Malbrough is the French name for the Duke of Marlborough. The Duke of Marlborough was John Churchill, an English general who fought against France under King Louis XIV. An interesting side note is that John Churchill was Winston Churchill's ancestor.

Malbrough s'en va-t-en guerre - French Children's Songs - France - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

French people typically finish the song at the spot in the lyrics above where you see this symbol *********.

"The Duke of Marlborough didn't actually die in the battle of Malplaquet in 1709 as the song suggests." -Monique Palomares

Malbrough s'en va-t-en guerre - French Children's Songs - France - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Comment After Song Image

Comments

Monique wrote: "Looking for some deeper information about the song, I came across the book "Notes pour l'histoire de la chanson" by V. Lespy (Librairie de J.B. Dumoulin, Paris, 1861). The author Lespy starts the book with an anecdote about this song, that it has an Arabic origin –both the lyrics and the music. The Arabic version was about the feats of one Mambrou. It is believed that the soldiers of James I of Aragon and Louis IX of France (Saint Louis) probably brought the song back from the crusades in the 13th century. It's the legend of Mambrou that French King Louis 16th's son's nurse sang to him. Mambrou was changed to Malbrough at the end of the 18th century. If you know some French you can read the whole story at the link above."

The Spanish version is called "Mambrú se fue a la guerra". You can click the link to read it.

Souad Lamine wrote: "In Tunisia we sing, 'Mabrouk s'en va t'en guerre'."

The tune to "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" comes from this song.

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Many thanks to Edit' Dupont for contributing and singing this song for Mama Lisa's World.

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Many thanks to Monique Palomares for singing this song for us!

Sheet Music

Sheet Music - Malbrough s'en va-t-en guerre

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Monique Palomares for contributing this song and creating the midi music! Translated by Lisa Yannucci and Monique Palomares.

The 1st illustration is from Imagerie d'Épinal Pellerin #442 (from the end of 19th century), edited and colorized by Monique Palomares.

The 2nd illustration is from Chansons et rondes enfantines (1871) with some graphical editing by Lisa Yannucci.

Merci beaucoup!

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