by Wilfred Owen (1893 - 1918)
Translation © by Pierre Mathé

Be slowly lifted up, thou long black arm
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
Be slowly lifted up, thou long black arm,
Great Gun towering towards Heaven, about to curse;
Sway steep against them, and for years rehearse
Huge imprecations like a blasting charm!
Reach at that Arrogance which needs thy harm,
And beat it down before its sins grow worse.
Spend our resentment, cannon,-yea, disburse
Our gold in shapes of flame, our breaths in storm.

Yet, for men's sakes whom thy vast malison
Must wither innocent of enmity,
Be not withdrawn, dark arm, the spoilure done,
Safe to the bosom of our prosperity.
But when thy spell be cast complete and whole,
May God curse thee, and cut thee from our soul!

About the headline (FAQ)

Note: Britten uses lines 1-2,5-6,13-14 only.


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

This text (or a part of it) is used in a work

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , title unknown, copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website: 2008-01-08 00:00:00
Last modified: 2015-03-21 16:44:34
Line count: 14
Word count: 109

Sois doucement soulevé, toi long bras...
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Sois doucement soulevé, toi long bras noir,
Grand Canon élevé vers le Ciel, sur le point de fulminer ;
Tourne-toi raide contre eux, et répète pour des années
D'immenses imprécations, comme un éclatant sortilège !
Atteins cette Arrogance qui a besoin de ton mal,
Et terrasse-la avant que ses péchés n'empirent.
Distribue notre ressentiment, canon, oui, débourse
Notre or sous forme de flammes, nos souffles en tempête.

Mais, pour le bien des hommes que ton énorme malédiction
Doit flétrir, innocents de l'inimitié,
Après le gâchis, sombre bras, ne soit pas retiré, 
À l'abri au sein de notre prospérité.
Mais quand ton sortilège aura complètement passé,
Que Dieu te maudisse, et t'arrache de nos âmes.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translation of title "Sonnet: On Seeing a Piece of Our Artillery Brought into Action" = "Sonnet : En voyant une pièce de notre artillerie mise en action"


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2015 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.

Based on
  • a text in English by Wilfred Owen (1893 - 1918), "Sonnet: On Seeing a Piece of Our Artillery Brought into Action", from Poems, first published 1931


Text added to the website: 2015-03-21 00:00:00
Last modified: 2015-03-21 16:45:12
Line count: 14
Word count: 114