> June Tabor > Songs > Will Ye Go to Flanders?

Will Ye Go to Flanders?

[ Roud 8544 ; trad.]

The two verses of Will Ye Go to Flanders? were included without music in David Herd's Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs (1776, Volume 2, p. 223). The song is said to date from the Duke of Marlborough's campaign in Flanders in 1706/7 during the War of the Spanish Succession.

Ewan MacColl sang Will Ye Go to Flanders? on his and his mother Betsy Miller's 1960 Folk-Lyric album A Garland of Scots Folksong.

John Faulkner sang Will Ye Go to Flanders? on his and Dolores Keane's 1979 album Broken Hearted I'll Wander. The live sung verses printed below are from the CD The 5th Irish Folk Festival 1978. John Faulkner noted in the original album's sleeve notes:

I learnt this also from Ewan MacColl,who sung two verses of it on an old LP. Failing to trace any other verses to it anywhere, I took the liberty of making up two more. Peter Hall in Aberdeen told me that the original stanzas date back to the 1st Duke of Marlborough's campaign in Flanders in 1706. Its' pacifist sentiments, though, make it applicable to any of the imperialist wars.

Ossian with Tony Cuffe in lead sang Will Ye Go to Flanders? in 1982 on their album Dove Across the Water. Their second and third verses were written by the former band member Billy Ross. He commented on Mudcat:

I sang the song with Ossian but never recorded it. When I left the band in 1980 Tony (Cuffe) carried on singing the song and recorded it on the Dove Across the Water album.

Tony and I sang it together for a final time at the Ossian reunion at Celtic Connections in 1997. As other contributers have said the song dates from 1706/7 and appears in a number of early collections.

Alistair Russell sang Will Ye Go to Flanders? in 1983 on his album Getting to the Border. He wrote in his sleeve notes:

This traditional ballad has only two verses in the original, but Billy Ross [of Ossian] has given us two more on the song's theme of the futility of glorifying war.

Rhiannon sang Will Ye Go to Flanders? in 1985 on their Fellside album The Birds of Rhiannon.

Beggar's Velvet sang Flanders on their 1990 album Lady of Autumn.

June Tabor sang Will Ye Go to Flanders? on the 1993 CD We Died in Hell—They Called it Passchendaele. Another recording made at Christchurch Studio, Bristol, January 23, 1998 for the Flanders Field Museum, Ypres, Belgium, was included in 2005 on her 4 CD anthology Always. The first album's liner notes notes:

A ballad from the time of the Duke of Marlborough's campaign in Flanders (Ramillies, 1706; Oudenaarde, 1708; Malplaquet, 1709). Belgium has long been a favourite for European superpowers to settle their differences.

and June commented in her anthology's booklet:

Piet Chielens put this to us as the first song of that first Passchendaele peace concert which was entitled We Died in Hell—They Called it Passchendaele. It's a song originally of the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713), but it's also applicable to the First World War. Two of the verses are contemporary to the Duke of Marlborough's campaign and the other two were created later. It was the perfect song to start the concert. We recorded this version just before the Flanders Field Museum opened. It's actually the first thing you hear as you walk into the museum.

Cockersdale sang Will Ye Go to Flanders? in 1994 on their Fellside CD Been Around for Years. This track was also included in 2002 on the Fellside anthology of the soldier in song from the English Civil War to the Falklands, Enlist for a Soldier.

Doug Eunson sang Will Ye Come to Flanders on his and Sarah Matthews' 2006 album Proper Swell. He commented:

A powerful description of war in two verses. Originally published in David Herd's Scots Songs in 1776 as Will Ye Go to Flanders?. For me, ‘come’ is grammatically a better fit, but then I've never known whether I'm coming or going anyway! I learned this from Miranda Sykes.

Karine Polwart sang Will Ye Go tae Flanders? in 2007 on her CD Fairest Floo'er, giving credit for the song to John Faulkner and Billy Ross; her second and third verse are from the latter.

Lyrics

Dave Herd: Will Ye Go to Flanders?

Will ye go to Flanders, my Mally O?
Will ye go to Flanders, my bonnie Mally O?
There we'll get wine and brandy,
And sack and sugar-candy;
Will ye go to Flanders, my Mally O?

Will ye go to Flanders, my Mally O?
And see the chief commanders, my bonny Mally O?
You'll see the bullets fly,
And the soldiers how they die,
And the ladies loudly cry, my Mally, O.

John Faulkners sings Will Ye Go to Flanders? June Tabor sings Will Ye Go to Flanders?

Will ye go to Flanders, my Mally O?
Will ye go to Flanders, my bonny Mally O?
You'll see the plaidies furlin'
You'll hear the pipies skirlin',
Oh will ye go to Flanders, my Mally O?

Will ye go to Flanders, my Mally O?
Will ye go to Flanders, my bonny Mally O?
There we'll have ale and brandy,
Sack and sugar-candy;
Oh, will ye go to Flanders, my Mally O?

Will ye go to Flanders, my Mally O?
Alang wi' all the Hielanders, my bonny Mally O?
You'll hear the captain callin',
You'll see the surgeon thrallin'
And the soldiers how they're fallin' my Mally O.

Will ye go to Flanders, my Mally O?
Will ye go to Flanders, my bonny Mally O?
There you'll see the plaidies swirlin',
And you'll hear the pipies skirlin',
Oh, will ye go to Flanders, my Mally O?

Will ye go to Flanders, my Mally O?
Will ye go to Flanders, my bonny Mally O?
There we'll get ale and brandy,
And sack and sugar-candy;
Oh, will ye go to Flanders, my Mally O?

Will ye go to Flanders, my Mally O?
Will ye go to Flanders, my bonny Mally O?
There you'll hear the captain calling,
See the sergeant crawling,
And the soldiers, how they're falling, my Mally O?

Will ye go to Flanders, my Mally O?
To see the chief commanders, my bonny Mally O?
You'll see the bullets fly,
And the ladies how they cry
And the soldiers how they die, my Mally, O.

And will ye go to Flanders, my Mally O?
To see the bold commanders, my bonny Mally O?
There you'll see the bullets fly,
You'll hear the ladies cry
And the soldiers how they die, my Mally, O.

Ossian sing Will Ye Go tae Flanders? Karine Polwart sings Will Ye Go tae Flanders?

Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
There we'll get wine and brandy,
Sack and sugar-candy;
Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?

Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
We'll get wine and brandy,
Sack and sugar-candy;
Oh, will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?

And will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
Gin I'd tak the royal shillin there, my Mally O?
An wid ye tae a foreign shore
For tae hear the cannons roar,
And the bloody shouts o' war, my Mally O.

Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
Tae see the bonny soldiers, my Mally O?
They'll gie the pipes a blaw
Wi' their kilts and plaids sae braw,
Aye, the fairest o' them a', my Mally O.

And will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
Gin I'd tak the royal shillin there, my Mally O?
An wid ye tae a foreign shore
For tae hear the cannons roar,
And the bloody shouts o' war, my Mally O.

Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
And tak the Royal shilling there, my Mally O?
Will ye tae a foreign shore
For to hear the cannons roar
An the bloody shouts o' war, my Mally O?

And will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
To see the chief commanders, my Mally O?
You'll see the bullets fly
And the sodjers how they die
And the ladies how they cry, oh my Mally O?

Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
To see the bold commanders, my Mally O?
Will you see the bullets fly
And the soldiers how they die
And the ladies how they cry, my Mally, O?

(repeat first verse)

(repeat first verse)

Links

See also the Mudcat Café threads Origin: Will Ye Go to Flanders and Will Ye Go Tae Flanders - best version.