This song was written for a college fraternity banquet at Yale University, where lyricist and composer both studied. Composer Zo (short for Alonzo) Elliott was apparently inspired by Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow; but Stoddard King’s words describe a homeward trail to romance. Elliott could not find a publisher in the USA, but did so in England when he went to study at Trinity College, Cambridge. The song then became a great favourite of British troops during World War I. Elliott later studied with Nadia Boulanger at the American Conservatoire at Fontainebleau in France, and a manuscript copy of the song was lodged among relics of World War I in the Musée de l’Armée at the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris.
from notes by Andrew Lamb © 2003