A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Mambrú Se Fue A La Guerra
Saturday, December 10, 2011

From our garden December 9 2011 


Mambrú

Mambrú se fue a la guerra,
chiribín, chiribín, chin chin,
Mambrú se fue a la guerra,
no se cuándo vendrá,
ja ja ja, ja ja ja,
no se cuándo vendrá.

Vendrá para la pascua,
chiribín, chiribín, chin chin,
vendrá para la pascua,
o para Navidad,
ja ja ja, ja ja ja,
o para Navidad.

La Navidad se pasa,
chiribín, chiribín, chin chin,
la Navidad se pasa
y Mambrú no vuelve más,
ja ja ja, ja ja ja,
Mambrú no vuelve más.

Mambrú se ha muerto en guerra,
chiribín, chiribín, chin chin,
Mambrú se ha muerto en guerra,
lo llevan a enterrar,
ja ja ja, ja ja ja,
lo llevan a enterrar.

Con cuatro oficiales,
chiribín, chiribín, chin chin,
con cuatro oficiales
y un cura sacristán,
ja ja ja, ja ja ja,
y un cura sacristán.

Arriba de su tumba,
chiribín, chiribín, chin chin,
arriba de su tumba
un pajarito va,
ja ja ja, ja ja ja,
un pajarito va.

Cantando el pío pío,
chiribín, chiribín, chin chin,
cantando el pío pío,
y el pío pío pa,
ja ja ja, ja ja ja,
y el pío pío pa.


The above song, one I sang often as a boy in Argentina and in Mexico, is related to the connections between the former Spanish colonies in the New World and the 18th century War of Spanish Succession. It seems it was composed after the battle of Malplaquet (1709) in which the English defeated the French. Even though the French had lost they thought that the great English general, John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough had died in the battle. The happy song is dedicated to him. The song's melody appears to be even older. According to Chateaubriand it is of Arabic origin and it came to France during the crusades. The song was popular during Louis XVI’s reign. One of the Dauphin’s maids used to sing it. From Versailles it eventually reached Spain via the Bourbons but the name Marlborough deteriorated to the easier to pronounce Mambrú. It was particularly popular with little girls who sang it during games of hopscotch.

A rough translation of the song begins with the line

Mambrú went to war and we do not know when he will return.


One of the lines is appropriate to our coming season:

He might come back for Easter or for Christmas.
Christmas is over and he does not return, He will never return.

And of course we children were completely captivated by that funny line of nonsense:

Chiribín, chiribín chin chin.



All the above is but an overture and justification for placing a scan of some of the plants in our late December garden. During the Peninsular War, when Wellington finally landed with his troops in Portugal and moved into Spain, he, little by little, pushed the French out of Spain. He sent the King of Spain packing (Napoleon’s brother Joseph), who few would know went to live in exile and in splendor in New Jersey! This took time and many of the battles were bloody. The Spaniards prefer to think that the French left in a hurry without saying goodbye. My guess is that it was King Joseph who left in a hurry.

To this day despedirse a la francesa (to leave without saying goodbye) is an expression we use in Spanish speaking countries to describe rude people while at the same time (those of us who know) twist the noses of the French to remind them of their defeat! On the other hand you never want to remind the Spaniards how all the gold of Peru and Mexico went down the drain, and the Spanish empire, too, in their long and eventual defeat in Flanders in the 17th century.

Our plants have been sensitive to manners and this batch in my scan are of plants that in spite of a wet and cold late fall are saying goodbye to us in a most polite fashion.

audio version of Mambrú



     

Previous Posts
White Christmas With Sara-Jeanne Hosie

Christmas As It Was Supposed To Be

A Dramaturg, A DeHavilland Beaver & Rebecca Stomps...

The Dramaturg Of The Patron Saint Of Stanley Park

With A Little Help From My Friend Paul

With A Little Help From My Friends

The Impending Visit Of The Tooth Fairy

Don't Beguile, Don't Be Beguiled

Lauren, Santa Claus & Nothing More

Was Minded To Put Her Away Privily



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4/3/16 - 4/10/16

4/10/16 - 4/17/16

4/17/16 - 4/24/16

4/24/16 - 5/1/16

5/1/16 - 5/8/16

5/8/16 - 5/15/16

5/15/16 - 5/22/16

5/22/16 - 5/29/16

5/29/16 - 6/5/16

6/5/16 - 6/12/16

6/12/16 - 6/19/16

6/19/16 - 6/26/16

6/26/16 - 7/3/16

7/3/16 - 7/10/16

7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17