Category Archives: ANASTASIUS GRÜN


Anastasius Grün: “The Muse Called to Judgment”

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

Anastasius Grün: “The Unknown”

Excerpt, “Specimens of the Choicest Lyrical Productions of the Most Celebrated German Poets, from Klopstock to the Present Time.”  With Biographical and Literary Notes translated in English Verse by Mary Anne Burt.  1856.

the unknown3

ANASTASIUS GRÜN: “A Salon Scene”

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.
A SALON SCENE
(1831)

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 

Anastasus Grün: “The Poetry of Steam”

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

train 1870s germany

THE POETRY OF STEAM

.

I hear sad hymns and downcast faces see—

Our prophet-bards have had a boding dream,

A mournful vision of dear poetry

For ever banished from the earth—by steam!

.

What! had your crooked roads, then, such a grace,

That long, straight lines must grieve a Poet’s eye?

Is just five miles an hour the Poet’s pace?

And must not Pegasus attempt to fly?

.

Out with your coach, as in a happier day,

Harness again your gall’d and spavin’d team,

(But keep within the old ruts all the way)

And chase the goddess borne away by steam!

.

Or take a boat and row well (if you can)

After a steamer on the swelling sea,

And never murmur though the waterman

Can tell you nothing of your poetry.

.

Or man a ship and every random gust,

Sent from the wind-god catch within your rag,

As gladly as a beggar some stale crust

Takes with a bow and drops into his bag.

.

Or, if ’tis calm, ’twill quite poetic be

There, as if ice-bound, on a summer’s day;—

Perhaps a dolphin rising from the sea,

Of poetry may something have to say;

.

While I, along the vine-clad, rocky Rhine,

On a black swan, the steamer, proudly swim,

And, lifting up a cup of golden wine,

Sing loudly human art’s triumphal hymn;

.

And gladly celebrate the master-hand,

That seiz’d the fire-flame, like Prometheus old,

And, through the black shaft ‘mid the grassy land,

Dragg’d up the iron from Earth’s rocky hold;

.

And gave command to both—”ye shall not rest

Till striving man is from his bondage free;

Go, fire, and bear man’s burdens, east and west,

And, wheels of iron, on his errands flee!”

.

See how they go, with thunder, through the land—

Beneath the steam-clouds heavy masses flee;

So marches on an elephantine band,

With towers and battlements, to victory.

.

See, from his seat beneath the shady tree,

The village patriarch from his sleep arise,

And, throwing up his nightcap hastily,

Share in his grandsons’ rapture and surprise!

.

And, ‘mid some fears, he hopes for better days,

For which, in youth, he ventur’d in the fight—

“May this new power,” the village-patriarch prays,

“Establish Fatherland and freedom’s right!”

english-steamship-1870-granger

ANASTASIUS GRÜN: “THE RING”

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

 

Rhine_valley_near_Bingen_pre-1810

THE RING

.

I sat upon a mountain,

Far from my native land,

Beneath me upland ridges,

Dales, corn and meadow land!

.

The ring from off my finger

In dreamy thought I drew,

The pledge of love she gave me.

When last we bade adieu.

.

Before mine eye I held it,

Like a telescope unfurled,

And through its little circle

Gazed down upon the world.

.

Ye smiling verdant mountains,

Ye gold fields of corn,

No, ne’er did fair picture

A fairer frame adorn!

.

Here cottages gleam brightly,

On verdant slope and hill,

There scythe and sickle gleaming

Beside the valley’s rill.

.

And yonder plain, where proudly

The foaming torrent swells,

Beyond, blue granite mountains,

The frontier’s sentinels.

.

And towns with gleaming steeples,

Woods clad in verdure’s prime,

And clouds that, like my longing,

Flee to a distant clime.

.

As by a frame surrounded,

My golden circle spanned,

The earth and Heaven’s azure,

Man and his dwelling land.

.

Fair picture, thus to gaze on,

By love’s gold circle spanned.

The earth and Heaven’s azure,

Man and his dwelling land.

 

 

Anastasius Grün: “Salutation of the Sea”

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

.

Salutation of the Sea

.

Measureless, serene, unending,

Still, but ne’er from boding free

Li’st thou there thy breadth extending

Aged, solemn, boundless Sea!

.

Say, in tears should be my greeting

Such as well from mourners’ eyes,

When around the grave they’re meeting

One who cold and lifeless lies?

