by Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810 - 1876)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Sie haben Tod und Verderben gespien
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG POR
Sie haben Tod und Verderben gespien:
Wir haben es nicht gelitten.
Zwei Kolonnen Fußvolk, zwei Batterien,
wir haben sie niedergeritten.

Die Säbel geschwungen, die Zäume verhängt,
tief die Lanzen und hoch die Fahnen,
so haben wir sie zusammengesprengt, -
Kürassiere wir und Ulanen.

Doch ein Blutritt war es, ein Todesritt;
wohl wichen sie unsern Hieben,
doch von zwei Regimentern, was ritt und was stritt,
unser zweiter Mann ist geblieben.

Die Brust durchschossen, die Stirn zerklafft,
so lagen sie bleich auf dem Rasen,
in der Kraft, in der Jugend dahingerafft, -
nun, Trompeter, zum Sammeln geblasen!

Und er nahm die Trompet, und er hauchte hinein;
da, - die mutig mit schmetterndem Grimme
uns geführt in den herrlichen Kampf hinein,
der Trompete versagte die Stimme.

Nur ein klanglos Wimmern, ein Schrei voll Schmerz,
entquoll dem metallenen Munde;
eine Kugel hatte durchlöchert ihr Erz, -
um die Toten klagte die wunde!

Um die Tapfern, die Treuen, die Wacht am Rhein,
um die Brüder, die heut gefallen, -
um sie alle, es ging uns durch Mark und Bein,
erhub sie gebrochenes Lallen.

Und nun kam die Nacht, und wir ritten hindann,
rundum die Wachtfeuer lohten;
die Rosse schnoben, der Regen rann -
und wir dachten der Toten, der Toten!

F. Liszt sets stanza 8

About the headline (FAQ)

Beneath the poem: "(16. August 1870)"

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):

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • POR Portuguese (Português) (Margarida Moreno) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 32
Word count: 205

They spat death and destruction
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
They spat death and destruction,
We were not about to suffer it.
Two columns of foot soldiers, two batteries,
We rode over them and trampled them.

With swinging sabres, with bridles behung,
Deep the lances and high the banners,
Thus did we burst upon and scatter them, -
Cuirassiers we, and Lancers.

But it was bloody ride, a deathly ride;
Yes, they retreated from our blows,
But of two regiments that rode and fought,
Only every second man remained alive.

Their breast shot through, their brow hewn open,
Thus they lay, pale, upon the grass,
Torn away in their strength, in their youth, -
Now, trumpeter, sound the rallying call!

And he took the trumpet, and he breathed into it;
There, - the [trumpet] that with blasting rage
Had led us into the glorious fight,
The trumpet's voice faltered.

Only a toneless whimpering, a cry full of pain,
Surged forth from its metallic mouth;
A bullet had blown a hole in its brass,-
The wounded [trumpet] lamented the dead!

[Lamented] the valiant, the true, the watch along the Rhine,
The brothers who fell today, -
[Lamented] them all, it pierced our very marrow,
[The trumpet] took up a broken murmuring.

And then came the night and we rode off,
Round about the watch fires were glowing;
The horses snorted, the rain poured down,
And we thought of the dead, the dead.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translated titles:
"Die Trompete von Vionville" = "The trumpet of Vionville"
"Die Trompete von Mars la Tour" = "The trumpet of Mars la Tour"
"Und wir dachten an die Toten" = "And we thought of the dead"

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2011 by Sharon Krebs, (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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Based on

 

This text was added to the website: 2011-05-01
Line count: 32
Word count: 231