Category Archives: Ferdinand Freiligrath


Ferdinand Freiligrath: “The Hussar Horse”

Excerpt, “Poems from the German of Ferdinand Freiligrath.” Edited by his daughter. Kate Freiligrath. Leipzig: 1871.

Ferdinand Freiligrath: “To Wolfgang in the Field”

Excerpt, “Poems from the German of Ferdinand Freiligrath.” Edited by his daughter. Kate Freiligrath. Leipzig: 1871.

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Ferdinand Freiligrath: “Westphalian Summer Song”

Excerpt, “Poems from the German of Ferdinand Freiligrath.” Edited by his daughter. Kate Freiligrath. Leipzig: 1871.

WESTPHALIAN SUMMER SONG

Ferdinand Freiligrath: “Drinking Song of the Westphalian Students”

Excerpt, “A Book of Ballads from the German.”  Translated by Percy Boyd, Esq.  1848.

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Ferdinand Freiligrath: “Hungary: New Year’s Eve 1848”

Excerpt, Poems from the German of Ferdinand Freiligrath, Edited by his Daughter. 1871.

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Hungary

New Year’s Eve 1848

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Across the heath is streaming

The bivouac’s nightly fire;

The crooked scythe is gleaming

In the hands of the Magyar;

Herd and homestead leaving,

To the saddlebow he’s cleaving,

Or bends o’er the fascine;

And, ’neath his iron riding,

Thy stormy song is chiding,

Danube! Thou Heather-queen!

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She shouts within her borders,

She swells with rage and pride;

“God speed! Ye brown marauders,

Hot Hungary’s human tide!

Ye hunters and ye herders,

Ye dauntless cymbal-girders!

Wild fifers ye! Who dare,

The last for right uniting,

Tho’ tattered with long fighting,

The flag of freedom bear!

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Skirmish_during_Hungarian_Revolution_1848-1849.

“Betrayed in every quarter,

Betrayed and then maligned,

Ye saved above the slaughter

The standard of mankind;

High o’er your chargers bounding,

Blood-ice its folds surrounding,

Ye shake the flag of fate.

Thus—thus ye spread it o’er me,

Thus—thus with victory’s glory

The year inaugurate.

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“Look here, each western nation!

One people still can feel

Rebellion’s bold salvation

In its gauntlet-grasp of steel!

In dim far eastern regions—

Outpost of freedom’s legions—

The tides of battle swell,

Whose waves, their reflux taking,

And every fetter breaking,

Shall make you free as well!

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“Hear ye the buglar’s clangor?

Hear ye the courser’s neigh?

See ye the red waves’ anger?

’Tid Raab’s great battle-day!

Charge! Charge! My riders fearless!

Charge! Charge! Kossuth my peerless!”

So sounds the Danube’s song;

So rolls she, hoarsely chiding,

Through her deep-set channels gliding,

To dull Stamboul along.

 

 

F. Freiligrath: “The Alexandrine”

Excerpt, Poems from the German of Ferdinand Freiligrath, 1871.

 

Arabian-Horse

 

THE ALEXANDRINE

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Spring out, my desert horse,

from Alexandria!

My wild one — Such a steed

was never tamed by Shah

Or Emir upon Eastern plain,

Or any else who mount

into a princely seat —

Where thunders thro’ the sand,

a hoof like thine so fleet?

Where flashes such a tail or mane?

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Thy angry snort is —

Hale even as it thus is writ;

Thou standest spuming dust,

and reckless of the bit.

The breezes in thy forelocks dance.

Thine eyeballs sparkle fire,

thy panting haunches smoke —

Thou art not such a horse as

that which Boileau broke,

And tutored with the wit of France!

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He plods submissive on,

the leading reins his guide.

Caesura only is a ditch

on the wayside,

For this old sleek and sober horse;

Rash fire for him he knows

to be no fitting thing,

He sniffs and paws awhile,

then clears with easy spring,

And decently jogs on his course.

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To thee, my fiery horse,

it is a rocky chasm

Of Sinai — the reins

are burst with eager spasm —

Rush on — there yawns

the cleft asunder!

Blood from thy fetlock starts —

a snort, a fearful spring—

Tis cleared — from out the rock,

thy hoof of iron wring

The flash of flint,

the echo’s thunder!

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And downwards now again!

Dash through the glowing sand,

Rush on unheeding,

reined by my unfailing hand,

I’ll guide thee safe and gloriously;

Heed not thy sweat, for when

the stars of evening blink,

I’ll lead thee slow, and thou

shalt lave thy thirst and drink

Luxuriant from the mighty sea!

 

 

 

Ferdinand Freiligrath: “Napoleon In Bivouac”

Excerpt, “A Metrical History of the Life and Times of Napoleon Bonaparte: A Collection of Poems and Songs. Many from Obscure and Anonymous Sources, Selected and Arranged with Introductory Notes and Connective Narrative.” William J. Hillis. 1896.

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Battle of Aboukir Bay,  25 July 1798, by Louis Lejeune

Although the result of the battle of the Nile was a fatal blow to the hopes of Napoleon of ever being able to carry out, to a successful issue, his cherished schemes concerning the establishment of a mighty empire in the East, yet he did not relinquish the idea of doing a great work there.

