August Graf von Platen-Hallermund: “Would I were free…”

Excerpt, “The German Classics:  Masterpieces of German Literature.  The Patrons’ Edition.”  1913. Vol. 5. Translator:   Percy MacKaye.

Friedrich von Matthisson: “Song”

Friedrich von Matthisson

1761-1831

Friedrich Leopold Graf von Stolberg: “The Mountain Torrent”

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

Friedrich Leopold Graf zu Stolberg-Stolberg (1750-1819)

Goethe: “The Heathrose”

Excerpt, “The Poems of Goethe.”   Translated in the Original Metres, by Edgar Alfred Bowring, C.B. 1853.

Josef Karl Benedikt von Eichendorff: “The Robber-Brothers”

Wordsworth: “I have learned…”

running horses.

..I have learned to look on Nature . . .

as a presence that disturbs me

with the joy of elevated thoughts;

a sense sublime…

.

Whose dwelling is the light of Setting Suns,

and the round ocean,

and the living air,

and the blue sky,

and in the mind of Man:

.

A motion and a spirit that impels

all thinking things,

all objects of all thought,

and rolls through all things.

,

Therefore am I still a lover of the meadows,

the woods and mountains;

and of all that we behold from this green earth . . .

.

Well pleased to recognize in nature

and the language of the sense

the anchor of my purest thoughts,

the nurse, the guide,

the guardian of my heart, and soul,

of all my moral being.

. William Wordsworth, 1798

Ernst Schulze: “Schwarze Jäger“

Excerpt, “Poets and Poetry of Germany, Biographical and Critical Notices.” Madame Davesies de Pontes. Vol. II. London: 1858.

Luetzows_verwegene_jagd_aquarellreproduktion_1900

The Black Hunters

.

What is gleaming so gaily on bush and on brae,

What is shining in green-wood so bright,

Who comes forth from the wood in such gallant array,

Who are rushing from mountain and height?

’Tis the Jäger! On, on in a torrent we flow,

And rush to the combat and pounce on the foe

To battle, to vict’ry—to triumph we go!

.

We come from the Hartz and its forests so old,

Full, they tell us, of glittering store;

But what do we care or for silver or gold?

Give us freedom! We ask for no more!

To others we leave it—more nobly we feel;

We don our bright armour, our cuirass of steel;

For us upon earth the sword only has worth,

And we care for nought save our fatherland’s weal!

.

To drink and to love and be loved has its charms;

In the shade it is pleasant to dream;

But nobler to rush ’mid the battles alarms,

When the sword and the bayonet gleam.

Love’s torch is not brighter than glory’s proud hue,

And where thousands are sleeping why we may sleep too.

As heroes we’ll fall! ’neath the sword or the ball,

And pour forth our hearts-blood so gallant and true.

.

Full oft in the darkness, in forest and glen,

Or high on the storm-beaten rock,

We have linger’d to track the fierce wolf to den

Nor dreaded the hurricane’s shock.

And now the bright sunshine is steaming above us;

We go to defend all we love! All who love us!

Be it battle or chase—in the enemy’s face—

To us it is one; for no peril can move us!

 

 

Georg Herwegh: “To A Censor”

Adelbert von Chamisso: “CHATEAU BONCOURT”

Robert Browning: “Incident of the French Camp”

Excerpt, “A Metrical History of the Life and Times of Napoleon Bonaparte: A Collection of Poems and Songs. Many from Obscure and Anonymous Sources, Selected and Arranged with Introductory Notes and Connective Narrative.” William J. Hillis. 1896.

Johann Nepomuk Vogl: “The Bells”

Heinrich Heine: “The Lotos and the Water-Lily”

Franz Freiherr von Gaudy: “The Cook’s Elegy”

Excerpt, “The Spirit of German Poetry: A Series of translations from the German Poets, with Critical and Biographical Notices. ”  Translated by Joseph Gostick. London: William Smith, 113 Fleet Street. 1845.

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THE COOK’S ELEGY

.

One Sunday only shines for me,

In two long weeks of drudgery,

When will be snapt the iron yoke

In which the toiling cook must sigh ?

And now, when pots are all cleaned out,

And pans and skillets burnished bright,

It rains down like a water-spout,

And not a cab will come in sight!

.

My new dress should come out to-day—

(And mistress praised the bonnet’s taste)

(One must submit to fashion’s way)

So very slender is the waist !—

So buxomly the sleeves stand out !

(Rose-colour suits me well, they say)

Contented but a leaf to be

But down it pours a water-spout,

And not a cab will come this way !

.

Is ” Fair-hair ” waiting in the park ?

He asked me for a rendezvous—

Labour bears his burden singing;

” Till nine o’clock,” declared the spark,

” I promise I will Wait for you !”

For such a gold-fish, none can doubt

‘Tis worth one’s while to spread a net;—

But down it pours a water-spout,

And not a cab has come up yet!

.

I know he ‘s rich, (0 cruel rain !)

That fine cravat ! the watch of gold!—

The eye-glass, with its silver chain—

Let him propose—I ‘ll make him hold!

