Georg Herwegh: “The Song of the Hussar”

Excerpt, “The Poetry of Germany, Consisting from Upwards of Seventy of the Most Celebrated Poets.”  Translated into English Verse by Alfred Baskerville.  1853.

prussian black hussars of frederick the great

The Song of the Hussars


With courage swells my heart and breast,

I wield my steel on high,

And were a plume my helmet’s crest,

A general were I.


The trumpet’s thrilling blasts begin,

At early dawn to greet,

The drummer beats his ass’s skin,

The asses we will beat.


The musket flashes at our side,

Death flashes in our hand;

Now here, now there, we swiftly ride,

’Tis for our fatherland.


What though perhaps many a lovely child,

Should weep in endless woe,

Hussars rush like the tempest wild,

And dash among the foe.


There in the guard-house what a life,

So merry and so free!

So gaily in the bloody strife,

The moments swiftly flee!


The heavens ope, a casket like,

With jewels rare therein;

Hussars its gates with sabres strike,

A voice replies, “Come in!”