Ballad of Jacques Chretien

This is one of my favorite tunes. Back in 1979 or 1980, I had the pleasure of attending Hoosier Con 1 (first and only, I think) up in South Bend, Indiana, and Robert Asprin (1946-2008) was the guest author invited all those interested up to his penthouse to drink Irish Whiskey and sing filk songs, which was quite a thrill for a young and naive 17 year old. He was one of the Dorsai Irregulars, so we of course we sang a number of Dorsai tunes, of which this is my favorite (my wife prefers “Stone are my walls”). Since Robert was also Yang the Nauseating of S.C.A.’s Great Dark Horde, we also sang the “I am not a Ninja Polka.” If I’ve made a mistake on the lyrics, please correct me in the comments!

Jacques Chretien
Words: Gordon R. Dickson
Music: “Roddy McCorley” (traditional Irish tune)

They little knew of brotherhood,
The faith of fighting men,
Who once to prove their lie was good,
Hanged Colonel Jacques Chrétien.

One-fourth of Rochmont’s fighting strength,
One battalion of Dorsai,
Was sent by Rochmont forth alone,
To bleed Helmuth and die.

But look, look down from Rochmont’s heights,
Upon the Helmuth plain,
At all of Helmuth’s armored force,
By Dorsai checked or slain.

Look down, look down, on Rochmont’s shame,
To hide the wrong she’d done,
Made claim that Helmuth bribed Dorsai,
No battle had been won.

To prove that lie, the Rochmont lords,
Arrested Jacques Chrétien,
On charge he dealt with Helmuth’s chiefs,
For payment to his men.

Commandant Arp Van Din sent word,
“You may not judge Dorsai,
Return our Colonel by the dawn,
Or Rochmont town shall die!”

Strong-held behind her wall, Rochmont,
Scorned to answer them,
Condemned, and at the daybreak hanged,
Young Colonel Jacques Chrétien.

Bright, bright the sun that morning rose,
Upon each weaponed wall,
But when the sun set in the west,
Those walls were leveled all.

Then soft and white the moon arose,
On streets and roofs unstained,
But when that moon was down once more,
No street or roof remained.

No more is there a Rochmont town,
No more are Rochmont’s men.
But stands a Dorsai monument,
To Colonel Jacques Chrétien.

So pass the word from world to world,
Alone still stands Dorsai,
And while she lives no one of hers,
By foreign wrong shall die.

They little knew of brotherhood,
The faith of fighting men,
Who once to prove their lie was good,
Hanged Colonel Jacques Chrétien.


About lostdelights

An old gamer flying his freak flag, I've been playing table-top role-playing games since 1978. I've been building my own system (Journeyman) since 1981.
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