The Wounded Hussar
(The tune is a variant of "Captain O’Kane" composed by Turloch O’Carolan and the words were written by the Scottish poet Thomas Campbell)
Sung by Niamh Parsons
Sung by Stewart Hendrickson (mp3)
Alone to the banks of the dark rolling Danube,
Fair Adelaide roamed when the battle was o'er.
"Oh where then" she cried, "have you wandered my true love?
Or where do you wither or bleed on the shore?"
She travelled a while, the tears her eyes flooding,
Through the dead and the dying, she walked near and far,
Till she found by a river, all bleeding and dying,
By the light of the moon, her poor wounded hussar.
From his bosom that heaved, the last torrent was streaming,
And pale was his visage, deep marked with a scar,
And pale were his eyes once expressively beaming,
That had melted in love, or had kindled in war.
How sad was poor Adelaide's heart at the sight,
And how bitter she wept o'er the victim of war.
"Have you come then" he cried, "this last sorrowful night,
For to cheer the lone heart of your wounded hussar?"
"Thou shalt live then" she cried, "heaven's mercy relieving,
Each anguishing wound shall forbid me to mourn."
"Oh no the last fancy in my bosom is heaving
No light of the moon shall to Henry return."
"You charmer of life, ever tender and true,
Take my love to my babes, that a-wait me afar."
Then his faltering tongue scarce could murmur adieu,
When he died in her arms, her poor wounded hussar.
O’Neill (1922) says: “We learn from Alexander Campbell’s song ‘The Wounded Hussar’ (printed with the music in Smith’s Irish Minstrel (Edinburgh, 1825) that O’Kain was Captain Henry O’Kain who died of his wounds ‘on the banks of the dark rolling Danube.’” O’Sullivan’s attribution is based on a comment by Hardimann (who said O’Carolan wrote it) and because of stylistic similarities with other O’Carolan works. O’Neill (1913) quotes Patrick O’Leary, an Australian correspondent, who wrote that the Captain of the title was “the hero of a hundred fights, from Landon to Oudenarde, who, when old and war-worn, tottered back from the Low Countries to his birthplace to die, and found himself not only a stranger, but an outlawed, disinherited, homeless wanderer in the ancient territory that his fathers ruled as Lords of Limavady.”
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