Category Archives: J.L. Uhland
Excerpt, “German Lyric Poetry: A Collection of Songs and Ballads.” Translated from the Best German Lyric Poets, with Notes by Charles Timothy Brooks. 1863.
Excerpt, “Ballads from the German.” Translator, Henry Englis. 1864.
The Ancestral Vault
There went a hoary war-worn sire
Across the solitary wold,
Up to the sanctuary old,
And stepped into the gloomy choir.
In ranks, the bannered vault along,
The grim ancestral coffins lay;
And through the darkness came alway
A warning, wondrous strain of song.
“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.”
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.
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.
Excerpt, “German Ballads, Songs, etc., comprising translations from Schiller, Uhland, Burger, Goethe, Korner, Becker, Fouque, Chamisso, etc., etc.” London: Edward Lumley. 1900.
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.”
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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!”
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!
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 !
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.
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.
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