Willibald Alexis: “Fredericus Rex”

Excerpt, “The Book of German Songs from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century.” Translated and Edited by H. W. Dulcken. 1856.

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FREDERICUS REX

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FREDERICUS REX, our king and lord,

To all of his soldiers “To arms!” gave the word;

“Two hundred battalions, a thousand squadrons here!”

And he gave sixty cartridges to each grenadier.

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“You rascally fellows,” his majesty began,

“Look that each of you stands for me in battle like a man

They’re grudging Silesia and Glatz to me,

And the hundred millions in my treasury.

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“The Empress with the French an alliance has signed,

And raised the Roman kingdom against me, I find;

The Russians my territories do invade,

Up, and show ’em of what stuff we Prussians are made.

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“My generals, Schwerin, and Field-marshal Von Keit,

And Major-general Ziethen, are all ready quite.

By the thunders and lightnings of battle, I vow,

They don’t know Fritz and his soldiers now.

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“Now farewell, Louisa; Louisa, dry your eyes;

Not straight to its mark ev’ry bullet flies;

For if all the bullets should kill all the men,

From whence should we kings get our soldiers then?

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“The musket bullet makes a little round hole,

A much larger wound both the cannon ball dole;

The bullets are all of iron and lead,

Yet many a bullet misses many a head.

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“Our guns they are heavy and well supplied,

Not one of the Prussians to the foe hath hied;

The Swedes they have cursed bad money, I trow;

If the Austrians have better, who can know?

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“The French king pays his soldiers at his ease,

We get it, stock and stiver, every week, if we please;

By the thunders and the lightnings of battle, I say,

Who gets like the Prussian so promptly his pay?”

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Fredericus, my king, whom the laurel doth grace,

Hadst thou but now and then let us plunder some place,

Fredericus, my hero, I verily say,

We’d drive for thee the devil from the world away.

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Goethe: To A Golden Heart

Excerpt, “The Sonnets of Europe: A Volume of Translations.” Selected and Arranged with Notes by Samuel Waddington. 1885.

ADALBERT VON CHAMISSO: “The Women of Weinsberg”

.Women of Weinsberg.

THE WOMEN OF WEINSBERG
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It was the good King Konrad with all his army lay
Before the town of Weinsberg full many a weary day;
The Guelph at last was vanquished, but still the town held out;
The bold and fearless burghers they fought with courage stout.
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But then came hunger, hunger! That was a grievous guest;
They went to ask for favor, but anger met their quest.
"Through you the dust hath bitten full many a worthy knight,
And if your gates you open, the sword shall you requite!"
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Then came the women, praying: "Let be as thou hast said,
Yet give us women quarter, for we no blood have shed!"
At sight of these poor wretches the hero's anger failed,
And soft compassion entered and in his heart prevailed.
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"The women shall be pardoned, and each with her shall bear
As much as she can carry of her most precious ware;
The women with their burdens unhindered forth shall go,
Such is our royal judgment--we swear it shall be so!"
.
At early dawn next morning, ere yet the east was bright,
The soldiers saw advancing a strange and wondrous sight;
The gate swung slowly open, and from the vanquished town
Forth swayed a long procession of women weighted down;
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For perched upon her shoulders each did her husband bear--
That was the thing most precious of all her household ware.
"We'll stop the treacherous women!" cried all with one intent;
The chancellor he shouted: "This was not what we meant!"
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But when they told King Konrad, the good King laughed aloud;
"If this was not our meaning, they've made it so," he vowed,
"A promise is a promise, our loyal word was pledge;
It stands, and no Lord Chancellor may quibble or map hedge."
.
Thus was the royal scutcheon kept free from stain or blot!
The story has descended from days now half forgot;
'Twas eleven hundred and forty this happened, as I've heard,
The flower of German princes thought shame to break his word.

Women of Weinsberg - 1894

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Ferdinand Freiligrath: “The Trumpet of Gravelotte”

Translated by Kate Freiligrath-Kroeker

Gravelotte

Prussian Cuirassiers at Battle of Gravelotte – Franco-Prussian War
Juliusz Kossak, 1871

Die Trompete von Gravelotte

Aug. 16, 1870

Death and Destruction they belched forth in vain,
We grimly defied their thunder;
Two columns of foot and batteries twain,
We rode and cleft them asunder.

With brandished sabres, with reins all slack,
Raised standards, and low-couched lances,
Thus we Uhlans and Cuirassiers wildly drove back,
And hotly repelled their advances.

But the ride was a ride of death and of blood;
With our thrusts we forced them to sever;
But of two whole regiments, lusty and good,
Out of two men, one rose never.

With breast shot through, with brow gaping wide,
They lay pale and cold in the valley,
Snatched away in their youth, in their manhood's pride--
Now, Trumpeter, sound to the rally!

And he took the trumpet, whose angry thrill
Urged us on to the glorious battle,
And he blew a blast--but all silent and still
Was the trump, save a dull hoarse rattle,

Save a voiceless wail, save a cry of woe,
That burst forth in fitful throbbing--
A bullet had pierced its metal through,
For the Dead the wounded was sobbing!

For the faithful, the brave, for our brethren all,
For the Watch on the Rhine, true-hearted!
Oh, the sound cut into our inmost soul!--
It brokenly wailed the Departed!

And now fell the night, and we galloped past,
Watch-fires were flaring and flying,
Our chargers snorted, the rain poured fast--
And we thought of the Dead and the Dying!

Freiligrath
Ferdinand Freiligrath

Adelheid, Baroness von Stolterfoth: “The Right Word”

Excerpt, “The Poetry of Germany, Consisting from Upwards of Seventy of the Most Celebrated Poets.”  Translated into English Verse by Alfred Baskerville.  1853.

