Henry's Songbook

All original copyrights respected / For private use only

go to  de   Susannes Folksong-Notizen   English Notes  uk

Tunes Of Glory

  • (Pete St. John)

    Sweet Lord, I was seven and Margaret was eleven
    They fed us war for breakfast and soldiers' songs for tea
    Your father's gone campaigning, was their way of not explaining
    That soldiers are the living proof of our inhumanity

    My father said farewell and the band played tunes of glory
    A gallant man he marched away, a man with dignity
    A regimental sergeant, the backbone of the Empire
    For God and righteous glory bound for High Germany

    My childhood passed away amid tales and lurid stories
    Of manufactured glories and inhuman gallantry
    I asked, When is war over, but no one seemed to answer
    And Margaret played the dreaded tune called High Germany

    My father came back home, but he came without his reason
    Two eyes of molten madness, a senseless fool of war
    He's just a child, my mother cried, To be dressed in full regalia
    And paraded as a hero home from High Germany

    (as sung by Iain MacKintosh)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1988:] The front-line soldiers of 1914-18 saw things that people should not see. Among them were hideously wounded men. [...] But what made at least as deep an impression was [...] the persistent presence of the dead. In previous wars battles had lasted a few days at most. [...] But this war was different: combat went on for months; artillery fire dismembered men in a flash; and the front line hardly moved at all. Consequently, the line of trenches stretching from Switzerland to the English Channel was littered with the remains of perhaps one million men. Soldiers ate with the dead, made jokes about them, and rifled their possessions. [...] Those buried would reappear during bombardments, and be reinterred, at times to help support, quite literally, the trenches in which they had fought. Many soldiers recalled the stench of decomposition, and the swarms of flies on corpses [...]. Everyone execrated the rats. It is difficult to imagine the nature of this ghastly environment.

    [The] war in the trenches was terrifyingly new. Not only were there the innovations in weaponry but also the unprecedented degree of stress faced by hundreds of thousands of men. [...]

    But where could a soldier go when he had reached the limits of his endurance at Verdun or Passchendaele? It is true that most soldiers saw limited and intermittent duty in the trenches, but eight days could last a lifetime. And the fact of prior experience may not have made it any easier [...]. What is most remarkable is not that some broke under the strain, but that so many did not. Their resilience is one of the mysteries of the war. [...]

    The horrors of trench warfare also combined to produce a debilitating illness that had not previously been described. Called shell shock, it was only gradually accepted as a psychological condition. Sufferers became hysterical, disorientated, were paralyzed, or ceased to obey orders and had to be hospitalized away from the front. (J. M. Winter, The Experience of World War I, 145ff)

  • [1989:] This song portrays war as seen through the eyes of a child, and how the horrors of war permeate family life. (Notes Arthur Johnstone, 'North By North')

  • [1991:] Learnt from Glasgow pal Arthur Johnstone. (Notes Iain MacKintosh, 'Just My Cup of Tea')

  • [1998:] Why did these soldiers persist in fighting for no admirable end? How did ordinary soldiers find the strength to keep it up and to believe that their agonies served some higher purpose? That the war constituted wicked folly is obvious now. (Paul Fussell, review of 'The First World War' by John Keegan, Observer, 4 Oct)

Quelle: Ireland

go back de  T-Index uk

 Sammlung : Susanne Kalweit (Kiel)
Layout : Henry Kochlin  (Schwerin)

aktualisiert am 08.05.2002