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Gottfried Kinkel: “Humanity”

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

Johann Gottfried Kinkel (1815-1882)  was born at Obercassel near Bonn. In 1846 he was appointed extraordinary professor of the history of art at the University of Bonn. In 1848, with his wife and Carl Schurz, he started a newspaper, the Bonner Zeitung, mostly devoted to following revolutionary activities, but also providing the traditional material like musical and theatrical reviews which people expected then from a full-service newspaper.

In 1849, Kinkel joined the armed rebellion in the Palatinate, believing himself to be acting legally in obedience to the directives of the Frankfurt rump parliament.  Wounded in battle, he was arrested and later sentenced to perpetual  imprisonment.  Yet in 1850, Kinkel achieved a daring and remarkable escape, descending by a rope from Spandau Prison’s wall.


Count Anton Alexander von Auersperg, also known under the pen name of Anastasius Grün (1806-1876), was an Austrian poet and liberal politician. Born in the capital of the Austrian Duchy of Carniola, he received his education first at the University of Graz, then at Vienna, where he studied jurisprudence.
In 1830, Auersperg succeeded to his ancestral property, and in 1832 appeared as a member at the Estates of Carniola on the Herrenbank of the diet in Laibach. Here he distinguished himself by his outspoken criticism of the Austrian government, leading the opposition of the duchy to the exactions of the central power. In 1832 the title of imperial chamberlain was conferred upon him.
After the Revolution of 1848 in Vienna, he represented the district of Laibach in the German Frankfort Parliament, to which he tried in vain to persuade his Slovene compatriots to send representatives. In 1861 he was nominated a life member of the Austrian upper house (Herrenhaus).
Count Auersperg’s first publication, a collection of lyrics, Blätter der Liebe (1830); his second production, Der letzte Ritter (1830), brought his genius to light. It celebrates the deeds and adventures of the emperor Maximilian (1499-1519) in a cycle of poems written in the strophic rhyme of the Nibelungenlied. But Auersperg’s fame rests almost exclusively on his political poetry; two collections entitled Spaziergänge eines Wiener Poeten (1831) and Schutt (1835) created a sensation in Germany by their originality and bold Realism. These two books, which are remarkable not merely for their outspoken opinions, but also for their easy versification and powerful imagery, were the forerunners of the German political poetry of 1840-1848.

Evening: In the festive halls the light of many candles gleams,
Shedding from the mirrors' crystal thousand-fold reflected beams.
In the sea of light are gliding, with a stately, solemn air,
Honored, venerable matrons, ladies young and very fair.

And among them wander slowly, clad in festive garments grand,
Here the valiant sons of battle, there the rulers of the land.
But on one that I see moving every eye is fixed with fear--
Few indeed among the chosen have the courage to draw near.

He it is by whose firm guidance Austrians' fortunes rise or sink,
He who in the Princes' Congress for them all must act and think.
But behold him now! How gracious, courteous, gentle he's to all,
And how modest, unassuming, and how kind to great and small!

In the light his orders sparkle with a faint and careless grace,
But a friendly, gentle smile is always playing on his face
When he plucks the ruddy rose leaves that some rounded bosom
 wears, Or when, like to withered blossoms, kingdoms
 he asunder tears.

Equally enchanting is it, when he praises golden curls,
Or when, from anointed heads, the royal crowns away he hurls.
Yes, methinks 'tis heavenly rapture, which delights the happy
man whom his words to Elba's fastness or to Munkacs' 
prison ban.

Could all Europe now but see him, so engaging, so gallant,
How the ladies, young and old, his winning smiles delight,
enchant;  how the church's pious clergy, and the doughty
men of war, and the state's distinguished servants by
his grace enraptured are.

Man of state and man of counsel, since you're in a mood so
kind, since you're showing to all present such a gracious 
frame of mind, see, without, a needy client standing waiting
at your door whom the slightest sign of favor will make
happy evermore.

And you do not need to fear him; he's intelligent and fair;
Hidden 'neath his homely garments, knife nor dagger does
he wear.  'Tis the Austrian people, open, honest, courteous
as can be.  See, they're pleading: "May we ask you for the
freedom to be free?"


