How stands the glass around? (Anonymous)

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  • (Posted 2017-11-20)  CPDL #47589:       
Editor: Andrew Sims (submitted 2017-11-20).   Score information: A4, 1 page, 67 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Transposed to G minor.
  • (Posted 2007-12-02)  CPDL #15551:  Network.png
Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2007-12-02).   Score information: A4, 2 pages   Copyright: CC BY SA
Edition notes: Please click on the link for preview/playback/PDF download.

General Information

Title: How stands the glass around?
Composer: Anonymous

Number of voices: 3vv   Voicing: ATB
Genre: SecularGlee

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1729
Description: A favourite song of General Wolfe, allegedly sung by him at Québec the night before his death. But the legend relies on an inexact reading of the description in Krifft's "Siege of Québec, a sonata" (c. 1797): "A favorite song of General Wolfe's & sung the evening before the engagement wherein he was killed". The present harmonization is that of Krifft, who completed "The siege of Quebec" after the majority had been composed by Kotzwara, before his untimely death from erotic asphyxiation (Kotwara's "Battle of Prague" was a favourite of Jane Austen). The song appears first in a ballad opera of 1729 called "The Patron" (I have not seen this source) and bears more than a passing resemblance to an Act Tune by Jeremiah Clarke associated with the play "A wife for any man", 1696.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

How stands the glass around?
For shame ye take no care, my boys!
How stands the glass around?
Let mirth and wine abound.
The trumpets sound,
the colours they are flying boys
To fight, kill or wound.
May we still be found,
Content with our hard fare, my boys,
On the cold, cold ground.

Why, soldiers, why,
Should we be melancholy, boys?
Why, soldiers, why?
Whose business is to die!
What sighing? Fie!
Damn fear, drink on, be jolly, boys.
'Tis he, you or I.
Cold, hot, wet or dry,
We're always bound to follow, boys,
And scorn to fly.

'Tis but in vain,
(I mean not to upbraid you, boys),
'Tis but in vain
For soldiers to complain.
Should next campaign
Send us to Him who made us, boys,
We're free from pain.
But should we remain,
A bottle and kind landlady
Cures all again.

German.png German translation

Das Glas steht herum?
Schämt euch, Kameraden,
ist es euch gleich,
dass das Glas herumsteht?
Lasst Frohsinn sprudeln und Wein fließen.
Die Trompeten ertönen,
die Fahnen wehen, Kameraden,
wir sollen kämpfen, töten, verwunden.
Mögen wir trotz unseres schweren Loses zufrieden sein,
meine Kameraden, auf dem kalten Boden.

Warum, Soldaten, warum
sollten wir melancholisch sein?
Warum, Soldaten, warum,
wessen Aufgabe ist es, zu sterben?
Was, seufzen? Pfui!
Verdammte Angst, trinkt weiter,
seid fröhlich, Kameraden,
auf ihn, auf dich oder mich,
kalt, heiß, nass oder trocken,
wir müssen immer folgen, Kameraden,
und lehnen es ab, zu fliehen.

Es ist vergebens
(und das soll kein Tadel sein, Kameraden),
es ist vergebens,
wenn Soldaten klagen.
Sollte der nächste Feldzug
uns zu dem bringen, der uns erschaffen hat,
sind wir frei von Schmerz.
Aber sollten wir bleiben,
werden eine Flasche und eine gütige Wirtin
alles wieder heilen.