Excerpt, “The Spirit of German Poetry: A Series of translations from the German Poets, with Critical and Biographical Notices. ” Translated by Joseph Gostick. 1845.
A SALON SCENE
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'
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
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?"
To be continued…
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?”