Sunday, 11 November 2018

The Great War of 1914

In honour of World War I armistice day, here's another one of my singable translations of the great french singer-songwriter Georges Brassens: his song for the glory of the Great War of 1914. I'm convinced World War I was one of the greatest stupidities in the history of Europe and mankind, and if it had been prevented, there wouldn't have been either a Nazi Germany or a Soviet Union under the command of little father of the people, Stalin. I particularly like the use of a military march for this gently sarcastic pacifist song.



Here are the lyrics:

The Great War of 1914 a (singable) translation of La Guerre de 14-18, by Georges Brassens
Translation copyright © 2018 by MoyshelĂ© Rosencrantz - unauthorized reproduction prohibited

Ever since men on horse and saddle
At the sight of blood rejoice
Out of a thousand lusty battles
If I were asked to make a choice
Though ‘tis a delicate type of request
There is one war of my heart the queen
Me, my lieutenant the one I like best
Is the great war of 1914

Is this to say that for the ancients
I would refuse to beat my drum
Or that I quickly lose my patience
With the offensives in Vietnam
Quite on the contrary, deep in my chest
They will remain where they’ve always been
But my lieutenant the one I like best
Is the great war of 1914

I know the footsoldiers of Sparta
Didn’t thrust their spears in fleece
And that the men of Bonaparte
Didn’t shoot at ducks and geese
Their mighty feats, they were not in jest
They left whole cities in smithereens
But my lieutenant the one I like best
Is the great war of 1914

Of course the war of nineteen-forty
Didn’t entirely let me down
For it was long and cruel and bloody
‘tis a pretender to the crown
But I believe, though you may not concur
If I were given a choice between
The two, my lieutenant the one I prefer
Is the great war of 1914

My goal is not, Good God, to argue
With guerrillas or terrorists
Holy wars, wars in places which you
Never imagined to exist
Each one has some little merit to boast
Something unique, you know what I mean
But my lieutenant the one I like most
Is the great war of 1914

I’m sure that Mars will pull one out
From deep inside his bag of tricks
One that will really knock me out
Hitting me like a ton of bricks
Until she comes, if only she would
My Prima Dona can rest serene
Me my lieutenant if only I could
I’d fight in the war of 1914
Me my lieutenant if only I could
I’d die in the war of 1914

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