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Ballad (O What Is That Sound)‎

W.H. Auden
Language: English


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‎[1934?]‎
Nella raccolta pubblicata in Gran Bretagna nel 1936 con il titolo “Look, Stranger!” e negli USA ‎l’anno seguente come “On This Island”.‎




Una poesia del grande autore britannico, naturalizzato statunitense, messa in musica da diversi ‎compositori, come Randall B. Kreuger, Daron Aric Hagen, William Douglas Bennett e Jack ‎Hamilton Beeson ‎‎(The Lied, Art Song, and Choral Texts Archive)‎

Una poesia che racconta in una progressione agghiacciante, con lo stile di una ballata settecentesca, ‎le fasi di un rastrellamento ad opera di un gruppo di soldati. Si tratta probabilmente della ‎descrizione della persecuzione di ribelli giacobiti nel 18mo secolo ma l’assenza totale di dettagli ‎che la possano situare storicamente con precisione (a parte l’espressione “scarlet sodier”, ad ‎indicare il colore dominante della divisa indossata dai soldati britannici – i Redcoats – tra il 17mo ‎ed il 20mo secolo, dato di per sé troppo vago) fanno di questa composizione un grido contro la ‎repressione ed il totalitarismo di ogni epoca.‎
O what is that sound which so thrills the ear
Down in the valley drumming, drumming?
Only the scarlet soldiers, dear,
The soldiers coming.‎

O what is that light I see flashing so clear
Over the distance brightly, brightly?
Only the sun on their weapons, dear,
As they step lightly.‎

O what are they doing with all that gear,
What are they doing this morning, this morning?
Only their usual manoeuvres, dear,
Or perhaps a warning.‎

O why have they left the road down there,
Why are they suddenly wheeling, wheeling?
Perhaps a change in their orders, dear,
Why are you kneeling?‎

O haven’t they stopped for the doctor’s care,
Haven’t they reined their horses, horses?
Why, they are none of them wounded, dear,
None of these forces.‎

O is it the parson they want, with white hair,
Is it the parson, is it, is it?
No, they are passing his gateway, dear,
Without a visit.‎

O it must be the farmer who lives so near.
It must be the farmer so cunning, so cunning?
They have passed the farmyard already, dear,
And now they are running.‎

O where are you going? Stay with me here!
Were the vows you swore deceiving, deceiving?
No, I promised to love you, dear,
But I must be leaving.‎

O it’s broken the lock and splintered the door,
O it’s the gate where they’re turning, turning;
Their boots are heavy on the floor
And their eyes are burning.‎

Contributed by Bartleby - 2011/10/26 - 13:59



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