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Dulce et decorum est

Language: English

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! -- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, --
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.1

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori: a line from Horace's Odes (iii 2.13) meaning "How sweet and right it is to die for your country."

Submitted by Jason Rico


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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Il est doux et glorieux", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:44
Line count: 28
Word count: 220

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Il est doux et glorieux

Language: French (Français) after the English

Pliés en deux, comme de vieux mendiants sous leurs sacs,
Les genoux tremblants, toussant comme des sorcières, nous jurions à travers la boue,
Jusqu'à ce que nous tournions le dos aux flammes obsédantes
Et vers notre repos lointain commencions à nous traîner.
Les hommes marchaient endormis. Beaucoup avaient perdu leurs bottes
Mais claudiquaient, les pieds en sang. Tous allaient en boitant; tous aveugles ;
Ivres de fatigue ; sourds même aux sifflements
Des cinq-neufs fatigués, devancés, qui tombaient derrière.

Les gaz ! les gaz ! Vite, les gars ! -- Une transe de tâtonnements,
Enfilant les masques malcommodes juste à temps ;
Mais quelqu'un hurlait encore et trébuchait
Et titubait comme un homme dans des flammes ou englué...
Indistinct, à travers les vitres embuées et l'épaisse lumière verte,
Comme sous une mer verte, je le vis se noyer.

Dans tous mes rêves, devant mon regard impuissant,
Il plonge sur moi, vacillant, s'étouffant, se noyant.

Si dans certains rêves étouffants, vous pouviez aussi marcher
Derrière le chariot dans lequel nous l'avons jeté,
Et voir les yeux blancs se tordant dans son visage,
Son visage qui pend comme un démon malade de péché ;
Si vous pouviez entendre, à chaque cahot, le sang
Venir en gargouillant des poumons altérés par la mousse,
Obscène comme un cancer, amer comme la bile
De plaies ignobles et incurables sur des langues innocentes, --
Mon ami, vous ne diriez pas avec un si grand enthousiasme
Aux enfants brûlant d'une gloire désespérée
Le vieux mensonge : Il est doux et glorieux
De mourir pour la patrie.

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  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2017 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 Wilfred Owen (1893 - 1918), "Dulce et decorum est", from Poems, first published 1920
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Aaron Alon, Algernon Bennet Langton Ashton, Jason Rico. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2017-11-06.
Last modified: 2017-11-06 08:01:58
Line count: 28
Word count: 257