Graf Anton Alexander von Auersperg 

Heinrich Heine: Florentine Nights

Excerpt, The Works of Heinrich Heine, Vol. 1, 41-43. Translated from the German by Charles Godfrey Leland

florence at night3

Florentine Nights

In the midst of this space
swept a burning ball,
where stood a man
giant in stature and grand in pride,
who played the violin.

Was this sphere of Light the sun?

I know not.
But in the features of the man I recognized Paganini,
ideally beautified, celestially refined,
atoned for divinely, and smiling.

This body was fresh and fair in vigorous manliness;
a light-blue garment
was about his now far nobler limbs,
the black hair flowed in shining locks on his shoulders,
as he stood there, firm and confidently,
like the sublime statue of a god.

He played the violin,
as if all creation obeyed his tones.

He was the man-planet round whom the universe moved,
ringing with measured joy and in a happy rhythm.

Were those great lights which swept so calmly gleaming
round him stars of heaven?

Were those sweet-sounding harmonies
the music of the spheres,
of which poets and seers have told so much?

Sometimes when with effort I looked forth
and far into the dim distance,
I seemed to see white waving garments,
in which colossal pilgrims wandered in disguise,
with staves in their hands;
and, strange!

The gold heads of their staves were those same great lights
which I had taken for stars.

These pilgrims went in a vast procession
around the great player;
the heads of their staves flashed reflective light
from the tones of his violin;
and the chorals which rang from their lips,
and which I had taken for the
noise of spheres, were really only the
rebounding echoes of his violin.

A nameless passion dwelt in these sounds
like mysterious whispering on water,
or the tones of hunters’ horns by moonlight.

And then burst forth unbridled rejoicing,
as though a thousand bards were sweeping the strings
and raising their voices
in a song of victory.

That was the music which no ear has heard.

Only the heart can dream it
when by Night
it rests against the heart of the beloved.


Niccolò Paganini


Heinrich Heine: “What is Dreaming?”

Excerpt, The Works of Heinrich Heine, Vol. 1, 157-160. Translated from the German by Charles Godfrey Leland..

What is dreaming? What is death? Is it only an interruption of life, and its full cessation? Yes, for people who only know the Past and the Future, and do not live an eternity in every moment of the Present, death must be terrible! When their two crutches, Space and Time, fall away, then they slip away into the eternal Nothing.

And dreams? Why are we not more afraid before going to sleep than to be buried? Is it not terrible that the body can be as if dead all night, while the spirit in us leads the wildest life … a life full of all those terrors of that parting which we have established between life and soul! When in the future both shall be again united in our consciousness, then there will be perhaps no more dreams, or else only invalids, those whose harmony has been disturbed, will dream. The ancients dreamed only softly and seldom; a strong and powerfully impressive dream was for them an event, and it was recorded in their histories…

And yet, what beautiful sweet dreams we have been able to dream! Our healthy descendants will hardly be able to understand them! All the splendours of the world disappeared from around us, and we found them again in our own souls; yes, there was the perfume of the trampled roses, and the sweetest songs of the frightened nightingales took refuge.

Thus I feel, and die of the unnatural anxieties and horrible dainties and sweet pains of our time. When I at night undress and lay me in bed, and stretch myself out at full length, and cover myself with the white sheets, I often shutter involuntarily, it seems so like being a corpse and burying myself. Then I close my eyes as quickly as I can to escape this fearful thought, and to save myself in the Land of Dreams.

It was a sweet, kind, sunshiny dream. The heaven was heavenly-blue and cloudless; the sea sea-green and still. A boundless horizon; and on the water sailed a gaily-pennoned skiff, and on its deck I sat caressingly at the feet of Jadviga. I read to her strange and dreamy love songs, which I had written on strips of rose-coloured paper, sighing yet joyful, and she listened with incredulous yet inclined ear and deeply loving smiles, and now and then hastily snatched the leaves from my hand and threw them in the sea. But the beautiful water-fairies, with snow-white breasts and arms, rose from the water and caught the fluttering love-lays as they fell.

As I bent overboard I could see clearly far down into the depths of the sea, and there sat, as in a social circle, the beautiful water-maids, and among them was a young sprite who, with deeply sympathetic expression, declaimed my love-songs. Wild enraptured applause rang out at every verse. The green-locked beauties applauded so passionately that necks and bosoms grew rosy red, and they praised cordially yet compassionately what they heard.

