by Wilfred Owen (1893 - 1918)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
'You! What d'you mean by this?' I rapped.
'You dare come on parade like this?'
'Please, sir, it's -' ''Old yer mouth,' the sergeant snapped.
'I takes 'is name, sir?' - 'Please, and then dismiss.'

Some days 'confined to camp' he got,
For being 'dirty on parade'.
He told me, afterwards, the damned spot
Was blood, his own. 'Well, blood is dirt,' I said.

'Blood's dirt,' he laughed, looking away
Far off to where his wound had bled
And almost merged for ever into clay.
'The world is washing out its stains,' he said.
'It doesn't like our cheeks so red:
Young blood's its great objection.
But when we're duly white-washed, being dead,
The race will bear Field-Marshal God's inspection.'


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) , "Inspection", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2008-10-18
Line count: 16
Word count: 120

Language: French (Français)  after the English 
« Vous ! Qu'est-ce que cela veut dire ? » Je dis brusquement.
« Vous osez venir à la parade comme ça ? »
« S'il vous plaît, Monsieur, c'est -- » « Fermez-la » rembarra le sergent.
« Je prends son nom, Monsieur ? » -- « S'il vous plaît et rompez. »

Quelques jours « confiné au camp », il eut,
Pour avoir été « sale à la parade ».
Il me dit, plus tard, que la fichue tache 
Était du sang, le sien. « Eh bien, le sang est sale, » dis-je.

« Le sang est sale, » il rit, regardant au loin
Là où sa blessure avait saigné
Et s'était mêlée presque pour toujours à la glaise.
« Le monde est en train de laver ses taches,  » dit-il.
« Il n'aime pas nos joues si rouges :
Le jeune sang est sa grande objection.
Mais quand nous serons dûment blanchis, étant morts,
La course supportera l'inspection du maréchal Dieu. »


  • 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.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2017-11-09
Line count: 16
Word count: 163