to The Tune of This is the House That Jack Built
English Caricature and Satire on Napoleon, I, II (London 1884), pp. 162-163
This is the bridge that was blown into air,
These are the Miners who had the care
Of mining the Bridge that was blown into air.
This is the Corporal stout and strong,
Who fired the Mine with his match so long,
Which was made by the Miners, &c.
This is the Colonel of Infantry,
Who ordered the Corporal stout and strong
To fire the Mine, &c.
This is the Marshall of high degree
Who whispered the Colonel of Infantry
To order the Corporal, &c.
This is the Emperor who scampered away,
And left the Marshall of high degree
To whisper the Colonel, &c.
These be the thousands who cursed the day,
Which made him an emperor, who scampered away, &c.
These are the Monarchs so gen'rous and brave,
Who conquer'd the Tyrant, and Liberty gave,
To thousands & thousands who cursed the day, &c.
1. The combined armies of Russia, Prussia, and Austria fought a decisive battle against Napoleon at Leipzig in October, 1813. As Napoleon was retreating it was said he gave a command to blow up a strategic bridge while the allied armies passed over it. The command, given to a colonel, was passed down the ranks until, finally, a corporal blew up the bridge too soon, destroying not the enemy, but wagonloads of French wounded.