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
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."
- by Wilfred Owen (1893 - 1918), "Dulce et decorum est", from Poems, first published 1920 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Aaron Alon , "Dulce et decorum est", 2007, first performed 2007. [baritone and string quartet] [ sung text verified 1 time]
- by Aaron Alon , "Dulce et decorum est", 2010, first performed 2010. [baritone and piano] [ sung text verified 1 time]
- by Algernon Bennet Langton Ashton (1859 - 1937), "Dulce et decorum est", published 1972. [baritone, three trumpets, three horns, three trombones, baritone horn, tuba] [ sung text not verified ]
- by Jason Rico (b. 1978), "Dulce et decorum est" [voice, piano] [ sung text verified 1 time]
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
Researcher for this text: Jason Rico
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