.

For a churchyard vast and stilly

One capacious vault thou art,

Hidest feelingless and chilly

Many a hope and many a heart.

.

Not one cross, one gravestone yonder

Marks the spot where buried lie

Thousands – on the strand there wander

Those whose tears are never dry.

.

Would’st thou have me joyous greeting

Offer, as from him would rise

Whose first glance a garden meeting

Throws him into glad surprise?

.

For a garden without measure,

And a wealthy field thou art,

Noble buds, and costly treasure

Lie within thy crystal heart.

.

As a lawn with sunshine flooded

Shows thy surface green and still,

Coral groves with pearl-beds studded

Such the flowers thy depths which fill.

.

As in gardens wand’rers straying,

Ships across the ocean go

Treasure seeking and conveying,

Meeting, passing to and fro.

.

Should I weeping, should I shouting,

Ocean to thee raise my voice?

Idle question, useless doubting –

After all I have no choice.

.

But as highest joy in weeping

Riseth still to thankful eyes,

So the grateful dewdrops steeping

Trees at dawn and sunset rise.

.

When the Lord of all I’m meeting

And mine eyes in tears upturn,

So in tears once more I’m greeting

Fatherland with thoughts that burn.

.

Weeping I my arms extended

When I saw my lov’d one near,

Weeping on the heights I bended

When I saw thee first appear.

.

.

 

 

 

Anastasius Grün: “Maximilian Before Vienna” 2/2

Excerpt, “The Last Knight:  A Romance Garland from the German of Anastasius Grün.”  Translated by John O. Sargent.  1871.

 

Triumphzug_Kaiser_Maximilians_2

.MAXIMILIAN BEFORE VIENNA

August, 1490

The Siege of the Imperial Palace

.

There where the Kaiser’s palace in ancient splendour lay,

Was encamp’d King Max’s army, in magnificent array;

For there his last resistance the Magyar planned undaunted,

And in the vaunted windows his grim artillery planted.

.

There princes once and courtiers dispensed their smiles of grace,

And he whom they vouchsafed one went home with joyous face;

And he to whom from the window a look of love was sent,

Carried a beating heart with him—no matter where he went.

.

Where are you, imperial eagles? What has frightened you away?

Perch’d on St. Stephen’s tower one ventures still to stay;

If he had not been made of marble, he, too, would have taken his flight,

Or saw he the smiling morrow, after the stormy night?

.

Hark, the clangour of drums and trumpets! How it howls and rages and cracks!

“Hie, up and in, my brothers!” How thunders the voice of Max!

The palace-walls with the battle-cries and the shower of bullets quake;

If an emperor there were sleeping he would now be sure to awake.

.

The boldest of the warriors essay an escalade;

Are you climbing up the window of a pretty little maid?

Your sweetheart waits already, and from roses purple-red

She weaves a ruby coronet, to decorate your head.

.

By Max’s side contending, a cavalier thus speaks;

“My prince, why comes so suddenly that pallor to thy cheeks?”

“Hush, friend, and were I pallid how otherwise could it be?

’Tis only the reflection of my armour that you see.”

.

“Storm! Up and in, my brothers!” Dust veils in clouds the walls,

From swords and throats of fire a shine of red flame falls;

A herdsman in the distance drives home his flocks to fold,

“A storm comes from Vienna—the lightning there behold.”

.

A cavalier to Max’s side looked on the prince, and said,

“My prince, is it not blood there where your shoulder is so red?”

“You sight’s at fault, good fellow, the red you need not mind.

’Tis my mantle’s purple lining turned outward by the wind.”

.

“Ho! Bravo brothers, forward!” Now from the trembling walls,

Like flakes of blossoms in spring-time, a shower of bullets falls.

Almighty Heaven! Loud crackling a smoking bastion crumb

And there a lofty parapet with a crash of thunder tumbles.

.

Up! Up! Over rubble and ruins, through the deadly breach they fly,

Now merrily thrills the drum-beat, and hark to the victor’s cry!

Peace! Peace! The colours of Hungary are draggled in the moats,

And from the ancestral castle the flag of Hapsburg floats.

.

As they rush in, the victors in the spacious halls behold,

The corpses of Magyar warriors in heaps together roll’d;

And over them as sentinels, drawn scimitars in hand,

Like monumental seraphim, the living Magyars stand.

.

