By L. Mercantini (Italian)
Translation by Alexander Feht

They were three hundred

They landed arms in hand but did not fight us,
They threw themselves to the ground and kissed it.
I looked at everyone – everyone –
Each had tears in his eye, each smiled.
They were bandits from their lair, we were told.
But from us they took not a loaf of bread,
And their only words were,
“We came to die for our land!”

They were three hundred, young and strong –
And all are dead.

With blue eyes, with curls of gold
Their young leader came nigh.
Gathering my courage I took his hand and asked:
“Where leadest thou, fair Captain?”
He looked at me and answered: “Oh my sister,
I go to die for my beautiful fatherland!”
My heart trembled so I could not even wish him,
“God bless you”.

They were three hundred, young and strong –
And all are dead.

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