The Red Squadrons
Heralds of a happier day rousing wonder and dismay –
Powerful squadrons rush in close array.
In the morning sad and gray, like flocks of birds of prey
Shrapnels fall in their midst or fall astray.
A horse rears high, neighing loud, and the fighter fair and proud,
Collapses pierced by a piece of lead.
The frightened horse stops short, gives out a violent snort,
Then, dashing on, leaves death bury its dead.
A thousand flowing manes and tails stream o’er hills and dales,
Like whirlwinds squadrons after squadrons fly,
Hoofs that barely touch the ground fill the air with a ringing sound,
And raise bronze-coloured veils across the glaring sky.
By the willows weeping sadly, hidden guns are spurting madly,
Waves of bloody fire clash, and chest meets chest.
In a ruthless human storm, steel draws blood – alive and warm;
Just a skirmish, then the squadron rushes off to join the rest.
Fly on, fearless squadrons, fly! Trample down deceit and lie.
All the world’s amazed by your heroic deed,
And all the men, with fits clenched firm, are watching resolute and stern,
Prepared to fight and die for their sacred creed.
Struck by a primeval fright and blinded by the gushing light,
The mouldy structure of injustice crumbles down,
Crushing underneath its weight envy, enmity and hate,
The soulless canons of the cross and crown.
Fly on fearless through the rain of bullets, fire, death and pain;
You, happy harbingers of sunny days,
Declare through the stormy roar that the slaves are waging war,
The red victorious waves have set the earth ablaze!
And when the burning castle crashes, burying in ashes
Rot and shame, dismount your horses, bend your knee,
And reverently kiss the earth to greet the joyous birth
Of justice, love and happiness, of man for ever free!