Max greets their leader courteously, and gently takes his hand,

“Withdraw, ye noble champions, in peace to your own land;

Though enemies, I honour you. You’ve fought a manly fight;

I would we were contending for one land and one right!”

.

He spake; a fever seized him, and blood burst from his wound.

And with a pallid visage, he sank upon the ground;

On a bier born in a chamber, where no sound the stillness broke,

Soon from a heavy slumber, thanks to the Lord! He woke.

.

And bed-side, Convalescence the beautiful matron stood,

Kiss’d him on cheek and forehead, and staunched the flowing blood;

Without, a harp once sounded in the evening twilight dim,

And thus the winds of the Occident wafted the song to him.

.

“From many an arrow, woman the heart of the loved one shields,

And but when the storm is over to the flood of suffering yields;

So the hero beckons his army where danger and glory be,

Before they bandage his wounds with the banners of victory.

.

“So both the tree resemble, which, from the hall and the storm,

Protects, in its thick-leaved shadow, the tired wanderer’s form;

But when the storm is over and the skies again are blue,

It shakes from its leaves and branches its own round drops of dew.”

Anastasius Grün: “Maximilian Before Vienna” 1/2

Excerpt, “The Last Knight:  A Romance Garland from the German of Anastasius Grün.”  Translated by John O. Sargent.  1871.

A novel-length Life Ballad of Maximilian I (1459-1519), Holy Roman Emperor, King in Germany, of Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, etc. Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Brabant, Lorraine, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Limburg, Luxembourg, Gelderland, Landgrave of Alsace, Prince of Swabia, Count Palatine of Burgundy, Princely Count of Habsburg, Hainaut, Flanders, Tyrol, Gorizia, Artois, Holland, Seeland, Ferrette, Kyburg, Namur, Zutphen, Margrave of the Holy Roman Empire, the Enns, Burgau, Lord of Frisia, the Wendish March, Pordenone, Salins, Mechelen, etc.

Matthias Corvin, King of Hungary, the most illustrious monarch of his age, had been for 30 years the plague of the emperor, and had overrun Austria and taken Vienna in 1485.  Frederick was unwilling to pay the 700,000 florins he demanded for the evacuation of his territory; and the more so because the astrologers had predicted the king’s death in 1490.  In that year, it occurred.

Maximilian raised an army of several thousand men, and entered Vienna amid the acclamations of its citizens.  The citadel, occupied by an Hungarian garrison, resisted successfully two storming parties, in one of which the king who led it was wounded.  On the tenth day the garrison surrendered, and its fall was followed by the early surrender of other strongholds and the expulsion of the Hungarians from Austria.

triumphal-procession-maximilian

 MAXIMILIAN BEFORE VIENNA

August, 1490

The Reunion

.

On a hill-side, near Vienna, has stood, from days of yore

With delicate tracery chisell’d, a column tall and hoar;

Since the old days the Spinner at the Cross they’ve called the column,

And the old days rustle round it still, in legends quaint and solemn.

.

And thou, oh, gazing wanderer, who stands there-now a-days,

Thrill’st with the magic beauties the scenery displays;

And as the golden eagle with rustling plumage flies,

Sinks down upon thy heart inspiration from the skies.

.

There, with unrivaled grandeur, in matchless beauty bright,

The old imperial city breaks on the startled site;

Around green woods and mountains, streams, meadows, and crops like gold.

God’s scroll of benedictions before thee lies unroll’d.

.

Round about this sea of stones, through the sloping valley lie,

Low in the broad savannas, and on the upland high,

Chapels, cottages, and castles, strewn on their ground of green,

Like white lambs by the side of the greater cattle seen.

.

And a stirring joyful murmur, the hollow rumble of drays,

And bells from a hundred steeples, shouts of joy and songs of praise;

In a thousand-fold echo swelling, it reaches the listener’s ear,

As if it were hymning in chorus—“a happy folk lives here.”

.

The earth with a gentle tremor quivers under thy feet,

The pulses of joy and life there so vigorously beat;

The breezes in light vibration ripple about thine ear,

And speak to thy heart in a whisper—“a happy folk lives here.”

.

Not such to Max the aspect, when here he took his stand,

And gazes, with moistened vision, on the city and the land;

With him a powerful army of horse and foot appear,

With beaming helm and armour, and banner, shield and spear.

.

