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Poem by Robert Southey
The March to Moscow
THE EMPEROR NAP he would set off On a summer excursion to Moscow: The fields were green, and the sky was blue, Morbleu! Parbleu! What a pleasant excursion to Moscow! Four hundred thousand men and more Must go with him to Moscow; There were marshals by the dozen, And dukes by the score; Princes a few, and kings one or two. While the fields are so green, and the sky so blue, Morbleu! Parbleu! What a pleasant excursion to Moscow! There was Junot and Augereau, Heigh-ho for Moscow! Dombrowsky and Poniatowsky, Marshal Ney, lack-a-day! General Rapp, and the Emperor Nap; Nothing would do, While the fields were so green, and the sky so blue, Morbleu! Parbleu! Nothing would do For the whole of this crew, But they must be marching to Moscow. The Emperor Nap he talked so big That he frightened Mr. Roscoe. “John Bull,” he cries, “if you ’ll be wise, Ask the Emperor Nap if he will please To grant you peace, upon your knees, Because he is going to Moscow! He ’ll make all the Poles come out of their holes, And beat the Russians, and eat the Prussians; For the fields are green, and the sky is blue, Morbleu! Parbleu! And he ’ll certainly march to Moscow!” And Counsellor Brougham was all in a fume At the thought of the march to Moscow; “The Russians,” he said, “they were undone, And the great Fee-Faw-Fum Would presently come, With a hop, step, and jump, unto London: For, as for his conquering Russia, However some persons might scoff it, Do it he could, and do it he would, And from doing it nothing would come but good, And nothing could call him off it.” Mr. Jeffrey said so, who must certainly know; For he was the Edinburgh Prophet. They all of them knew Mr. Jeffrey’s “Review,” Which with Holy Writ ought to be reckoned: was, through thick and thin, to its party true; Its back was buff, and its sides were blue, Morbleu! Parbleu! It served them for Law and for Gospel too. But the Russians stoutly they turned to Upon the road to Moscow. Nap had to fight his way all through; They could fight, though they could not parlez-vous, But the fields were green, and the sky was blue, Morbleu! Parbleu! And so he got to Moscow. He found the place too warm for him, For they set fire to Moscow. To get there had cost him much ado; And then no better course he knew, While the fields were green, and the sky was blue, Morbleu! Parbleu! But to march back again from Moscow. The Russians they stuck close to him All on the road from Moscow. There was Tormazow and Jemalow, And all the others that end in “ow”; Milarodovitch and Jaladovitch And Karatschkowitch, And all the others that end in “itch”; Schamscheff, Souchosaneff, And Schepaleff, And all the others that end in “eff”; Wasiltschikoff, Kostomaroff, And Tchoglokoff, And all the others that end in “off”; Rajeffsky and Novereffsky. And Rieffsky. And all the others that end in “effsky”; Oscharoffsky and Rostoffsky, And all the others that end in “offsky.” And Platoff he played them off, And Shouvaloff he shovelled them off, And Markoff he marked them off, And Krosnoff he crossed them off, And Tuchkoff he touched them off, And Boroskoff he bored them off, And Kutousoff he cut them off, And Parenzoff he pared them off, And Worronzoff he worried them off, And Doctoroff he doctored them off, And Rodionoff he flogged them off. And last of all an Admiral came, A terrible man with a terrible name,— A name which you all know by sight very well; But which no one can speak, and no one can spell. They stuck close to Nap with all their might; They were on the left and on the right, Behind and before, and by day and by night; He would rather parlez-vous than fight: But he looked white, and he looked blue, Morbleu! Parbleu! When parlez-vous no more would do, For they remembered Moscow. And then came on the frost and snow, All on the road from Moscow. The wind and the weather he found, in that hour, Cared nothing for him, nor for all his power; For him who, while Europe crouched under his rod, Put his trust in his fortune, and not in his God. Worse and worse every day the elements grew, The fields were so white, and the sky so blue, Sacrebleu! Ventrebleu! What a horrible journey from Moscow! What then thought the Emperor Nap Upon the road from Moscow? Why, I ween he thought it small delight To fight all day, and to freeze all night; And he was besides in a very great fright, For a whole skin he liked to be in; And so, not knowing what else to do, When the fields were so white, and the sky so blue, Morbleu! Parbleu! He stole away—I tell you true— Upon the road from Moscow. “’T is myself,” quoth he, “I must mind most; So the Devil may take the hindmost.” Too cold upon the road was he, Too hot had he been at Moscow; But colder and hotter he may be, For the grave is colder than Muscovy; And a place there is to be kept in view, Where the fire is red, and the brimstone blue, Morbleu! Parbleu! Which he must go to, If the Pope say true, If he does not in time look about him; Where his namesake almost He may have for his Host; He has reckoned too long without him. If that Host get him in Purgatory, He won’t leave him there alone with his glory; But there he must stay for a very long day, For from thence there is no stealing away, As there was on the road from Moscow.
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