Digital Tradition Mirror

The Heights of Alma

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The Heights of Alma

Ye loyal Britons, pray give ear
Unto the news I bring you here
While joy each Briton's heart doth cheer
For the vict'ry gained at Alma
     'Twas on September the eighteenth day
     In spite of dashing salt sea spray,
     We landed safe in the Crimea
     Upon our route for Alma.

All night we lay on the cold ground,
Neither tent or shelter to be found,
And with the rain were nearly drowned
To cheer us for the Alma.
Next morn a burning sun did rise
Above the darkling eastern skies,
Our gallant chief, Lord Raglan, cries,
"Prepare to march for Alma."

But when the Alma came in view,
The stoutest heart it would subdue
To see that Russian motley crew
Upon the heights of Alma.
They were so strongly fortified
With batteries on the mountain side,
Our general viewed the forts and cried,
"There'll be hot work at Alma."

The  shot and shell it fell like rain
While we the batteries strove to gain,
And many's hero then was slain
Upon the heights of Alma.
The Thirty-thirds and Fusiliers,
They stormed the heights with rousing cheers,
While "Faugh-s-ballagh [1]" rent our wars
From Hibernia's sons at Alma.

The Highland lads wi' kilt and hose,
They were not last, you may suppose,
They boldly faced the Russian foes
And gained the heights of Alma,
And when the heights we did command,
We fought the Russians hand to hand,
But the Russian bear he could not stand
Our bayonet charge at Alma.

Their guns and knapsacks they threw  down,
They ran like  hares before the hound,
While "Vive l'Empereur" did resound
From the sons of France at Alma,
But though the battle we have got
And gallantly our heroes fought,
Yet dearly was the victory bought,
For thousands died at Alma.

To Sebastopol our troops have gone,
And you shall hear it before long,
The fort will fall,  were it twice as strong
We'll have revenge at Alma.
From orphans' eyes the tears do roll,
And never a widow can control
Or staunch the streams of blood that stole
From thousands slain at Alma.

Many a purty girl may mourn
For her lover that will ne'er return,
By cruel war he's from her torn,
His body lies at Alma.
Then Britain's sons may well remember
Every twentieth of September
When we made the Russian bear surrender,
And gained the heights of Alma.

[1] Faugh-a-ballagh! = Clear the way! The unofficial motto of the
     Royal Irish Fusileers, who were nicknamed the "Old Fogs" as
     a consequence. RG

From Songs of the People, Henry
DT #394
Laws J10

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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