this is the full orchestra version – recording available
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned out backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep, many lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod.
All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue;
deaf even to the hoots of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!–An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.–
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie:
Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori. (It is sweet and honorable to die for the father-land)
Wilfred Owen (1893 – 1918)
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