X:1 T:Malbrouk, La M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Country Dance N:"Dances 1785" B:Samuel, Ann & Peter Thompson - Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 5 (1788, p. 37) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G G/A/|B2B BAB|c3 BdB|A2A AGA|B2G G2G/A/| B2B BAB|c3 B2d|B2G A2A|G3-G2:|| B/c/|d2B e2e|d3-d2 B/c/|d2B e2e|d3-d2 G/A/| B2B BAB|c3 BdB|A2A AGA|B2G G2G/A/| B2B BAB|c3 B2d|B2G A2A|G3-G2||
MALBROOK. AKA – "Malbrouk," "Malbrouck." AKA and see "Marlbrough," "Marlbrouk," "Molly Brooks," "We won't go home till morning." French (originally), English; Jig and March (6/8 time). C Major: A Mixolydian (McLachlan). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (McLachlan): AABA. "Malbrook" is the tune for the well-known songs "We won't go home till morning" or "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." The title has been said (by Fuld, for one) to honor John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, a famous military figure and intriguer during the reigns of three monarchs; James II, Willaim III and Queen Anne. It was first printed by Valleyre between 1762 and 1778, according to Fuld (1966), in a collection of French street songs, Chansons, Vaudevilles et Ariettes Choisis par Duchemin where it appears as "La Mort de M. de Marlb'roug." It was a favorite of Marie Antoinette, according to Kidson (1915) who learned it about 1781 from a peasant woman called in to nurse her first child; by 1783 it had become fashionable and a number of printings of "Marlbourouck," "Malbrouk," "Adir de Marlbourouck" and other variants occurred. Fuld also notes the melody "Calino Casturame," which appears in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, is quite similar. Several writers have speculated on earlier origins for the tune. A famous legend has it that it was learned during the crusades in Jerusalem and was brought back to France by a soldier; Fuld traces this unsubstantiated story to Chateaubriand. Other speculations posit an 18th century hunting song, an ancient Arabic or Spanish song, and an old song called the "Duke de Guise." Anne Gilchrist ["Old Fiddlers' Tune Books of the Georgian Period", JEFDSS, vol. 4, No. 1, Dec. 1940, p. 21] researched the tune and published and article on it in 1927. She says: "…despite both French and English later popular legend, this old French and Flemish folk-song had no more connection with the Duke of Marlborough than with the Duke of Wellington. I have traced its arrival in England, at least as early as c. 1750 under its Flemish name of "Malbrouck" (at an earlier period its hero was "Mambrou") but the absurd identification of Malbrouck with Marlborough was not born for over sixty years after John Churchill had died in his English bed of old age and the senility following upon a stroke. It is true that he went to the war, like Malbrouck, but he returned alive to his scheming Sarah, instead of any little page dressed tout en noir returning to announce his death to his distressed lady."
It was a popular English country dance tune that appears in a number of printed dance collections and instrumental tutors, the earliest being Longman, Lukey and Broderip's Bride's Favourite Collection of 200 Select Country Dances, Cotillons (London, 1776). It continued to be included in collections through the second decade of the 19th century. Gilchrist (1940) notes: "I have here printed the 18th-century version (the name is sometimes corrupted to "Mall Brook" or "Moll Brooks," etc.) as found with negligible variation in several of these fiddlers' books, to demonstrate how the plaintive little folk-tune, with its falling cadences and lack of any climax, has been transformed in England, where it became very popular by its adaptation to jovial use as "For he's a jolly good fellow" and "We won't go home till morning"--the rising bellow on "fe-el-low" or "mo-or-ning" being an entirely British embellishment, as an outlet for enthusiasm, or sign of Bacchanalian high spirits. (Has the likeness of the tune to the "Queen's Jig (The)" of the Dancing Master ever been noticed?)."
The melody appears in a few music manuscript copybooks in America during the War of Independence (and post-) era, as for example in those of Captain George Bush (see below), John Hoff (a Pennsylvania flute manuscript, 1797–1799), John Curtiss (a Connecticut commonplace book c. 1800), and Henry Livingston, Jr., to name a few. Livingston purchased the estate of Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1771 at the age of 23. In 1775 he was a Major in the 3rd New York Regiment, which participated in Montgomery's invasion of Canada in a failed attempt to wrest Montreal from British control. An important land-owner in the Hudson Valley, and a member of the powerful Livingston family, Henry was also a surveyor and real estate speculator, an illustrator and map-maker, and a Justice of the Peace for Dutchess County. He was also a poet and musician, and presumably a dancer, as he was elected a Manager for the New York Assembly's dancing season of 1774–1775, along with his 3rd cousin, John Jay, later U.S. Chief Justice of Governor of New York.