He’s waiting there without a doubt,

And here am I, kept waiting too !

And still it pours a water-spout,

And not a cab will come in view !

.

Find his labour’s richest prize.

The king of spades ! I know he ‘s mine !

And I shall be a wealthy dame—

Good heavens ! the clock is striking nine !

And there is mistress calling out!

(She always does—’tis just for spite!)

The rain falls like a water-spout,

And not a cab will come in sight !

 

Gaudy1g

Schiller: “The Conflict”

Schiller at the Court of Weimar

Ludwig Uhland: “The German Philological Association”

Wilhelm Müller: “Wandering”

Friedrich Halm: “My Heart…”

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

ladyknightdog

My heart, I fain would ask thee,

What call’st thou love, expound?

“Two souls with one thought between them,

Two hearts with one pulse-bound!”

.

And say, from whence love cometh:

“She comes, and lo, she’s there!”

And say, how doth love vanish?

“If so, love never were.”

.

And when is love the purest?

“When she herself excludes!”

And when is love the deepest?

“When silentest she broods!”

.

And when is love the richest?

“Then when with gifts she’s fraught!”

And say, what is’t love speaketh?

“She loves, but speaketh nought!”

Bismarck: Letters to Johanna 3/3

Excerpt, “German Classics of the 19th and 20th Centuries,” Vol. X, 1914; translator Charlton T. Lewis et al.

Thought goes before the deed as lightning precedes thunder.
German thunder is indeed German, and not in a hurry,
and it comes rolling slowly onward;
but come it will,
and when ye hear it crash as naught ever crashed before
in the whole history of the world,
then know that der deutsche Donner,
our German thunder,
has at last hit its mark.

At that sound the eagles will fall dead from on high,
the lions in remotest deserts in Africa will draw in their tails
and creep into their royal caves.
There will be played in Germany a drama compared to which
the French Revolution will be only an innocent idyll.

Just now all is tolerably quiet,
and if here and there someone behaves in a lively manner,
do not believe that the great actors have as yet
appeared upon the stage.
They are only the little dogs who run round in the amphitheatre,
and bark and bite one another,
before the hour begins when the great array of gladiators will enter,
and war to the death … or for life.

Heinrich Heine, 1834

Vendresse, September 3, 1870.
To MRS. VON BISMARCK:
My Dear Heart,
Day before yesterday I left my quarters here before dawn, but came back today, and have meanwhile been through the great battle of Sedan on the 1st, in which we took some thirty thousand prisoners, and shut the remainder of the French army, which we had chased ever since Bar-le-Duc, into the fortress, where they had to surrender, with the Emperor, as prisoners of war.
At five yesterday morning, after I had discussed the terms of capitulation with Moltke and the French generals till one o’clock, General Reille, whom I know, called me up to say that Napoleon wished to speak with me. Without washing or breakfast, I rode towards Sedan, found the Emperor in an open carriage with three adjutants, and three more at hand in the saddle, on the main road before Sedan.
I dismounted, saluted him as politely as in the Tuileries, and asked his commands. He desired to see the King. I told him, as was true, that his Majesty’s quarters were fourteen miles away, at the place where I am writing now. Upon his question, whither he should betake himself, I offered him, since I was unfamiliar with the region, my quarters in Donchery, a village on the Maas close to Sedan; he accepted them, and drove, escorted by his six Frenchmen, by me; and by Carl, who meanwhile had ridden after me, through the lovely morning, towards our lines.
He was distressed before reaching the place because of the possible crowds, and asked me if he might not stop at a lonely workman’s house on the road. I had it examined by Carl, who reported that it was wretched and dirty. “N’importe,” said Napoleon, and I mounted with him a narrow, rickety stairway. In a room ten feet square, with a fig-wood table and two rush-bottomed chairs, we sat an hour, the others staying below. A mighty contrast to our last interview, in ’67, at the Tuileries.
Our conversation was difficult, if I would avoid touching on things which must be painful to those whom God’s mighty hand had overthrown. Through Carl, I had officers brought from the city, and Moltke requested to come. We then sent out one of the first to reconnoitre, and discovered, a couple of miles off, at Fresnoi’s, a little château with a park. Thither I conducted him, with an escort of the Cuirassier body-guards, which was meanwhile brought up, and there we concluded the capitulation with Wimpfen, the French general-in-chief. By its terms, from forty to sixty thousand French–I do not yet know the number more exactly–became our prisoners, with everything they have.
The two receding days cost France one hundred thousand men and an emperor. He started early this morning, with all his court, horses, and wagons, for Wilhelmshöhe, at Cassel. It is an event in universal history, a triumph for which we will thank God the Lord in humility, and which is decisive of the war, even though we must continue to prosecute it against headless France.
I must close. With heartfelt joy I have learned today, from your letter and Marie’s, of Herbert’s reaching you. I met Bill yesterday, as I telegraphed you, and took him to my arms from his horse before the King’s face, while he stood with his limbs rigid. He is entirely well and in high spirits. Hans and Fritz Carl and both the Billows I saw with the Second Dragoon guards, well and cheerful.
Farewell, my heart. Kiss the children.
Your v.B.

