by Friedrich von Schiller (1759 - 1805)
Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Die Schlacht
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT ENG FRE
Schwer und dumpfig,
Eine Wetterwolke,
Durch die grüne Eb'ne schwankt der Marsch.
Zum wilden eisernen Würfelspiel
Streckt sich unabsehlich das Gefilde,
Blicke kriechen niederwärts,
An die Rippen pocht das Männerherz,
Vorüber an hohlen Todtengesichtern
Niederjagt die Front der Major,
Halt!
Und Regimenter fesselt das starre Kommando.

   Lautlos steht die Front.

Prächtig im glühenden Morgenroth
Was blitzt dorther vom Gebirge?
Seht ihr des Feindes Fahnen wehn?
Wir sehn des Feindes Fahnen wehn,
Gott mit euch Weib und Kinder.
Lustig! hört ihr den Gesang?
Trommelwirbel, Pfeifenklang
Schmettert durch die Glieder,
Wie braust es fort im [schönen]1 wilden Takt!
Und braust durch Mark und Bein.

   Gott befohlen Brüder!
   In einer andern Welt wieder!

Schon fleugt es fort wie Wetterleucht,
Dumpf brüllt der Donner schon dort,
Die Wimper zuckt, hier kracht er laut,
Die Losung braust von Heer zu Heer,
Laß brausen in Gottes Namen fort,
Freier schon athmet die Brust.

   Der Tod ist los - schon wogt sich der Kampf,
   Eisern im wolkigten Pulverdampf
   Eisern fallen die Würfel.

Nah umarmen die Heere sich,
Fertig! heult's von P'loton zu P'loton,
Auf die Kniee geworfen
Feur'n die Vordern, viele stehen nicht mehr auf,
Lücken reißt die streifende Kartetsche,
Auf Vormanns Rumpfe springt der Hintermann,
Verwüstung rechts und links und um und um
Bataillone niederwälzt der Tod.

   Die [Sonne]2 löscht aus - heiß brennt die Schlacht,
   Schwarz brütet auf dem Heer die Nacht -
   Gott befohlen Brüder!
   In einer andern Welt wieder.

Hoch spritzt an den Nacken das Blut,
Lebende wechseln mit Todten, der Fuß
Strauchelt über den Leichnamen -
»Und auch du, Franz?« - »grüße mein Lottchen, Freund;«
Wilder immer wüthet der Streit,
»Grüßen will ich« - Gott! Kameraden! seht,
Hinter uns wie die Kartetsche springt!
»Grüßen will ich dein Lottchen, Freund!
Schlumm're sanft! wo die [Kugelsaat
Regnet]3, stürz ich Verlass'ner hinein.«

   [Hierher]4, dorthin schwankt die Schlacht,
   Finst'rer brütet auf dem Heer die Nacht,
   Gott befohlen Brüder!
   In einer andern Welt wieder!

Horch, was strampft im Galopp vorbei?
Die Adjutanten fliegen,
Dragoner rasseln in den Feind,
Und seine Donner ruhen.
Victoria Brüder!
Schrecken reißt die feigen Glieder,
Und seine Fahne sinkt -

Entschieden ist die scharfe Schlacht,
Der Tag blickt siegend durch die Nacht!
Horch! Trommelwirbel, Pfeifenklang
Stimmen schon Triumphgesang!
Lebt wohl ihr gebliebenen Brüder,
In einer andern Welt wieder.

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Gedichte von Friederich Schiller, Zweiter Theil, Zweite, verbesserte und vermehrte Auflage, Leipzig, 1805, bei Siegfried Lebrecht Crusius, pages 142-146.

First published in Anthologie auf das Jahr 1782, anonymously edited by Schiller with the fake publishing information "Gedrukt in der Buchdrukerei zu Tobolsko", actually published by Johann Benedict Metzler in Stuttgart, pages 49-53. The poem has the title "In einer Bataille / von einem Offizier" and "v.R." as the author's name.

1 omitted in Schubert's sketch D.387
2 Schiller's Anthologie: "Sonn'"
3 Schiller's Anthologie: "Kanone sich / Heischer speit"
4 Schiller's Anthologie: "Hieher"

Authorship

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):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "La batalla", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , "The battle", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "La bataille", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor] , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website: 2016-08-29 00:00:00
Last modified: 2018-09-03 04:18:24
Line count: 72
Word count: 375

The battle
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Heavy and dank,
A thunder cloud,
The soldiers swing and march across the green plain.
They are going to a wild iron game of dice
And the field stretches further than the eye can see.
They turn their crawling glances downwards,
Men's hearts beat against their ribs
Passing the hollowed out deadly faces 
The major chases down to the front line: 
Stop!
And the inflexible command shackles regiments.

    The front line stands without a murmur.

Majestic in the glowing red of dawn
What is it that is flashing there from the mountains?
Can you see the enemy's flags flying?
We can see the enemy's flags flying,
God be with you, your wives and children!
Be cheerful! Can you hear the song?
A drum beat and the sound of piping
Are bellowing out through the limbs - 
It is roaring out with a beautiful wild beat!
And it is roaring into the very marrow of the bone.

  It is in God's hands, brothers!
  See you again in another world!

Now they are flying off like lightning,
The thunder is already rumbling over there.
Eyes twitch, here there is a loud crash,
The battle-cry goes up from each battalion,
It is uttered in the name of God,
Already the breast is breathing more freely.

  Death has been let loose - the battle is already being waged;
  Iron in the cloudy powder smoke,
  The dice are cast with an iron will.

The troops embrace each other tightly.
Ready! The cry goes up from platoon to platoon;
Thrown onto their knees
The ones at the front fire, many no longer stand up,
Holes are made by strafing cartridges,
The man behind jumps onto the carcass of the man in front,
There is devastation right and left and on and on,
Death rolls whole battalions down.

  The sun goes out - the slaughter burns hot,
  Black night settles down on the army.
  It is in God's hands, brothers! 
  See you again in another world!

A fountain of blood spurts high up to necks,
The living swap with the dead, the foot
Trips over dead bodies - 
"You as well, Franz?", "Say hello to my Lotty, mate!"
The fight becomes even more savage.
"I'll say hello" - God! Comrades! look
How the cartridges are springing up behind us!
"I'll say hello to your Lotty, mate!
Sleep softly! Where the cannons are
Spitting with more warmth, that's where I am going to jump in now I have been left to it."

  This way and that the battle surges,
  Ever darker the night  settles down on the army,
  It is in God's hands, brothers!
  See you again in another world!

Listen! What is that galloping past?
The adjutants are flying:
Dragoons are rattling into the enemy,
And their thunder has stopped.
Victory, brothers!
Terror pulls at their cowardly limbs
And their flags are falling!

The fiery battle has been decided,
Conquering day peers into the night!
Listen! A drum beat and the sound of piping
Are already giving voice to a song of triumph!
Farewell, you beloved brothers!
See you again in another world!

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2016 by Malcolm Wren, (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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Text added to the website: 2016-08-29 00:00:00
Last modified: 2018-01-31 00:19:52
Line count: 72
Word count: 516