Mudcat Café message #563889 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #22617   Message #563889
Posted By: Joe Offer
02-Oct-01 - 09:56 PM
Thread Name: Origin: High Germany
Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index.
-Joe Offer-

High Germany (I)

DESCRIPTION: Young man, conscripted into the war in Germany, bids his sweetheart come with him. She demurs, saying she is not fit for war. He offers to buy her a horse, and also to marry her by and by. She laments the war (and/or her pregnancy)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1830 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(2899))
KEYWORDS: love war soldier
1714 - Hannoverian succession causes Britain to become involved in German wars
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South),Scotland(Aber)) Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (8 citations):
GreigDuncan1 96, "High Germany" (14 texts, 11 tunes)
Sharp-100E 56, "High Germany" (1 text, 1 tune)
Reeves-Sharp 43, "High Germany" (2 texts)
Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 447, "In High Germany" (1 text)
Peacock, pp. 679-680, "High Germany" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 279, "High Germany" (1 text)
BBI, ZN3231, "O cursed be the wars that ever they began" (?)

Roud #904
Jim Bennett, "High Germany" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]
Phoebe Smith, "Higher Germany" (on PhSmith01, HiddenE)

Bodleian, Harding B 11(2899), "High Germany" ("O Polly love, O Polly love, the rout it is begun"), T. Birt (London), 1828-1829; also Harding B 11(1536), Harding B 17(127b), Firth c.14(154), Harding B 25(836), Firth c.26(222)[some words illegible], Harding B 11(829), "[The] High Germany"
cf. "Jack Monroe" [Laws N7]
cf. "William and Nancy I" [Laws N8]
cf. "The Banks of the Nile (Men's Clothing I'll Put On II)" [Laws N9]
cf. "The Manchester Angel"
cf. "Across the Blue Mountain" (floating lyrics)
cf. "The Wars o' Germanie" (lyrics, theme)
cf. "In Low Germanie" (lyrics, theme)
cf. "High Germany (II)" (subject)
The Wars of Germany
High Germanie
NOTES: Sharp cites a date of c. 1780 for this song. That the current forms of the song date from the eighteenth century is almost a historical necessity. The Hannoverian Succession (1714) brought a German prince to the British throne, meaning that English troops might be sent to intervene in German affairs. British interest in Germany ended when Napoleon rebuilt the Holy Roman Empire on his own terms, leaving the Hannoverian princes out of the picture.
This was reinforced a few years later, when King William IV died (1837). William's heir under English law was his niece Victoria, but Hannoverian law did not permit a female succession, so the throne of Hannover fell to Victoria's uncle Ernest. And, of course, Hannover, like the rest of Germany, was absorbed by Prussian in the 1860s and 1870s.
It's also worth noting that, by the nineteenth century, it was common for the wives of British soldiers to accompany them; the army actually made allowance for a certain number of wives per regiment.
In at least one of these cases, that of Fanny Dubberly, she even took a part in the fighting: At Gwalior, India (1858?), cavalrymen of the Eighth Hussars started a charge at the Indian mutineers. Mrs. Dubberly's horse was nearby and joined the charge (without her husband!). It's not clear what she would have done had she caught anyone, since she wasn't really a soldier -- but she did add weight of numbers to the charge. - RBW
Last updated in version 2.7
File: ShH56

High Germany (II)

DESCRIPTION: A soldier has been called up and must leave his pregnant sweetheart. She would follow him "through France, Spain and even Ireland." He warns of the hardships and that her parents will be angry. She insists. He agrees to take her and will marry her first.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1839 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(3897))
KEYWORDS: love marriage request army war parting pregnancy France Ireland Spain lover soldier
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Reeves-Circle 64, "High Germany" (1 text)
Roud #1445
Bodleian, Harding B 11(3897), "The True Lovers" or "The King's Commands Must Be Obey'd" ("Abroad as I was walking alone"), J. Catnach (London), 1813-1838; also Harding B 15(335b), Harding B 11(3898), 2806 c.18(317), "The True Lovers" or "The King's Commands Must Be Obey'd"; Harding B 15(161b), "The King's Commands Must Be Obeyed" or "The True Lovers"
NOTES: There is no statement here about cross-dressing but she "will go For to fight ... [any] daring foe." - BS
The two songs we index as "High Germany" both involve soldiers leaving sweethearts, and I suspect they frequently mix. I will not guarantee that all versions are properly filed. Roud seems to have a few confused versions, too. A characteristic of this song is that it usually starts with a line such as "Abroad as I was walking, and a-walking alone"; the other opens with lines such as "O Polly, dear Polly, the rout it is begun" or "Busk, my bonnie Betsy, busk, and buckle braw" or "O, cursed be the wars love that ever they began." And, yes, I know that's not much to go on! - RBW
Last updated in version 2.7
File: ReCi064

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