The British Grenadiers
Something for the weekend. I have always found this tune to be catchy, even though more than a few of my ancestors fought against British Grenadiers! In the Seventeenth and early Eighteenth centuries a grenadier was a soldier who carried little bombs, think stereotypical black anarchist bombs, and threw them at enemy positions, often in sieges. The bombs eventually fell out of military use, until they were revived in the hand grenades of the Twentieth century. However grenadiers, the tallest and strongest men in a regiment, were still usually grouped together into an elite company and were often held in reserve until their use was needed to turn the tide of a battle. Whole regiments of grenadiers, most notably in the Royal Army the Grenadier Guards, were sometimes formed. The song The British Grenadiers is a fitting tribute to those men who were often involved in fighting of the most desperate sort.
Some talk of Alexander, and some of Hercules
Of Hector and Lysander, and such great names as these.
But of all the world’s great heroes, there’s none that can compare.
With a tow, row, row, row, row, row, to the British Grenadiers.
Those heroes of antiquity ne’er saw a cannon ball,
Or knew the force of powder to slay their foes withal.
But our brave boys do know it, and banish all their fears,
Sing tow, row, row, row, row, row, for the British Grenadiers.
Whene’er we are commanded to storm the palisades,
Our leaders march with fusees, and we with hand grenades.
We throw them from the glacis, about the enemies’ ears.
Sing tow, row, row, row, row, row, the British Grenadiers.
And when the siege is over, we to the town repair.
The townsmen cry, “Hurrah, boys, here comes a Grenadier!
Here come the Grenadiers, my boys, who know no doubts or fears!
Then sing tow, row, row, row, row, row, the British Grenadiers.
Then let us fill a bumper, and drink a health to those
Who carry caps and pouches, and wear the loupèd clothes.
May they and their commanders live happy all their years.
With a tow, row, row, row, row, row, for the British Grenadiers.