Again he sees the towers of the vast cathedral gleam,

And there, beyond colossal piles, the Danube’s azure stream,

That seems the faithful city with a girdle to enfold,

As a snake of a magician lies in watch before his gold.

.

The grey ancestral castle, afar he sees once more,

And well it might remind him of the better days of yore;

For once the Hapsburg banner serenely floated where

The hostile flag of Hungary, wild blowing, floats the air.

.

And around stand, waist and empty, wide fields where once there roll’d

The yellow sheaves of harvest, like a waving sea of gold;

Did the reaper watch his season to cut the ripen’d grain,

Or did the Hungarian pasture his horse upon the plain?

.

See hill-top green on hill-top the azure stream along,

Once grapes hung there in clusters, once music swell’d and song;

When the vine-dresser plucks thy clusters, he takes his own by stealth,

At night alone he rifles his vineyard’s purple wealth.

.

Stand churches white and shining on all the hills around,

Where bell and song are silenced, stifled wailings only sound;

Thanks, thanks alone, once blended there with the merry chime of bells—

There is little left to pray for where Thrift with Freedom dwells.

.

Now sorrow rise on sorrows, and smoking cloud on cloud,

“Approach, and save thy people!” they seem to cry aloud;

And flaming sounds the answer return’d from Max’s breast,

“Deliverance shall give thee prosperity and rest!

.

“My Austria, peerless Austria! All lands to thee must yield,

Truth shines as thy escutcheon, hold fast the diamond shield!

Rolls o’er thy head an atmosphere that blessing ever fills,

And silver are thy highways, and golden are thy hills.

.

“My greetings to thee, Austria! Yet how we meet again,

When misery shrouds thy hill-top, and misery sweeps thy plain—

Thine air the smoke of villages, thy rivers streams of blood,

Despair thine only chorus, and Truth thine only good!

.

“Thou city of my fathers! What a sad meeting ours!

See blood-soaked banners flapping from my ancestral towers;

And I, alas! Who gladly the crown of peace would bring,

Must crackling garlands of fire about thy turrets swing.

.

“Thou hast suffer’d, and must suffer, and yet thou wilt not fall,

The prison of suffering arches itself to a dome of joy for all;

O, that a fitting guerdon might crown thy strength and truth,

And shine on thee from the darkness a day of spring and youth!”

 

To be continued…


Anastasius Grün: “The Last Poet”

Anton Alexander von Auersperg: This writer, belonging to the noble and princely house of Auersperg, was born April 11, 1806.He is known under the poetical pseudonym of Anastasius Grün.His poem entitled “The Last Knight” appeared in Munich in 1831; and his piece called “Walks of a Poet in Vienna” have gained him great celebrity, and placed him among the best of the living German Poets.Translated by N.L. Frothingham.

The Last Poet

 “When will your bards be weary

Of rhyming on?  How long

Ere it is sung and ended,

The old, eternal song?

 

“It is not, long since, empty,

The horn of full supply;

And all the posies gathered,

And all the fountains dry?”

 

As long as the sun’s chariot

Yet keeps its azure track,

And but one human visage

Gives answering glances back;

 

As long as skies shall nourish

The thunderbolt and gale,

And, frightened at their fury,

One throbbing heart shall quail;

 

As long as after tempests

Shall spring one showery bow,

One breast with peaceful promise

And reconcilement glow;

 

As long as night the concave

Sows with its starry seed,

And but one man those letters

Of golden writ can read;

 

Long as a moonbeam glimmers,

Or bosom sighs a vow;

Long as the wood-leaves rustle

To cool a weary brow;

 

As long as roses blossom,

And earth is green in May;

As long as eyes shall sparkle

And smile in pleasure’s ray;

 

As long as cypress shadows

The graves more mournful make,

Of one cheek ‘s wet with weeping,

Or one poor heart can break;–

 

So long on earth shall wander

The goddess Poesy,

And with her, one exulting

Her votarist to be.

 

And singing on, triumphing,

The old earth-mansion through,

Out marches the last minstrel;

He is the last man too.

 

The Lord holds the creation

Forth in his hand meanwhile,

Like a fresh flower just opened;

And views it with a smile.

 

When once this Flower Giant

Begins to show decay,

And earths and suns are flying

Like blossom-dust away;

 

Then ask – if of the question

Not weary yet,– “How long

Ere it is sung and ended,

The old, eternal song?”

.

.