Heinrich Heine: “The Two Grenadiers” 1822


To France were traveling two grenadiers,
From prison in Russia returning,
And when they came to the German frontiers,
They hung down their heads in mourning.

There came the heart-breaking news to their ears
That France was by fortune forsaken;
Scattered and slain were her brave grenadiers,
And Napoleon, Napoleon was taken.

Then wept together those two grenadiers
O'er their country's departed glory;
"Woe's me," cried one, in the midst of his tears,
"My old wound--how it burns at the story!"

The other said: "The end has come,
What avails any longer living
Yet have I a wife and child at home,
For an absent father grieving.

"Who cares for wife? Who cares for child?
Dearer thoughts in my bosom awaken;
Go beg, wife and child, when with hunger wild,
For Napoleon, Napoleon is taken!

"Oh, grant me, brother, my only prayer,
When death my eyes is closing:
Take me to France, and bury me there;
In France be my ashes reposing.

"This cross of the Legion of Honor bright,
Let it lie near my heart, upon me;
Give me my musket in my hand,
And gird my sabre on me.

"So will I lie, and arise no more,
My watch like a sentinel keeping,
Till I hear the cannon's thundering roar,
And the squadrons above me sweeping.

"Then the Emperor comes! and his banners wave,
With their eagles o'er him bending,
And I will come forth, all in arms, from my grave,
Napoleon, Napoleon attending!"