Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Germany
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Germany: Vols. XVII–XVIII.  1876–79.
 
Gravelotte
The Steeds of Gravelotte
Karl von Gerok (1815–1890)
 
Anonymous translation

HOT was the day and bloody the fight,
Cool was the evening and quiet the night.
  From the edge of the wood in the valley below
  Three times the shrill signal-trumpet did blow;
Sounding so loudly at break of the day,        5
To call the brave dragoons once more to the fray.
 
  Hastily forming in long battle-row,
  Each man finds his place, and they all charge the foe.
But, alas! all the troopers return not again,—
Many shall rise nevermore from the plain.        10
  They come to reveille with strong life flushing red;
  They lie at recall pale, bleeding, and dead.
 
Riderless horses with broken rein,
Uncontrolled, wander afar o’er the plain.
  But, hark! from the wood in the valley below        15
  Once more the shrill signal-trumpet doth blow.
But, see the black steed, how he pricks up his ear,
And, neighing, rejoices the trumpet to hear.
 
  Behold the brave bay with the wound on his flank,
  Forgetting his pain, seeks his place in the rank.        20
And then, flecked with blood, see that gallant old gray;
Though he halts on three legs, how he pants for the fray!
  Hastily forming in long battle-row,
  Each steed finds his place, and they all charge the foe.
 
The steed, like his rider, obeys the command;        25
When the shrill signal sounds, in his place he doth stand.
  Over three hundred were counted that day,
  Riderless horses who joined in the fray;
Over three hundred saddles, O horrible sight!
Were emptied at once in that terrible fight!        30
 
  Over three hundred, O glorious brave!
  Out of every four, one has there found his grave.
Over three hundred, O glorious steed!
Loyal and faithful in time of sore need.
  Honor the brave, who to Gravelotte went,        35
  And honor the steeds of the Guard Regiment.
 
 
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