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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV. 1876–79.

Belgium: Oudenarde (Audenarde)

Jack Frenchman’s Lamentation

By Jonathan Swift (1667–1745)

  • In the Dutch accounts of the battle of Oudenarde it is said that the Dukes of Burgundy and Berry, with the Chevalier de St. George, viewed the action at a distance from the top of a steeple, and fled, when the fate of the day turned against the French. Vendome commanded the French upon that occasion.—Scott.

  • YE Commons and Peers,

    Pray lend me your ears,

    I ’ll sing you a song (if I can),

    How Lewis le Grand

    Was put to a stand

    By the arms of our gracious Queen Anne.

    How his army so great

    Had a total defeat,

    And close by the river Dender;

    Where his grandchildren twain,

    For fear of being slain,

    Galloped off with the Popish Pretender.

    To a steeple on high,

    The battle to spy,

    Up mounted these clever young men;

    But when from the spire,

    They saw so much fire,

    Most cleverly came down again.

    Then on horseback they got

    All on the same spot,

    By advice of their cousin Vendosme,

    O Lord! cried out he,

    Unto young Burgundy,

    Would your brother and you were at home!

    While this he did say,

    Without more delay,

    Away the young gentry fled;

    Whose heels for that work

    Were much lighter than cork,

    Though their hearts were as heavy as lead.

    Not so did behave

    Young Hanover brave,

    In this bloody field I assure ye;

    When his war-horse was shot

    He valued it not,

    But fought it on foot like a fury.

    Full firmly he stood,

    As became his high blood,

    Which runs in his veins so blue;

    For this gallant young man,

    Being akin to Queen Anne,

    Did as (were she a man) she would do.

    What a racket was here

    (I think ’t was last year),

    For a little misfortune in Spain!

    For by letting ’em win,

    We have drawn the puts in,

    To lose all they ’re worth this campaign.

    Though Bruges and Ghent

    To Monsieur we lent,

    With interest they shall repay ’em;

    While Paris may sing,

    With her sorrowful king,

    Nunc dimittis instead of Te Deum.

    From this dream of success

    They ’ll awaken, we guess,

    At the sound of great Marlborough’s drums;

    They may think, if they will,

    Of Almanza still,

    But ’t is Blenheim wherever he comes.

    O Lewis perplexed,

    What general next!

    Thou hast hitherto changed in vain;

    He has beat ’em all round,

    If no new one ’s found,

    He shall beat ’em over again.

    We ’ll let Tallard out

    If he ’ll take t’ other bout;

    And much he ’s improved, let me tell ye,

    With Nottingham ale

    At every meal,

    And good beef and pudding in belly.

    But as losers at play

    Their dice throw away,

    While the winners do still win on;

    Let who will command,

    Thou hadst better disband,

    For, old Bully, thy doctors are gone.