“What strange beings these mortals are! How wonderful their lives, how dire their destinies! They love, and seldom dare express their love; and when they give it utterance at last, they rarely understand one another.

And withal they do not lead eternal lives like ours; they are mortal. Only a little time is granted them to seek for happiness. They must grasp it quickly and press it hastily unto their hearts, ere it is gone. Therefore their songs of love are so deeply tender, so sweetly painful and anxious, so despairingly gay. Such strange blendings of joy and pain. The melancholy shadow of death falls on their happiest hours, and consoles them lovingly in adversity.

They can weep. What poetry there is in mortal tears…”

Eichendorff: Verschwiegene Liebe

Josef Karl Benedikt von Eichendorff (1788-1857)

By Hugo Wolf (1860-1903), “Verschwiegene Liebe” 1886-8, Eichendorff Lieder, no. 3.Translation © Emily Ezust, Lied & Art Song Texts Page.
Verschwiegene Liebe.

Silent Love

Over treetops and corn
And into the splendor –
Who may guess them,
Who may catch up with them?
Thoughts sway,
The Night is mute;
Thoughts run free.

Only one guesses,
One who has thought of her
By the rustling of the grove,
When no one was watching any longer
Except the clouds that flew by –
My love is silent
And as fair as the Night.


Schiller: “Wallenstein”

Excerpt, “The Death of Wallenstein,” by Friedrich Schiller.


Is it possible?
Is't so? I can no longer what I would?
No longer draw back at my liking? I
Must do the deed, because I thought of it?
And fed this heart here with a dream?
Because I did not scowl temptation from my presence,
Dallied with thoughts of possible fulfillment,
Commenced no movement, left all time uncertain,
And only kept the road, the access open?
By the great God of Heaven! It was not
My serious meaning, it was ne'er resolved.
I but amused myself with thinking of it.
The free-will tempted me, the power to do
Or not to do.
 Was it criminal
To make the fancy minister to hope,
To fill the air with pretty toys of air,
And clutch fantastic sceptres moving toward me?
Was not the will kept free? Beheld I not
The road of duty close beside me—but
One little step, and once more I was in it!
Where am I? Whither have I been transported?
No road, no track behind me, but a wall,
Impenetrable, insurmountable,
Rises obedient to the spells I muttered
And meant not—my own doings tower behind me.
Pauses and remains in deep thought.
A punishable man I seem, the guilt,
Try what I will, I cannot roll off from me;
The equivocal demeanor of my life
Bears witness on my prosecutor's party.
And even my purest acts from purest motives
Suspicion poisons with malicious gloss.
Were I that thing for which I pass, that traitor,
A goodly outside I had sure reserved,
Had drawn the coverings thick and double round me,
Been calm and chary of my utterance;
But being conscious of the innocence
Of my intent, my uncorrupted will,
I gave way to my humors, to my passion:
Bold were my words, because my deeds were not.
Now every planless measure, chance event,
The threat of rage, the vaunt of joy and triumph,
And all the May-games of a heart o’erflowing,
Will they connect, and weave them all together
Into one web of treason; all will be plan,
My eye ne'er absent from the far-off mark,
Step tracing step, each step a politic progress;
And out of all they'll fabricate a charge
So specious, that I must myself stand dumb.
I am caught in my own net, and only force,
Naught but a sudden rent can liberate me.
Pauses again.
How else! Since that the heart's unbiased instinct
Impelled me to the daring deed, which now
Necessity, self-preservation, orders.
Stern is the on-look of necessity,
Not without shudder may a human hand
Grasp the mysterious urn of destiny.
My deed was mine, remaining in my bosom;
Once suffered to escape from its safe corner
Within the heart, its nursery and birthplace,
Sent forth into the foreign, it belongs
Forever to those sly malicious powers
Whom never art of man conciliated.
Paces in agitation through the chamber, then
 pauses, and, after the pause, breaks out again
 into audible soliloquy.
What is thy enterprise? Thy aim? Thy object?
Hast honestly confessed it to thyself?
Power seated on a quiet throne thou'dst shake,
Power on an ancient, consecrated throne,
Strong in possession, founded in all custom;
Power by a thousand tough and stringy roots
Fixed to the people's pious nursery faith.
This, this will be no strife of strength with strength.
That feared I not. I brave each combatant,
Whom I can look on, fixing eye to eye,
Who, full himself of courage, kindles courage
In me too. 'Tis a foe invisible
The which I fear—a fearful enemy,
Which in the human heart opposes me,
By its coward fear alone made fearful to me.
Not that, which full of life, instinct with power,
Makes known its present being; that is not
The true, the perilously formidable.
O no! it is the common, the quite common,
The thing of an eternal yesterday.
Whatever was, and evermore returns,
Sterling to-morrow, for to-day 'twas sterling!
For of the wholly common is man made,
And custom is his nurse! Woe then to them
Who lay irreverent hands upon his old
House furniture, the dear inheritance
From his forefathers! For time consecrates;
And what is gray with age becomes religion.
Be in possession, and thou hast the right,
And sacred will the many guard it for thee!


