IN CAMP BEFORE PHILIPPSBURG, JULY 3, 1734
by: Voltaire (François
Marie Arouet, 1694-1778)
- ITHOUT a bed we now sleep sound
- And take our meals upon the ground;
- And though the blazing atmosphere
- Must dreadful to the eye appear,
- The air though roaring cannons rend
- While warriors with fierce rage contend,
- The thoughtless French drink, laugh, and sing,
- And with their mirth the heavens ring;
- The walls of Philippsburg shall burn,
- And all her towers to ashes turn
- By fifty thousand Alexanders,
- Who all deserve to be commanders,
- Though they receive the paltry pay
- Of only four poor sous a day.
- Lavish of life, with high delight
- I see them rushing to the fight;
- They all appear both gay and jolly,
- Quite covered o'er with fame and folly.
- The Phantom, which we Glory name,
- Spurs them to the pursuit of fame;
- With threat'ning eye, and front all o'er
- Bedusted, marching still before,
- She holds a trumpet in her hand
- To sound to arms, and cheer the band,
- And loudly sings, with voice sonorous,
- Catches, which they repeat in chorus.
- Oh! people brilliant, gay, and vain,
- Who drag with patience glory's chain,
- 'Tis great, an honorable grave
- To seek, Eugene and death to brave.
- But what will be your mighty prize?
- What from your prowess will arise?
- Regret your blood, in vain you spilt it;
- At Paris cuckolded, or jilted.
POEMS BY VOLTAIRE
This English translation by William
F. Fleming of 'In Camp Before Philippsburg, July 3, 1734' is
reprinted from The Works of Voltaire, Volume XXXVI. Trans.
William F. Fleming. New York: E.R. DuMONT, 1901.