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The Right Word

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Deep ’neath the Rhine’s green billow

A golden treasure lies,

Knew’st thou the spell of magic

’Twould at thy voice arise;

That magic word which holdeth,

With but a single sound,

The mighty torrent’s surges,

As if in fetters bound.

 .

Deep in the valley buried

A sword all-conqu’ring lies,

And he who can possess it

Against the world may rise.

One word must first be spoken,

The earth then opens, and lo!

From out her rocky chambers

The steel will brightly glow.

 .

And there on yonder mountains,

Deep in the shaft profound,

By dwarfs and gnomes well guarded,

There may a key be found;

It opens every portal,

For ever ’tis thy own,

Know’st thou ’mong words unnumbered

That one right word alone.

 .

How have I mused already

In vain so long, so long,

Till, word by word commencing,

It ended in a song!

But still as yet lie hidden

That treasure, key, and sword,

And what I sang so often

Was never the right word.

Adelheid_von_Stolterfoth

August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben: “Parting”

Excerpt, “Translations from the German Poets of the 18th and 19th Centuries.”  By Alice Lucas. London:  1876.

parting

Burkhart von Hohenfels: “Like the Sun’s Uprising Light”

Excerpt, “Lay of the Minnesingers, or German Troubadours of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries.” London: 1825. Translator: Edgar Taylor.
princessava.

Like the sun’s uprising light

Shines that maid, before whom fade

Other charms, however bright;

As the stars at break of day,

Late so brilliant, fade away.

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When my spirit light had flown

Wanton forth in pleasure’s quest,

Then those beaming have shone

O’er the rover’s path, and led

Home to her from whom it sped.

,

When again its wing it took

Falcon-like for joy to soar,

Ne’er the gentle spell it broke;

Soon again it sought its home

In that breast it wandered from.

,

O’er its fear was ever coming

Lest its mistress, at the thought

That for other loves ‘t was roaming,

Vengeful all its joys might blight;

Therefore back it winged its flight.

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Ferdinand Freiligrath: “To Wolfgang in the Field”

Excerpt, “Poems from the German of Ferdinand Freiligrath.” Edited by his daughter. Kate Freiligrath. Leipzig: 1871.

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Théodore Géricault: 1781-1824

.Théodore_Géricault_by_Alexandre_Colin_1816

Théodore Géricault by Alexandre Colin, 1816.

 

And yet the essential element of him,
As of all such men,
Is not scorching fire…
But shining illuminative light.

Thomas Carlyle

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1814 - The Wounded Cuirassier

1814 – The Wounded Cuirassier

Portrait-of-Lord-Byron-Theodore-Gericault-302611

Portrait of Lord Byron

Kohlenwagen 1821-22

Kohlenwagen-1821-1822

Le Chasseur de la Garde, 1812

Le-Chasseur-de-la-Garde 1812-1814

Batalla de Maipo. Litografía coloreada. c.1819.

Batalla-de-Maipo-Litografia-Coloreada-c1819

The Kiss 1822

The Kiss 1822

Cheval Gris Pommele

Cheval Gris Pommele

Horse Market Five Horses at the Stake1816-19

Horse-Market: Five-Horses-at-the-Stake 1816-19

marie-de-medici-at-pont-de-ce.jpg!Blog

Marie de Medici.

Faust by Shelley: “May Day Night”

Excerpt, “German Poetry with The English Versions of The Best Translations.” Edited by H.E. Goldschmidt.  1869. 

Illustrations by Harry Clarke.

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C. Leonhardt-Pierson: “Good Counsel To My Son”

Excerpt, “Translations From The German Poets.” Edward Stanhope Pearson. 1879.

Good counsel to my son

Collin: “Night and Dreams”

by Matthäus Kasimir von Collin (1779-1824), “Nachtfeier”

See Musical Video

By Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828), “Nacht und Träume”, op. 43 no. 2, D. 827 (1822?), published 1825. Translation © by KarenL.

nacht-und-traume

Nacht und Träume

Holy night, you sink down;
Dreams also float down
As your moonlight fills the room,
Fills the sleeping hearts of men.
They listen with pleasure;
Crying, when the day awakes:
Return, fair night!
Fair dreams, return!

 

Frederike Brun: “Charmouny at Sunrise”

chamouny..

CHAMOUNY AT SUNRISE

.From the deep shadow of the silent fir-grove,

I lift my eyes, and trembling look on thee,

Brow of eternity, thou dazzling peak,

From whose calm height my dreaming spirit mounts

And sours away into the infinite!

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Who sank the pillar in the lap of earth,

Down deep, the pillar of eternal rock,

On which thy mass stands firm, and firm hath stood,

While centuries on centuries rolled along?

Who reared, up-towering through the vaulted blue,

Mighty and bold, thy radiant countenance?

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Who poured you from on-high with thunder-sound.

Down from old winter’s everlasting realm,

O jagged streams, over rock and through ravine?

And whose almighty voice commanded loud,

“Here shall the stiffening billows rest awhile!”

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Whose finger points yon morning star his course?

Who fringed with blossom-wreaths the eternal frost?

Whose name, O wild Arveiron , does thy din

Of waves sound out in dreadful harmonies?

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“Jehovah!” crashes in the burning ice;

Down through the gorge the rolling avalanche

Carries the word in thunder to the vales.

“Jehovah!” murmurs in the morning breeze.

Along the trembling tree-tops; down below

It whispers in the purling, silvery brooks.

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Frederike Sophie Christiane Brun

(1765-1835).

Adelbert von Chamisso: “The Thunder-Storm”

Excerpt, “The Spirit of German Poetry: A Series of translations from the German Poets, with Critical and Biographical Notices. ”  Translated by Joseph Gostick. London: 1845.

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