Suicide in the trenches
I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.
* * * * *
You snug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you'll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.
List of language codes
Confirmed with Siegfried Sassoon, COUNTER-ATTACK and other poems, E.P .Dutton and company, New York, 1918, page 31
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)
- by Harold Blumenfeld (b. 1923), "Suicide in the trenches", published 1971 [SATB chorus a cappella], from Songs of War [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by Michael Ippolito (b. 1985), "Suicide in the trenches", 2013 [baritone, SATB chorus, flute or piccolo, trumpet, percussion, organ, and piano], from Six Sassoon Songs, no. 3, confirmed with a score [ sung text checked 1 time]
- by Michael Ippolito (b. 1985), "Suicide in the trenches", 2006, first performed 2006 [baritone, SATB quartet or SATB chorus, flute or piccolo, trumpet, percussion, organ, and piano], from Songbook of the War, no. 7, confirmed with a score [ sung text checked 1 time]
- by Hugo Weisgall (b. 1912), "Suicide in the trenches", published 1953, rev. 1965 [baritone and piano], from Soldier Songs for Baritone, no. 2. [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):
- FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Suicide dans les tranchées", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
Text added to the website: 2008-10-19.
Last modified: 2017-01-03 09:37:46
Line count: 13
Word count: 84
This website began in 1995 as a personal project, and I have been working
on it full-time without a salary since 2008. Our research has
never had any government or institutional funding, so if you
the information here useful, please consider making a donation. Your gift is greatly appreciated.
- Emily Ezust
Suicide dans les tranchées
Language: French (Français) after the English
J'ai connu un simple garçon soldat
Qui souriait à la vie avec une joie futile,
Qui dormait profondément durant les nuits solitaires,
Et sifflait de bonne heure avec l'alouette.
Dans les tranchées de l'hiver, effrayantes et tristes,
Avec les détonations et les poux et le manque de rhum,
Il se tira une balle dans la tête.
Plus personne ne parle de lui.
* * * * *
Vous les foules bien au chaud, aux yeux enflammés,
Qui applaudissez quand passent les garçons soldats,
Filez chez vous, et priez pour ne jamais connaître
L'enfer où vont la jeunesse et les rires.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.
- 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.
(licenses at lieder dot net)
- a text in English by Siegfried Lorraine Sassoon (1886 - 1967), "Suicide in the trenches", from Cambridge Magazine, February 1918, revised 1919
- This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Harold Blumenfeld, Michael Ippolito, Hugo Weisgall. 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: 100