Samuel Taylor Coleridge: “A dark and savage grandeur…”

But, as such, the Romantics, Milton, and the “Satanic” or Byronic Hero have been much on my mind of late.

Excerpt from Appendix C to “The Statesman’s Manual, or The Bible the Best Guide to Political Skill and Foresight” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge – 1816..

Satan Arousing the Rebel Angels,1808,William Blake

Satan Arousing the Rebel Angels
William Blake

But in its utmost abstraction and consequent state of reprobation, the Will becomes satanic pride and rebellious self-idolatry in the relations of the spirit to itself, and remorseless despotism relatively to others; the more hopeless as the more obdurate by its subjugation of sensual impulses, by its superiority to toil and pain and pleasure.

In short, by the fearful resolve to find in itself alone the one absolute motive of action, under which all other motives from within and from without must be either subordinated or crushed.

This is the character which Milton has so philosophically as well as sublimely embodied in the Satan of his Paradise Lost. Alas! too often has it been embodied in real life!

Too often has it given a dark and savage grandeur to the historic page! And wherever it has appeared, under whatever circumstances of time and country, the same ingredients have gone to its composition; and it has been identified by the same attributes.

Hope in which there is no cheerfulness; steadfastness within and immovable resolve, with outward restlessness and whirling activity; violence with guile; temerity with cunning; and, as the result of all, interminableness of object with perfect indifference of means; these are the qualities that have constituted the commanding genius!

These are the marks that have characterized the masters of mischief, the liberticides, and mighty hunters of mankind, from Nimrodto Napoleon. And from inattention to the possibility of such a character as well as from ignorance of its elements, even men of honest intentions too frequently become fascinated.

Nay, whole nations have been so far duped by this want of insight and reflection as to regard with palliative admiration, instead of wonder and abhorrence, the Molocks of human nature, who are indebted, for the far larger portion of their meteoric success, to their total want of principle, and who surpass the generality of their fellow creatures in one act of courage only, that of daring to say with their whole heart, “Evil, be thou my good!



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

Heinrich Heine: A Frenzy of Passion


That emotions shall rapidly follow,
like blows on blows, or shock on shock;
that love, hatred, jealousy, ambition, pride,
point d’honneur –
in fact, all the passionate feelings
which constantly rage unchained in real life …
shall burst forth in wilder rage.

No, it is simply impossible…
to form any idea of this…
frenzy of passion.
We see its deeds, we hear its words;
but these deeds and words astonish us,
and awaken in us,
a vague presentiment,
but certainly do not give us an exact knowledge
of the feelings which they express
or from which they spring.

He who would truly know
what burning is
must really put his hand
into the fire.

August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallerslaben: “Love in a Rosebush Sleeping Lay”

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


A Perfect Red Rose.



Love in a rose bush sleeping lay,

Spring came and sang a merry lay;

Love hears her voice, no more he sleeps,

Then smiling from the rose bush peeps,

But thinks too soon it were to rise,

And gently closed again his eyes.


But Spring relaxed not, spite of thorn,

She waked him with a kiss each morn,

Caressed him till the close of day,

Till to his heart she found the way,

Till her soft longings were allayed,

And every sunbeam’s smile repaid.



