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The last sunbeam

Language: English

The last sunbeam
Lightly falls from the finish'd Sabbath,
On the pavement here, and there beyond it is looking,
   Down a new-made double grave. 

   Lo, the moon ascending,
Up from the east the silvery round moon,
Beautiful over the house-tops, ghastly, phantom moon,
   Immense and silent moon. 

   I see a sad procession,
And I hear the sound of coming full-key'd bugles,
All the channels of the city streets they are flooding,
   As with voices and with tears. 

   I hear the great drums pounding,
And the small drums steady whirring
And every blow of the great convulsive drums,
   Strikes me through and through. 

   For the son is brought with the father,
(In the foremost ranks of the fierce assault they fell,
Two veterans son and father dropt together,
   And the double grave awaits them.) 

   And nearer blow the bugles,
And the drums strike more convulsive,
And the daylight o'er the pavement quite has faded,
   And the strong dead-march enwraps me. 

   In the eastern sky up-buoying,
The sorrowful vast phantom moves illumin'd,
('Tis some mother's large transparent face,
   In heaven brighter growing.) 

   O strong dead-march you please me! 
O moon immense with your silvery face you soothe me! 
O my soldiers twain! O my veterans passing to burial! 
   What I have I also give you. 

   The moon gives you light,
And the bugles and the drums give you music,
And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,
   My heart gives you love.

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

About the headline (FAQ)

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


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) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:55
Line count: 36
Word count: 240

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Le dernier rayon de soleil

Language: French (Français) after the English

  Le dernier rayon de soleil
Du sabbat finissant tombe doucement
Sur le trottoir ici et là-bas il regarde
  En bas une nouvelle tombe double.

  Voici la lune qui monte,
Là-haut depuis l'est la lune ronde argentée,
Magnifique au-dessus des toits, livide, lune fantomatique,
  Immense et silencieuse lune.

  Je vois une procession triste,
Et j'entends le son de clairons bien accordés qui arrivent,
Ils inondent tous les canaux des rues de la ville,
  Comme avec des voix et avec des larmes.

  J'entends les grands tambours résonner,
Et les petits tambours vrombir sans cesse
Et chaque coup des grands tambours convulsifs
  Me frappe de part en part.

  Car le fils est amené avec le père,
(Dans les rangs les pus en avant de l'assaut féroce ils sont tombés,
Deux vétérans, le fils et le père, abattus ensemble,
  Et la tombe double les attend.

  Et les clairons sonnent plus près,
Et les tambours résonnent plus convulsivement,
Et la lumière du jour sur les trottoirs s'est tout à fait éteinte,
  Et la forte marche funèbre m'enveloppe.

  Dans le ciel flottant en haut à l'est,
Le fantôme vaste et douloureux se déplace illuminé,
(C'est le visage large et transparent d'une mère,
  Dans le ciel qui devient plus brillant.)

  Ô forte marche funèbre, tu me plais !
Ô lune immense avec ton visage argenté, tu me calmes !
Ô mes deux soldats ! Ô mes vétérans passant pour l'enterrement !
  Ce que j'ai je vous le donne aussi.

  La lune vous donne la lumière,
Et les clairons et les tambours vous donnent la musique,
Et mon cœur, ô mes soldats, mes vétérans,
  Mon cœur vous donne l'amour.

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About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"The last sunbeam" = "Le dernier rayon de soleil"
"Lo, the moon ascending" = " Voici la lune qui monte"
"A dirge for two veterans" = "Un chant funèbre pour deux vétérans"
"Dirge for two veterans" = "Chant funèbre pour deux vétérans"


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2018 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 Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892), "The last sunbeam"
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Ernest Bryson, Gustav Holst, Normand Lockwood, Harl McDonald, Thomas Pasatieri, Frédéric Louis Ritter, Bernard Rogers, Richard Pearson Thomas, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Kurt Weill, Charles Wood. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2018-12-17.
Last modified: 2018-12-17 06:02:51
Line count: 36
Word count: 272