Bismarck and Napoleon

 Napoleon III. and Bismarck on the way to Wilhelm I on the morning after the battle of Sedan. Wilhelm Camphausen, 1877.

Bismarck: Letters to Johanna 2/3

Excerpt, “German Classics of the 19th and 20th Centuries,” Vol. X, 1914; translator Charlton T. Lewis et al.

If we are not unmeasured in our claims
And do not imagine we have conquered the world,
We shall achieve a peace that is worth the trouble.

Otto von Bismarck

 Hohenmauth, Monday, September 7, ’66.

Do you remember, sweetheart, how we passed through here nineteen years ago, on the way from Prague to Vienna? No mirror showed the future then, nor in 1852, when I went over this railway with good Lynar. How strangely romantic are God’s ways! We are doing well, in spite of Napoleon; if we are not unmeasured in our claims and do not imagine we have conquered the world, we shall achieve a peace that is worth the trouble. But we are as easily intoxicated as disheartened, and it is my thankless part to pour water into the foaming wine, and to insist that we do not live alone in Europe, but with three other powers which hate and envy us.
The Austrians hold position in Moravia, and we are bold enough to announce our headquarters for tomorrow at the point where they are now. Prisoners still keep passing in, and cannon, one hundred and eighty from the 3d to today. If they bring up their southern army, we shall, with God’s gracious help, defeat it too; confidence is universal. Our people are ready to embrace one another, every man so deadly in earnest, calm, obedient, orderly, with empty stomach, soaked clothes, wet camp, little sleep, shoe-soles dropping off, kindly to all, no sacking or burning, paying what they can and eating mouldy bread.
There must surely be a solid basis of fear of God in the common soldier of our army, or all this could not be. News of our friends is hard to get; we lie miles apart from one another, none knowing where the other is, and nobody to send–that is, men might be had, but no horses. For four days I have had search made for Philip, who was slightly wounded by a lance-thrust in the head, as Gerhard wrote me, but I can’t find out where he is, and we have now come thirty-seven miles farther.
The King exposed himself greatly on the 3d and it was well I was present, for all the warnings of others had no effect, and no one would have dared to talk so sharply to him as I allowed myself to do on the last occasion, which gave support to my words, when a knot of ten cuirassiers and fifteen horses of the Sixth Cuirassier Regiment rushed confusedly by us, all in blood, and the shells whizzed around most disagreeably close to the King.
He cannot yet forgive me for having blocked for him the pleasure of being hit. “At the spot where I was forced by order of the supreme authority to run away,” were his words only yesterday, pointing his finger angrily at me. But I like it better so than if he were excessively cautious. He was full of enthusiasm over his troops, and justly so rapt that he seemed to take no notice of the din and fighting close to him, calm and composed as at the Kreuzberg, and constantly meeting battalions that he must thank with “Good-evening, grenadiers,” till we were actually by this trifling brought under fire again. But he has had to hear so much of this that he will stop it for the future, and you may feel quite easy; indeed, I hardly believe there will be another real battle.
When you have of anybody no word whatever, you may assume with confidence that he is alive and well; for if acquaintances are wounded it is always known at latest in twenty-four hours. We have not come across Herwarth and Steinmetz at all, nor has the King. Schreck, too, I have not seen, but I know they are well. Gerhard keeps quietly at the head of his squadron, with his arm in a sling.
Farewell–I must to business.
Your faithfullest v.B.
~~~~~
Zwittau, Moravia, July 11, ’66.
Dear Heart,
I have no inkstand, all of them being in use; but for the rest I get on well, after a good sleep on a camp bed with air mattress; roused at eight by a letter from you. I went to bed at eleven. At Königgrätz I rode the big sandy thirteen hours in the saddle without feeding him. He bore it very well, did not shy at shots nor at corpses, cropped standing grain and plum-leaves with zest at the most trying moments, and kept up an easy gait to the last, when I was more tired than the horse. My first bivouac for the night was on the street pavement of Horic, with no straw, but helped by a carriage cushion.
It was full of wounded; the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg found me and shared his chamber with me, Reuss, and two adjutants, and the rain made this very welcome to me. About the King and the shells I have written you already. All the generals had a superstition that they, as soldiers, must not speak to the King of danger, and always sent me off to him, though I am a major, too. They did not venture to speak to his reckless Majesty in the serious tone which at last was effectual. Now at last he is grateful to me for it, and his sharp words, “How you drove me off the first time,” etc., are an acknowledgment that I was right. Nobody knew the region, the King had no guide, but rode right on at random, till I obtruded myself to show the way.
Farewell, my heart. I must go to the King.
Your most faithful v.B.

544px-BismarckRoonMoltke

Minister-President Otto von Bismarck; Minister of War Albrecht von Roon;

Helmuth Karl von Moltke, Chief of the Prussian General Staff.