This ballad begins: 'LET Suff'ring Europe lift her head, / Proud Bonaparte is humbled now, / His routed legions fleeing are, / Before brave Gen'ral Kutusow.' A note below the title states that the ballad should be sung to the tune of 'Green grow the Rashes O', which was written by Robert Burns in 1783. The sheet was published in 1812 by J. Morren of Edinburgh.
Napoleon Bonaparte's (1769-1821) epic retreat from Moscow during the Russian winter of 1812 led to much rejoicing in many European countries, and this ballad is dedicated to the fighting qualities of General Kutusov's (1745-1813) pursuing Russian Army. Following the dreadful Battle of Borodino in September 1812, Napoleon reached Moscow, only to find a virtually deserted city. Unable to march on St Petersburg due to the poor condition of his soldiers, he tried to reach a peace settlement with Tsar Alexander I. Unable to reach an agreement due to his vulnerable position, Napoleon had no option but to commence his famous retreat.
Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.
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1812 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(027)
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