Carolus Rex album cover

Poltava (English)


Time has worn the soldiers down
Marched for many miles
In the eastern lands so cursed
Time to make a stand

Tsar has scorched his nation’s land
Nothing to be found
Hunger grasp the soliders heart
20 000 men strong

Listen, excuse for a king
Trust me, this fight you can’t win

Rode to certain death and pain
Swedish soldiers met their bane
Sacrificed their lives in vain

In the shade of morning mist
Advancing on their foe
Bullets break the silent air
Wasted battleplan

Swedish forces stand alone
King has left command
Rule is left to lesser men
Waiting for their chance

Listen, obey my command
Hear me, or die by my hand

Russian armies blocked their way
20 000 lost that day
They bled the ground
Peace they found
There’s no sign of victory
King Carolus had to flee
And leave the land
Leave command

Madness, curse your feeble horde
Fear me, you’ll die by my sword

Lyrics:Brodén / Sundström
Historic Fact
The Battle of Poltava on the 28th of June 1709 (Swedish calendar) was the decisive victory of Peter I of Russia. It was the beginning of Sweden’s decline as a great power, as the Tsardom of Russia took its place as the leading nation of north-eastern Europe. Because of the harsh winter of 1708/1709 and a series of military defeats, the Swedish army’s situation had become precarious. Charles XII decided to lay siege to the fortress of Poltava. The Russian had a substantial numerical advantage on the Swedes, about 42’000 for Russia against 16’500 for Sweden. The Swedish assault on the Russian line was quickly disintegrated, with some men throwing their weapons on the ground and fleeing and their cavalry surrounded. The Swedes no longer had any organized bodies of troops to oppose the Russian infantry and cavalry. Some soldiers managed to escape through the woods while the rest were either ridden down or captured. Charles XII ordered a retreat to the woods with all the remaining forces he could gather. The Russians halted at the edge of the woods and stopped their artillery fire. (Text credits: Gregory Sandoz)