Malbrun," "Malbrouk" (1 text plus a a translation from a Spanish Gypsy text, presumably this although not clearly identified)

cf. "We Won't Go Home Until Morning" (tune) and references there
cf. "The Duke of Marlborough" (subject: The Duke of Marlborough)
NOTES [231 words]: For the history of this tune, see the entry on "We Won't Go Home Until Morning."
It should be noted that this song has nothing to do with the historical Marlborough, although Ruth Dudley Edwards, The Seven: The Lives and Legacies of the Founding Fathers of the Irish Republic, Oneworld Books, 2016, p. 155 note, says that it was based on a false report that Marlborough was killed in the Battle of Malplaquet in 1709. She adds that it supposedly was brought to Ireland by Thomas MacDonagh, one of the Irish revolutionaries on 1916.
According to William J. Entwistle, European Balladry, Oxford University Press, 1939; corrected second impression with a new prefatory note 1951, p. 53, "A simple instance of migration [of a tune from country to country] is Marlbrough s'en va en guerre. The tune may come from a seventeenth-century hunting song, but it suddenly sprang into popularity in 1781 through being taken up by the Dauphin's nurse and taken up by Marie Antoinette. It spread abroad so rapidly that Goethe heard it almost everywhere on the road to Naples." Entwistle goes on to mention French and German versions that differ by just one note, plus a Catalan version with more extensive changes.
Chase describes "Molly Brooks" as an American "wearing-down" of Marlborough. Hence the classification of his dance piece here rather than under one of the other Malbrouck tunes. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.0
File: K108

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.