The Midnight Review
Lo! – by solemn midnight gloom,
The Drummer, from sleep, awakes,
And, arising from the tomb,
With his drum the rounds he makes.
On the drum, with his fleshless arm,
He announces the Review,
The Drummer sounds an alarm,
Rap! Rap! – he beats the tattoo.
What reverberating tone
From the drum, around is spread!
Battalions, from church-yards lone,
Are awakened from the dead!
From the northern church-yards drear,
Where, in snow and ice, they lie,
From tombs, in the sourthern sphere,
‘Neath a warm Italian sky.
Warriors that sleep by the Nile,
And those ‘neath Arabian sand,
Arising, stand rank and file,
And they grasp their sword in hand.
Ere twelve at night is past,
From his tomb the Trumpeter glides,
How piercing and shrill the blast,
As to and fro, he rides!
See! – on chargers, proud and gay,
The cavalry-troops appear;
The squadrons, in war’s array,
Bear ensanguined sword, and spear.
The ghastly skulls, bleached snow-white,
“Neath their brilliant helmets, glare,
‘Neath the pale and hazy moonlight,
They brandish their weapons there!
Twelve striketh:prophetic sound!
The Commander quits his grave;
He slowly rides o’er the ground,
With his Staff – sons of the brave.
What a small, strange hat he weareth!
His venture bespeaks not pride;
The august Commander beareth
A two-edg’d sword, by his side!
The moon’s pale, nebulous rays
Illume the extensive plain;
The Commander-in-chief surveys
The assembled, martial train.
The regiments march, rank and file,
Present arms, stand in review,
And, by the music’s sound, awhile,
He rides ‘mid his followers true.
Marshals and generals near
Their Commander flock around;
And he whispereth in the ear
Of one, a mysterious sound.
“France!” – the soul-thrilling Password,
From cohort to cohort flies,-
“Saint Helena!” – vibrating is heard,
“St. Helena!” – Echo replies.
When the hour of midnight tolls
On the wide Elysian plain,
That Review, mighty Caesar holds
With his valiant, martial train!
Joseph Christian Freiherr von Zedlitz
Excerpt, “The Spirit of German Poetry: A Series of translations from the German Poets, with Critical and Biographical Notices. ” Translated by Joseph Gostick. 1845.
Excerpt, “The Spirit of German Poetry: A Series of translations from the German Poets, with Critical and Biographical Notices.” Translated by Joseph Gostick. 1845.
Excerpt, “German Poetry with The English Versions of The Best Translations.” Edited by H.E. Goldschmidt. 1869.
Illustrations by Harry Clarke.