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Salvo D'Acquisto

(15 oct 1920 -
23 sep 1943)

A national hero of Italy, posthumously awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valor.

Texts of the Neapolitan songs

Priggiuniero 'e guerra

Museca: E.A. Mario,

Vierze: Tito Manlio.

Anno: 1933

Prisoner of war

Music: E.A. Mario,

Lyrics: Tito Manlio.

Year: 1933

This song tells about the Siberian Intervention of 1918-1920 on the part of troops of the Entente to support Admiral Kolchak and White Russian forces against the Bolshevik Red Army during the Russian Civil War. Besides frenchmen, czechoslovaks and others troops of the Entente in Siberia there was the corps of Italians commanded by colonel Fassini-Camossi. Many of those Italian soldiers were taken prisoner by Bolsheviks.

Mme songo ricurdato 'a strada e 'o nummero
E aggio truvato 'a porta comm'a quanno,
D' 'o lunnerì a matina fin' ô sabato,
Passavo 'e ssettimane faticanno.

Felicità ca m'aspettave â sera:
Dduje figlie piccerille e 'na mugliera.
Mò sò sagliuto e, invece, aggio truvato…
Vicino â porta scritto 'o nomme 'e 'n'ato.

E mme sò 'ntiso 'e dicere:
"Chella ca vuje cercate nun sta ccà!
Ca rimanette vedova,
Ma doppo, s'è turnata a 'mmaretà".

E io songo 'o muorto ch'è turnato a nascere,
Mò 'o priggiuniero asciuto a libbertà.

Ah, comme ce tenive a restà vedova!
Tu ca dicive: "'Ammore, quann'è ammore,
Dura 'n'eternità, cchiù forte 'e ll'edera.
Nemmeno 'a morte spartarrà 'sti core".

E invece 'a guerra è stata assaje cchiù forte.
'A guerra è stata, è stata pe' mme 'a morte.
'St'ammore ch'era eterno, ll'ha spezzato.
Mò i' sò 'n'estraneo e tu 'a mugliera 'e 'n'ato.

Meglio a restà 'nSiberia
Senza sapè ch'era succieso ccà!
Desideravo Napule
E 'nu penziero me diceva: "Va'!"

E sò turnato a dì: "Io mò sò libero!"
Ma a che me giova chesta libbertà!

No! 'Nnanz' ê figlie mieje tu nun hê 'a chiagnere!
Se pò accuncià 'stu fatto e sacc'io comme:
Ll'ommo songh'i', songh'io ca mme sacrifico!
Ll'ommo c'ha perzo tutto: 'a casa e 'o nomme.

Io te ringrazio ca, restanno sola,
Te sì privata e ll'hê mannate â scola.
E quanno ancora te sì 'mmaretata,
Sì stata ancora mamma affezionata.

Si lloro te dicessero:
"Fance cuntente, parlace 'e papà!"
Dincello: "Era 'nu giovane
Ca maje nun se stancava 'e faticà.

Po' jette 'nguerra e nun turnaje cchiù a Napule".
Di' 'sta buscia ca è cchiù d' 'a verità!

Da ogge in avanti, chesto ce 'o ppuò dicere,
Ca ll'ombra mia risponne: "È verità!"

translated by Natalia Chernega

I've remembered the street and the number
And found the door from which in past
From monday morning to saturday
I went out to work every week.

Happiness that waited for me in the evening:
Two little sons and the wife.
Now I've gone upstairs and found…
Beside the door is written another name.

They've heard me out and said:
"She who you are looking for isn't here!
She's become a widow
And then married again".

I've fallen but I'm survived!
Now I'm a prisoner, set at liberty.

Ah, how fast you've become a widow!
You who said: "Love, when it's love,
Lasts an eternity, it's stronger than a chain.
Even the death won't separate two hearts!"

But the war is been more stronger,
The war is been the death for me.
Our love that was eternal, it has destroyed it.
Now I'm stranger and you're the wife of other.

It would better to stay in Siberia,
Knowing nothing what's happened here!
But I wanted to Naples
And my thoughts told me: "Go!"

And I've come back to say: "I'm free now!"
But what gives me this freedom?!

No! In front of the sons you don't have to cry!
One can settle this affair and I know how:
I'm the man and it's me who sacrifices himself!
The man who has lost everything: house, name.

I thank you that being alone,
You deprived yourself to lead them to school.
And when you've married again
You've remained an affectionate mom.

If they say you:
"Make us glad, tell us about dad!"
Tell them it: "He was young
And worked without knowing a tiredness.

Then he went to war and didn't come back".
Tell this lie that more is like the truth!

Since today, as much as you can tell it them,
Because my shadow answers: "It's true!"

translated by Natalia Chernega