by Heinrich Heine (1797 - 1856)
Translation © by Walter Meyer

Nach Frankreich zogen zwei Grenadier'
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG ITA NOR POR SPA SPA
Nach Frankreich zogen zwei Grenadier',
Die waren in Rußland gefangen.
Und als sie kamen ins deutsche Quartier, 
Sie ließen die Köpfe hangen.

Da hörten sie beide die traurige Mär:
Daß Frankreich verloren gegangen,
Besiegt und geschlagen das [tapfere]1 Heer
Und der Kaiser, der Kaiser gefangen.

Da weinten zusammen die Grenadier
Wohl ob der kläglichen Kunde.
Der eine sprach: »Wie weh wird mir,
Wie brennt meine alte Wunde!«

Der andre sprach: »Das Lied ist aus,
Auch ich möcht mit dir sterben,
Doch hab ich Weib und Kind zu Haus,
Die ohne mich verderben.«

»Was scheert mich Weib, was scheert mich Kind,
Ich trage weit [bess'res]2 Verlangen;
Laß sie betteln gehn, wenn sie hungrig sind -
Mein Kaiser, mein Kaiser gefangen!

Gewähr mir, Bruder, eine Bitt':
Wenn ich jetzt sterben werde,
So nimm meine Leiche nach Frankreich mit,
Begrab' mich in Frankreichs Erde.

Das Ehrenkreuz am roten Band
Sollst du aufs Herz mir legen;
Die Flinte gib mir in die Hand,
Und gürt' mir um den Degen.

So will ich liegen und horchen still,
Wie eine Schildwach, im Grabe,
Bis einst ich höre Kanonengebrüll,
Und wiehernder Rosse Getrabe.

Dann reitet mein Kaiser wohl über mein Grab,
Viel Schwerter klirren und blitzen;
Dann steig ich gewaffnet hervor aus dem Grab -
Den Kaiser, den Kaiser zu schützen!«

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

In modern orthography, "scheert" is "schert".

1 some editions of Heine : "große"
2 Schumann: "besser"


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

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2021, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "De beide grenadiers", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Walter Meyer) , "The grenadiers", copyright © 1995, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) [singable] (E. J. Gravollet)
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Amelia Maria Imbarrato) , "I due granatieri", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • NOR Norwegian (Bokmål) (Arild Bakke) , "De to grenaderene", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • POR Portuguese (Português) (Alexandre Trovon) , "Os Dois Granadeiros", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • RUS Russian (Русский) (Mikhail Larionovich Mikhailov) , no title
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Eduardo Borja Illescas) , "Los dos granaderos", copyright © 2005, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Saúl Botero Restrepo) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 36
Word count: 214

The grenadiers
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Two grenadiers were returning to France,
From Russian captivity they came.
And as they crossed into German lands
They hung their heads in shame.

Both heard there the tale that they dreaded most,
That France had been conquered in war;
Defeated and shattered, that once proud host, --
And the Emperor, a free man no more.

The grenadiers both started to weep
At hearing so sad a review.
The first said, "My pain is too deep;
My old wound is burning anew!"

The other said, "The song is done;
Like you, I'd not stay alive;
But at home I have wife and son,
Who without me would not survive."

What matters son? What matters wife?
By nobler needs I set store;
Let them go beg to sustain their life!
My Emperor, a free man no more!

Promise me, brother, one request:
If at this time I should die,
Take my corpse to France for its final rest;
In France's dear earth let me lie.

The Cross of Valor, on its red band,
Over my heart you shall lay;
My musket place into my hand;
And my sword at my side display.

So shall I lie and hark in the ground,
A guardwatch, silently staying
Till once more I hear the cannon's pound
And the hoofbeats of horses neighing.

Then my Emperor'll be passing right over my grave;
Each clashing sword, a flashing reflector.
And I, fully armed, will rise up from that grave,
The Emperor's, the Emperor's protector!"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 1995 by Walter Meyer, (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 between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 36
Word count: 247