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Language: English

At dawn the ridge emerges massed and dun
In the wild purple of the glow'ring sun,
Smouldering through spouts of drifting smoke that shroud
The menacing scarred slope; and, one by one,
Tanks creep and topple forward to the wire.
The barrage roars and lifts. Then, clumsily bowed
With bombs and guns and shovels and battle-gear,
Men jostle and climb to meet the bristling fire.
Lines of grey, muttering faces, masked with fear,
They leave their trenches, going over the top,
While time ticks blank and busy on their wrists,
And hope, with furtive eyes and grappling fists,
Flounders in mud. O Jesus, make it stop!

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

Confirmed with Siegfried Sassoon, COUNTER-ATTACK and other poems, E.P .Dutton and company, New York, 1918, page 18

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator] and Pierre Mathé [Guest Editor]


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):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , title 1: "Attaque", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2007-05-04.
Last modified: 2017-01-03 08:58:46
Line count: 13
Word count: 106

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Language: French (Français) after the English

La crête émerge à l'aube, massive et brun-gris
Dans le pourpre violent du soleil flamboyant,
Couvant à travers des nuages de fumée dérivant, recouvrant
La pente balafrée, menaçante ; et un à un,
Des tanks grimpent et basculent vers les barbelés.
Le barrage rugit et augmente. Puis maladroitement courbés,
Munis de bombes et fusils et pelles et en tenue de combat,
Les hommes se bousculent et grimpent à la rencontre d'un feu nourri.
Lignes de faces grises, grommelantes masquées par la peur,
Ils quittent leurs tranchées, passent par-dessus leurs sommets,
À leurs poignets un tic-tac vide et actif,
Ils espèrent avec des yeux furtifs et des poings serrés,
Ils pataugent dans la boue. Ô Jésus, fais cesser cela !

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  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2017 by Pierre Mathé, (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 Siegfried Lorraine Sassoon (1886 - 1967), "Attack", from Counter-Attack and Other Poems, first published 1918
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Gary Bachlund. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2017-01-03.
Last modified: 2017-02-16 14:15:08
Line count: 13
Word count: 119