We trenched, we trumpeted and drummed, And from our mortars tons of iron hummed Ath'art the ditch, the month we bombed The Town o' Valencieën. 'Twas in the June o' Ninety-dree (The Duke o' Yark our then Commander beën) The German Legion, Guards, and we Laid siege to Valencieën. This was the first time in the war That French and English spilled each other's gore; -- God knows what year will end the roar Begun at Valencieën! 'Twas said that we'd no business there A-topperèn the French for disagreën; However, that's not my affair -- We were at Valencieën. Such snocks and slats, since war began Never knew raw recruit or veteràn: Stone-deaf therence went many a man Who served at Valencieën. Into the streets, ath'art the sky, A hundred thousand balls and bombs were fleën; And harmless townsfolk fell to die Each hour at Valencieën! And, sweatèn wi' the bombardiers, A shell was slent to shards anighst my ears: -- 'Twas night the end of hopes and fears For me at Valencieën! They bore my wownded frame to camp, And shut my gapèn skull, and washed en cleän, And jined en wi' a zilver clamp Thik night at Valencieën. "We've fetched en back to quick from dead; But never more on earth while rose is red Will drum rouse Corpel!" Doctor said O' me at Valencieën. 'Twer true. No voice o' friend or foe Can reach me now, or any liveèn beën; And little have I power to know Since then at Valencieën! I never hear the zummer hums O' bees; and don't know when the cuckoo comes; But night and day I hear the bombs We threw at Valencieën.... As for the Duke o' Yark in war, There be some volk whose judgment o' en is meän; But this I say -- 'a was not far From great at Valencieën. O' wild wet nights, when all seems sad, My wownds come back, as though new wownds I'd had; But yet -- at times I'm sort o' glad I fout at Valencieën. Well: Heaven wi' its jasper halls Is now the on'y Town I care to be in.... Good Lord, if Nick should bomb the walls As we did Valencieën!
- by Thomas Hardy (1840 - 1928), "Valenciennes", appears in Wessex Poems and Other Verses, first published 1898 [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 Boyton Smith (b. 1837), "Valenciennes", first performed 1912. [voice and piano] [text not verified]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2008-01-17
Line count: 56
Word count: 366