The gallant Desaix was sent in pursuit of Mourad Bey, and soon he had possession of all Upper Egypt, over which Napoleon made him Governor.  The French scientists minutely examined and made record of every object of interest to be found in the country of the old Pharaohs.

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Battle of Mount Thabor, 16 April 1799, by Louis Lejeune

Napoleon, in person, inspected the proposed route of a canal in Suez, to connect the Mediterranean with the Red Sea, and it was at the identical spot where tradition tells us the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea that he and his party were nearly drowned by the rising tide.  “Had I perished there like Pharaoh,” he said, “it would have furnished all the preachers in Christendom with a magnificent text against me.”

Then followed the battle of Mount Tabor, the siege of Acre, and the glorious victory at Aboukir.  Master of Egypt, his work done, so far as it lay in his power to accomplish it, in sight of Pompey’s Pillar and  Cleopatra’s Needle, surrounded by shades of those heroes who made ancient history famous, Napoleon, sitting before his tent with a map of the world on his knees, falls asleep; to dream, perchance, of future glory and the wondrous fate still to be his.

 

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Napoleon in Bivouac

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A watch-fire on a sandy waste
Two trenches – arms in stack
A pyramid of bayonets
Napoleon’s bivouac!

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Yonder the stately grenadiers
Of Kleber’s vanguard see.
The general to inspect them
Close by the blaze sits he.

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Upon his weary knee the chart,
There, by the flowing heap,
Softly the mighty Bonaparte
Sinks, like a child to sleep.

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And stretched on cloak and cannon,
His soldiers, too, sleep well,
And, leaning on his musket nods
The very sentinel.

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Sleep on, ye weary warriors, sleep
Sleep out your last hard fight
Mute, shadowy sentinels shall keep
Watch round your trench tonight.

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Let Murad’s horsemen dash along!
Let man and steed come on!
To guard your line stalks many a strong
And stalwart Champion.

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A Mede stands guard, who with you rode
When you from Thebes marched back,
Who after King Cambyses strode,
Hard in his chariot’s track.

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A stately Macedonian
Stands sentry by your line,
Who saw on Ammon’s plain the crown
Of Alexander shine.

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And, lo, Another spectre!
Old Nile has known him well;
An Admiral of Caesar’s fleet,
Who under Caesar fell.

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The graves of earth’s old lords, who sleep
Beneath the desert sands,
Send forth their dead, his guard to keep,
Who now the world commands.

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They stir, they wake,their places take
Around the midnight flame;
The sand and mould I see them shake
From many a mail-clad frame.

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I see the ancient armour gleam
With wild and lurid light:
Old, bloody purple mantles stream
Out on the winds of night.

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They float and flap around a brow
By boiling passion stirred;
The hero, as in anger, now
Deep breathing, grasps his sword.

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He dreams; a hundred realms, in dreams,
Erect him each a throne;
High on a car, with golden beam,
He sits as Ammon’s son.

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With thousand throats, to welcome him
The glowing Orient cries,
While at his feet the fire grows dim,
Gives one faint flash – and dies.

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Ferdinand Freiligrath: The Spectre-Caravan

Excerpt, Poems from the German of Ferdinand Freiligrath, Edited by his Daughter. 1871.

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Ferdinand Freiligrath: “The Amphitrite”

From ‘Poems from the German of Ferdinand Freiligrath’ 1826-1840, translated by G.E. Shirley

 

THE AMPHITRITE

 

Seest thou the Amphitrite

At anchor yonder lie?

A festal gleam lies round her,

The crimson streamers fly.

 

Hauled to the yards are hanging,

The sails now laid aside,

The foam-lipped sea-god kisses

The cheeks of his sea-bride.

 

She’s newly reached the haven,

From the Far East arrived,

Has braved the tempest’s fury

And tropic heat survived.

 

The Captain by the main-mast

Stands girt with cincture red,

Nor knows what guest he harboured

As home the good ship sped.

 

’Tis May the young, the blooming,

Who calls the South his home,

That in the stately vessel

O’er the blue wave has come.

 

On India’s strand reclining,

’Neath Banyon shades he lay,

And saw the ship weigh anchor,

Prepared to sail away.

 

Upon the sand up sprang he,

His sandal-string to tie,

To gather up his raiment,

Soft shawls of richest dye.

 

Then toward the sea he darted,

Leaped headlong in the tide,

Nor rest he till he’s grasping,

The rope at the ship’s side.

 

With nimble step and daring,

Unseen by all the crew,

He swung on board the vessel,

Straightway the land-wind blew.

 

As soon as in the haven,

The brig had safely come,

Bedecked with gayest colors,

At once to land he swum.

 

The storks with flight prophetic

Are floating on before;

A juggler, a magician,

He steps upon our shore.

 

He clothes the trees with verdure,

Bare plots with flowers he fills,

Bids hyacinths to blossom,

Gay tulips, daffodils.

 

The earth in marvelous splendour

He decks; bright hues appear,

Thanks, bold Lascar! and welcome,

Lithe swimmer, welcome here!

 

Seest thou the Amphitrite

At anchor yonder lie?

A festal gleam plays round her,

The crimson streamers fly.

 

 

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