To France were traveling two grenadiers,
From prison in Russia returning,
And when they came to the German frontiers,
They hung down their heads in mourning.
There came the heart-breaking news to their ears
That France was by fortune forsaken;
Scattered and slain were her brave grenadiers,
And Napoleon, Napoleon was taken.
Then wept together those two grenadiers
O’er their country’s departed glory;
“Woe’s me,” cried one, in the midst of his tears,
“My old wound–how it burns at the story!”
The other said: “The end has come,
What avails any longer living
Yet have I a wife and child at home,
For an absent father grieving.
“Who cares for wife? Who cares for child?
Dearer thoughts in my bosom awaken;
Go beg, wife and child, when with hunger wild,
For Napoleon, Napoleon is taken!
“Oh, grant me, brother, my only prayer,
When death my eyes is closing:
Take me to France, and bury me there;
In France be my ashes reposing.
“This cross of the Legion of Honor bright,
Let it lie near my heart, upon me;
Give me my musket in my hand,
And gird my sabre on me.
“So will I lie, and arise no more,
My watch like a sentinel keeping,
Till I hear the cannon’s thundering roar,
And the squadrons above me sweeping.
“Then the Emperor comes! and his banners wave,
With their eagles o’er him bending,
And I will come forth, all in arms, from my grave,
Napoleon, Napoleon attending!”