Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The Last Ten of the Fourth Regiment

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Russia: Vol. XX. 1876–79.


The Last Ten of the Fourth Regiment

By Julius Mosen (1803–1867)

Translated by J. F. Clarke

A THOUSAND soldiers knelt in Warsaw’s square,

The solemn oath of battle sternly taking;

They swore, without a shot, the foe to dare,

With bayonets’ point their deadly pathway making.

Beat drums! march on, and let our country tell

That “Poland’s Fourth” will keep its promise well.

So said, and bloody Praga saw it done.

Right where the foe in thickest mass was rushing,

We charged, and not a comrade fired his gun,

But each with deadly bayonet on was pushing.

Praga shall tell how, mid the blackened air,

Poland’s “Fourth Regiment” was bleeding there.

When, from a thousand throats of fire, the flame

At Ostrolenka on our columns falling

Mowed down our ranks, we broke our way, and came

With the sharp bayonets’ point their heart appalling.

Let Ostrolenka, joined with Praga, say

That “Poland’s Fourth” has kept its vow to-day.

Yes, many manly hearts then sank to rest,

To the war-fiend a noble offering bringing;

Yet to his oath each man was true, and prest

On to the end, still to his weapon clinging;

Yes, with unloaded gun and steady eye,

Poland’s “Fourth Regiment” marched on to die.

O, woe to us! woe to our land forlorn!

O, ask not whence or how this misery came!

Woe, woe to every child in Poland born!

Our wounds break open when we hear her name.

They bleed afresh, but most our hearts are wrung

When “Poland’s Fourth” is named by any tongue.

And ah! dear brothers, who to death have gone,

But, dying, from our souls shall perish never;

We, who still live, with broken hearts move on,

Far from our homes, the homes now lost forever;

And pray that God in heaven may quickly send

The last of “Poland’s Fourth” a blessed end.

From Poland’s confines, through the misty air,

Ten soldiers come, and, crossing Prussia’s border,

The sentry challenges with, “Who comes there?”

They stand in silence. He repeats the order.

At last one says, “Out of a thousand men

In ‘Poland’s Fourth’ we are the only ten.”