According to tradition, the Swiss Thomas Legler, then Grenadier Lieutenant in French service, began this song at dawn on November 28, 1812 with his comrades just before the Battle of Beresina broke out. This song later became a public good under the name "Beresinalied".
The Beresinalied still commemorates the battle that took place 200 years ago at the Beresina in what is now Belarus. In November 1812, four Swiss regiments, which had to move to Russia with Napoleon, made a decisive contribution to covering the retreat of the defeated army across the Beresina river. Of the originally 9,000 Swiss, only about 350 came back alive. Napoleon's Russian campaign, the last battle of which was at the Beresina, was the largest unprecedented human-made disaster at the time.
The sheet music can be ordered by email for CHF 20.
1. Our life is like an odyssey.
Never yield to despair’s decline!
Everyone struggles along a trail
that grieves his heart a little.
3. So, let us keep moving onward
as pilgrims in the night.
There, in the distant heights,
our divine desire for living awaits.
2. But night and obscurities
and man’s gravest tempest is settled
with his greatest relief from suﬀering.
4. Bravely, courageously, dear brothers,
relinquish tormented trembling:
tomorrow, a benevolent sun
will rise again into the sky.