Category Archives: J.L. Uhland


J. Ludwig Uhland: “Tom Thumb”

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

tom thumb

Ludwig Uhland: “The Ancestral Vault”

Excerpt, “Ballads from the German.”  Translator, Henry Englis.  1864.

Nor-Varagavank-3

The Ancestral Vault

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There went a hoary war-worn sire

Across the solitary wold,

Up to the sanctuary old,

And stepped into the gloomy choir.

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In ranks, the bannered vault along,

The grim ancestral coffins lay;

And through the darkness came alway

A warning, wondrous strain of song.

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“Ye warriors, in your shrouds of mail,

Your stately burial-dirge I hear;

It calls me to yon empty bier—

It bids your latest kinsman hail.”

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There stood, by shadows half concealed,

One empty bier amongst the dead;

He laid him in the narrow bed,

Cold pillowed on his dinted shield.

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His sword, recumbent on his breast,

Was folded in the sleep of death;

Hushed was the ghostly anthem’s breath,

And the dead warriors were at rest.

 

J. Ludwig Uhland: “The Mower’s Maiden”

Excerpt, “German Ballads, Songs, etc., comprising translations from Schiller, Uhland, Burger, Goethe, Korner, Becker,  Fouque, Chamisso, etc., etc.” London:  Edward Lumley. 1900.

The Mowers Maiden

The Mower’s Maiden.

“Good morrow to thee, Mary ! right early art thou laden !

Love hath not made thee slothful, thou true and steadfast maiden!

Ay, if in three brief days, methinks, thy task of work be done,

I shall no longer have the heart to part thee from my son.”

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It was a wealthy farmer spake, it was a maiden listened:

Oh, how her loving bosom swelled, and how her full eye glistened !

New life is in her limbs, her hand outdoes her comrades all,

See how she wields the scythe, and see how fast the full crops fall!

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And when the noon grows sultry; and the weary peasants wend

To sleep in pleasant thickets, and o’er cooling streams to bend;

Still are the humming-bees at work beneath that burning sky,

And Mary, diligent as they, works on unceasingly.

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The sun hath sunk, the evening bell gives gentle summons home;

” Enough,” her neighbours cry, ” enough ! come, Mary, prithee come! “

Shepherds, and flocks, and husbandmen, pass homeward through the dew,

But Mary only whets her scythe and goes to work anew.

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And now the dews are thickening, the moon and stars are bright,

Sweet are the new-mown furrows, and sweet the songs of night;

But Mary lies not down to rest, and stands not still to hear,

The rustling of her ceaseless scythe is music to her ear.

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Even thus from morn till evening, even thus from eve to morn,

She toils, by strong love nourished, by happy hope upborne;

Till when the third day’s sun arose, the labour was complete,

And there stood Mary weeping, for joy so strange and sweet.

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“Good morrow to thee, Mary! How now ? — the task is done!

Lo, for such matchless industry, rich guerdon shall be won;

But for the wedding—nay indeed—my words were only jest;

How foolish and how credulous we find a lover’s breast!”

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He spake and went his way, and there the hapless maid stood still,

Her weary limbs they shook, they sank, her heart grew stiff and chill ;

Speech, sense, and feeling, like a cloud, did from her spirit pass,

And there they found her lying upon the new-mown grass!

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And thus a dumb and death-like life for years the maiden led,

A drop of fragrant honey was all her daily bread.

Oh, make her grave in pleasant shades, where softest flow’rets grow,

For such a loving heart as hers is seldom found below !

 

J. Ludwig Uhland: King Charles’s Sea-Voyage

Excerpt, “Gems of German Poetry:  A Collection of the Choicest German Songs and Ballads.” Translated into English by the Most Eminent Authors. 1896. Translated by Walter William Skeat.

charlemagne_paladins

King Charles’s Sea-Voyage

 

King Charles with all his douciperes
Across the ocean sailed;
Towards the Holy Land he steers —
A dreadful storm prevailed.

Out spake Sir Roland, hero brave:
” I well can fence and fight;
Yet little may such arts avail
Against the tempest’s might. ”

Next spake Sir Holgar, Denmark’s pride:
” I’ve skill with harp and song;
What ‘vails me this, when thus contends
The blast with billows strong? ” 

Sir Oliver felt little cheer;
He viewed his weapons keen:
” It is not for my life I fear,
But Alta Clara’s sheen! ”

Next spake the treach’rous Ganelon —
In undertone he spake: —
” Were I but far from hence on land,
The rest the fiend might take! ”

Archbishop Turpin sighed aloud:
” God’s champions stout are we;
Come, Saviour dear, from Holy Land,
And guide us o’er the sea. “

Next Richard — Dauntless named — ‘gan say:
” Ye powers and imps of hell;
Now help me in my need, I pray,
I oft have served you well. ”

Sir Naime next his rede began: —
” I’ve counselled much this year;
But water sweet and counsel good
On shipboard oft are dear. ”

Then spake Rioul, a veteran brave: —
” A warrior old am I,
And fain would hope my corse at last
In good dry ground may lie. “

Sir Guy, a young and gallant knight,
Right gaily ‘gan to sing:
” I would I were a lightsome bird,
I’d to my love take wing! ”

Then spake Guarine, that noble knight:
” May God our succour be!
I’d rather drink the good red wine
Than water from the sea. ”

Sir Lambert next, brave youngster, cried:
” God our protection be!
I’d rather eat the dainty fish
Than that the fish ate me! ”

Last spake Sir Godfrey, far renowned:
” What matters what befal?
Whatever fate myself o’ertakes
Shall whelm my brethren all. ”

King Charles beside the rudder sat,
No word his lips would vent;
With sure control the ship he steered
Until the storm was spent.

charlemagne_bayard

 

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