It was a summer evening; Old Kasparâ€™s work was done, And he before his cottage door Was sitting in the sun; And by him sported on the green His little grandchild Wilhelmine.
She saw her brother Peterkin Roll something large and round, Which he beside the rivulet In playing there had found. He came to ask what he had found, That was so large, and smooth, and round.
Old Kaspar took it from the boy, Who stood expectant by; And then the old man shook his head, And with a natural sigh, â€œâ€˜Tis some poor fellowâ€™s skull,â€ said he, â€œWho fell in the great victory.
â€œI find them in the garden, For thereâ€™s many here about; And often, when I go to plow, The plowshare turns them out; For many thousand men,â€ said he, â€œWere slain in that great victory.â€
â€œNow tell us what â€˜twas all about,â€ Young Peterkin, he cries; And little Wilhelmine looks up With wonder-waiting eyes; â€œNow tell us all about the war, And what they fought each other for.â€
â€œIt was the English,â€ Kaspar cried, â€œWho put the French to rout; But what they fought each other for, I could not well make out; But everybody said,â€ quoth he, â€œThat â€˜twas a famous victory.
â€œMy father lived at Blenheim then, Yon little stream hard by; They burnt his dwelling to the ground, And he was forced to fly; So with his wife and child he fled, Nor had he where to rest his head.
â€œWith fire and sword the country round Was wasted far and wide, And many a childing mother then, And new-born baby, died; But things like that, you know, must be At every famous victory.
â€œThey say it was a shocking sight After the field was won; For many thousand bodies here Lay rotting in the sun; But things like that, you know, must be After a famous victory.
â€œGreat praise the Duke of Marlboroâ€™ won, And our good Prince Eugene.â€ â€œWhy, â€˜twas a very wicked thing!â€ Said little Wilhelmine. â€œNay, nay, my little girl,â€ quoth he; â€œIt was a famous victory.
â€œAnd everybody praised the Duke Who this great fight did win.â€ â€œBut what good came of it at last?â€ Quoth little Peterkin. â€œWhy, that I cannot tell,â€ said he; â€œBut â€˜twas a famous victory.â€