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When the heathen trumpet's clang

Language: English

When the heathen trumpet's clang
Round beleaguered Chester rang,
Veiled nun and friar gray
Marched from Bangor's fair Abbaye;
High their holy anthem sounds,
Cestria's vale the hymn rebounds,
Floating down the sylvan Dee.
O miserere, Domine!

On the long procession goes,
Glory round their crosses glows,
And the Virgin-mother mild
In their peaceful banner smiled;
Who could think such saintly band
Doomed to feel unhallowed hand!
Such was the Divine decree,
O miserere, Domine!

Bands that masses only sung,
Hands that censers only swung,
Met the northern bow and bill,
Heard the war-cry wild and shrill;
Woe to Brockmael's feeble hand,
Woe to Olfrid's bloody brand,
Woe to Saxon cruelty,
O miserere, Domine!

Weltering amid warriors slain,
Spurned by steeds with bloody mane,
Slaughtered down by heathen blade,
Bangor's peaceful monks are laid;
Word of parting rest unspoke,
Mass unsung and bread unbroke;
For their souls for charity,
Sing, O miserere, Domine!

Bangor! o'er the murder wail!
Long thy ruins told the tale,
Shattered towers and broken arch
Long recalled the woful march:
On thy shrine no tapers burn,
Never shall thy priests return;
The pilgrim sighs and sings for thee,
O miserere, Domine!

Translation(s): FRE GER

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About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes, ed. by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co., 1876–79;, 2011.

Submitted by Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor] and Ferdinando Albeggiani


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (G. Pertz) , title 1: "Der Mönche Ausmarch von Bangor"
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "La marche des moines de Bangor", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2006-01-11.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:17
Line count: 40
Word count: 195

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La marche des moines de Bangor

Language: French (Français) after the English

Quand la sonnerie des trompettes des païens
Retentit autour de Chester assiégée,
Des nonnes voilées et des moines en gris
Sortirent de la belle abbaye de Bangor.
Leur hymne saint sonne haut,
À travers la vallée de Cestria résonne l'hymne,
Flottant le long de la forêt de la Dee,
O miserere Domine !

Pendant que la longue procession avance,
La gloire brille autour de leurs croix.
Et la vierge-mère doucement
Sourit sur leur bannière pacifique ;
Qui pourrait penser qu'une telle troupe sainte
Était vouée à sentir une main profanatrice ?
Telle était la volonté divine,
O miserere Domine !

Une troupe qui chantait seulement des messes,
Des mains qui agitent seulement des encensoirs,
Rencontrèrent le cri de guerre sauvage et strident ;
Malheur à la faible main de Brockmael,
Malheur à la marque sanglante d'Olfrid,
Malheur à la cruauté saxonne,
O miserere Domine !

Baignant parmi les cadavres des guerriers,
Repoussés par des chevaux à la crinière sanglante,
Massacrés par la lame païenne,
Les moines pacifiques de Bangor sont par terre :
Les mots d'adieu restent non dits,
La messe n'est pas chantée, et le pain n'est pas brisé ;
Pour leurs âmes, par pitié,
Chantez, miserere Domine !

Bangor ! après la plainte du meurtre,
Longtemps tes ruines ont raconté l'histoire,
Tours fracassées et arches brisées
Longtemps ont rappelé la marche affligeante :
Sur ton autel aucun cierge ne brûle,
Jamais tes prêtres ne reviendront ;
Le pèlerin soupire et chante pour toi.
O miserere Domine !

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  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2014 by Guy Laffaille, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


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Based on
  • a text in English by Walter Scott, Sir (1771 - 1832), "The Monks of Bangor'€™s March" GER
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Ludwig van Beethoven. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2014-01-20.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:05:28
Line count: 39
Word count: 249