Gustavus Adolphus at Lützen
Carl Wilhelm Böttiger (late nineteenth century)
Translated from the Swedish by Sandra Dermark
The Golden King his doublet took,
and then got on his steed,
and he reviewed his vanguard ranks
so gallantly indeed.
"Your breastplate!", they advised him.
"God shields me!", he demised them.
And like last year at Breitenfeld
against old Count Tilly,
the Swedish army was arranged,
a light to guide the free.
Before the bluecoats' right wing,
encouraged them the Light King.
When all the ranks are sure arranged,
with caring, loving glance,
he greeted all the warriors:
they stood ablaze, in trance.
He was so modest, yet so great!
Each heart was sworn to Crown and State!
"Today may be the final stand!"
"Hold on!", they heed his call.
The "Gott mit uns!" resounds once more,
yet whispers stir them all.
"Stirred is our Liege's nutbrown steed..."
"The Lord alone knows why, indeed..."
"All troubles and sorrows be banned!
It's time to sing and pray!
Do not despair, my little band!"
That song won't fade away.
"And to the field, after we sing!
Glory to us, after our King!"
Onward! onward! The battle seems forever!
King Gustavus on the frontline did lead.
His last words: "Hold on, boys! It's now or never!"
The fog hid both royal rider and steed.
His left arm broken, chest and back sore bleeding,
his hand lets the reins go, life is receding.
Oh, sorrow! Oh, despair! Oh, is there any
good Swede to take and cherish his last sigh?
Young Lübeling alone, out of so many,
sore wounded, by his hero's side doth lie.
He rises. Though his blood itself is surging,
His Majesty the youth to rise is urging.
Lübeling's soft hand by a rapier's broken,
yet to his precious treasure doth he cling.
Yet Gustavus falls, not a word he's spoken,
everything turns dark for the Golden King.
Soon enemies over the spoils are fighting,
Croatian riders on his form alighting.
Then, his brothers in arms feel suffocated,
their arms and hearts oppressed by despair.
"The King is bleeding!" His ranks know he's fated,
he's no more seen, he'll nevermore be there.
His stallion Streiff, saddled, without a master,
gallops forth alone, heralding disaster.
Yet, right before their faithful hearts are frozen,
revenge sets the officers' hearts on fire.
Feeling no pain, heroic death they've chosen,
within, a royal voice is heard inspire.
No mourning shall there be, unless victorious
they end the fight: consoled they are, and glorious.
They swear: "O'er Lützen's moors, the setting sun
shall witness that the Swedish army won!"
The oath was held. The battle kept on raging,
Count Pappenheim through Swedish fire did fall.
Gustavus, after dark, kept on war waging,
the victory won by his spirit's call.
His golden and blue boys, before the twilight,
when lying slain on the moors 'neath faint sky-light,
carved the victory runes, on Schwedenstein,
that, in our days, on Lützen's moors still shine.