From Songs and Dances of Death by Modest Mussorgsky.

Unknown translator.

The battle rages, swords are flashing,
Like hungry beasts the cannons roar;
The horses neigh, the squadrons gallop,
The stream runs crimson, dyed with gore.
The burning noon-day sees the slaughter,
And still at sunset the fight endures.
The last gleams vanish, still unyielding,
The foe maintains a stubborn front.
Now falls the night upon the carnage,
And in the gloaming all disperse.
Silence reigns; only the darkness hears
The wounded crying unto Heaven.
See, there, where fall the livid moon-rays,
Astride upon a charger pale,
Rides a warrior wan and grisly, whose name
is Death. There, in the dusk,
He hears their pitiful complaining;
Surveys the ghastly field with pride:
Moves like a leader triumphant,
Over the scene of glory and pain.
Then climbs a hillock,
Gazes round him on dead and dying, grimly smiling...
Now over the seething field of slaughter
Rings out stern and clear his voice:
"Cease now the fight! The victory is mine!
You warriors all, it is to Death you have yielded!
Foes in your lifetime, I come to make you friends!
Rise up, reply to the roll-call of Death!
Fall into my rank! You must march past your leader!
Before the day dawns I must muster my men.
Soldiers, your bones shall repose in the earth's bosom,
Sweet is the slumber that follows the fight!
Years shall pass over you unreckoned, unheeded,
Men shall forget what you fought for today.
I, Death alone, will remember your valor,
Honor your memory when midnight is struck!
Over these furrows I'll dance in the moonlight
Tread down the earth where your limbs lie at rest,
Tread it so closely, your bones shall never move,
Never more shall you come back to earth."

From the REC Music Foundation's Lied and Song text page, http://www.lieder.net/. Public domain, to the best of my knowledge.

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