Schiller: “Arouse ye, my comrades, to horse! to horse!”

Excerpt, “The Camp of Wallenstein,” by Friedrich Schiller. From Scene XI. Translated by James Churchill.

wallenstein's camp



Arouse ye, my comrades, to horse! to horse!

To the field and to freedom we guide!

For there a man feels the pride of his force

And there is the heart of him tried.

No help to him there by another is shown,

He stands for himself and himself alone.


[The soldiers from the background have come forward during the singing

of this verse and form the chorus.]




No help to him by another is shown,

He stands for himself and himself alone.




Now freedom hath fled from the world, we find

But lords and their bondsmen vile

And nothing holds sway in the breast of mankind

Save falsehood and cowardly guile.

Who looks in death’s face with a fearless brow,

The soldier, alone, is the freeman now.




Who looks in death’s face with a fearless brow,

The soldier, alone, is the freeman now.




With the troubles of life he ne’er bothers his pate,

And feels neither fear nor sorrow;

But boldly rides onward to meet with his fate—

He may meet it to-day, or to-morrow!

And, if to-morrow ’twill come, then, I say,

Drain we the cup of life’s joy to-day!




And, if to-morrow ’twill come, then, I say,

Drain we the cup of life’s joy to-day!


[The glasses are here refilled, and all drink.]




‘Tis from heaven his jovial lot has birth;

Nor needs he to strive or toil.

The peasant may grope in the bowels of earth,

And for treasure may greedily moil

He digs and he delves through life for the pelf,

And digs till he grubs out a grave for himself.




He digs and he delves through life for the pelf,

And digs till he grubs out a grave for himself.




The rider and lightning steed—a pair

Of terrible guests, I ween!

From the bridal-hall, as the torches glare,


[Unbidden they join the Scene]


Nor gold, nor wooing, his passion prove;

By storm he carries the prize of love!




Nor gold, nor wooing, his passion prove;

By storm he carries the prize of love!




Why mourns the wench with so sorrowful face?

Away, girl, the soldier must go!

No spot on the earth is his resting-place;

And your true love he never can know.

Still onward driven by fate’s rude wind,

He nowhere may leave his peace behind.




     Still onward driven by fate’s rude wind,

     He nowhere may leave his peace behind.




[He takes the two next to him by the hand—the others do the same—and

form a large semi-circle.]

     Then rouse ye, my comrades—to horse! to horse!

     In battle the breast doth swell!

     Youth boils—the life-cup foams in its force—

     Up! ere time can dew dispel!

     And deep be the stake, as the prize is high—

   Who life would win, he must dare to die!




     And deep be the stake, as the prize is high—

     Who life would win, he must dare to die!



Ludwig Achim von Arnim: “The Rejected Lover”

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


The Rejected Lover


Night’s shades, o’er-darkening the spheres,

Man from his fellow man conceal;

So may I revel in my tears,

And to my lov’d one’s lattice steal.

The watchman tells the passing hour,

The sick one wails his pains and woes,

Love’s anguish rings in lonely bower,

And by the corpse the taper glows.


My love this day to me hath died,

What time she wedded with my foe;

My love do I in sorrow hide

Tears like the stars unnumbered flow.

What soothing rays gleam from each star!

How painful is yon window’s light!

Thick mists rest o’er the vale afar,

And round me phantoms wing their flight.


Wild echoes in the house resound;

The silent crowd yield at my view,

By pity moved, they group around.

Am I then but as one of you?

I hide by day in wood and grove,

The sombre night hath set me free,

A lovely morn awakes my love,

And leaves to endless sorrow me.


How oft I’ve sat and bless’d my lot,

Till all the stars waxed pale at morn!

Now by the world am I forgot,

Since she hath left me thus forlorn.

No more the earth to heed me seems,

My breast no glowing sunbeam cheers,

Oppressive are the morning beams,

Night is the fountain of my tears.




Christoph Martin Wieland: “The Pain of Separation”

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






Friedrich Halm: “My Heart…”

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




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!”




Ludwig Uhland: “Sundown”

Excerpt, “German Lyric Poetry:  A Collection of Songs and Ballads.”  Translated from the Best German Lyric Poets, with Notes by Charles Timothy Brooks.  1863.




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