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The Mountains Adieu

[ Roud 1719 ; VWML RoudFS/S149419 ; trad.]

Henry Hills of Lodsworth, Sussex, sang It's of a Young Soldier to W. Percy Merrick in January 1900. This was printed in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society 1 (1901) p.106. Merrick noted:

Mr Hills says he learnt this song from a carter at Lodsworth many years ago. I cannot tell from his pronunciation whether to write ‘The Mount of the Dew’ or ‘The Mount of Adieu’.

And F.K. (Frank Kidson?) noted:

If, as is probable, the words relate to an engagement where General Baird was commander, it is most likely to have been the battle of Coruña in 1808. It have not met with the ballad or tune before.

George Deacon sang The Mountains Adieu on his and Marion Ross' Transatlantic album Sounding Now. The album's liner notes commented:

The battle this song describes is difficult to place although Corunna has been suggested as the most likely. A more complete text would perhaps explain things more fully but sadly none has survived.

The Claque sang The Mountains Adieu in 2008 on their WildGoose CD Sounding Now. They noted:

The Mountains Adieu is from the Peninsular Wars and was learned from the singing of George Deacon. It questions the ideal of the righteous causes of war when even God’s protected hit the dust at the hands of the French. Al Murray would not approve!

Lyrics

Henry Hills sing It's of a Young Soldier The Claque sing The Mountains Adieu

It's of a young soldier, a letter did write
Unto his own true-love, his own heart's delight;
And as soon as she saw it the writing she knew
Came from her own true love at the Mount of the Dew.

Why, it's of a young soldier, a letter did write
All to his own true love, his own heart's delight.
And when that she saw it the writing she knew
Came from her own true love on the mountains adieu.

You'll see we young go climbing the wall,
And they dare not touch us with their cannon ball;
The shots from our batteries, line grape shot they flew,
Killed numbers of Frenchmen at the Mount of the Dew.

Why, to see we young soldiers going over the wall
And they cannot touch us with their cannon ball.
Why, the ball from our guns, lass, like grape shot they flew,
Killing many a Frenchman on the mountains adieu.

To see we bold soldiers march down the wall side,
And they dare not touch us, for God was our guide;
And as soon as he spoke, down dead he did fall,
He came by his death by a French cannon ball.

Why, to see we young soldiers going down the hillside
And they cannot touch us for God is our guide.
But as soon as he said this, down dead he did fall,
Slain there on the mountain by a French cannon ball.

General Bair, our commander, all the rest of the fight,
From five in the morning till ten that same night,.
We so bold advanced, our hearts was so true,
We spared women and children at the Mount of the Dew.

General Baird, our commander for the rest of the fight,
From ten in the morning till the fall of the night
We have taken the Frenchmen but our hearts were they true,
We spared women and children on the mountains adieu.