Thursday, 22 October 2009

A soldier's farewell to his mother

What is the English title of the old song known to the French as Les adieux du soldat?

It goes:
C'est l'adieu, petite mère
De ton gars qui va partir
Il prévoit la peine amère
Que ton coeur devra souffrir
Mais je sais que ta vaillance
Portera ce gros chagrin
Mets en Dieu ta confiance
Pour garder ton benjamin

...and was originally a poem by Eben E Rexford set to music by Hart Pease Danks in 1872; it has been sung from that day to this by hundreds of tenors and barbershop quartets, and is still a popular peace anthem in Sweden as Varför skola människor strida? (Why do men fight?)

You may think you don't know the tune, but you do, you do. I shall remind you of the English title next week.

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