Schiller: “The Glove”

THE GLOVE (1797)

A Tale

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Before his lion-court,

To see the gruesome sport,

Sate the king;

Beside him group’d his princely peers;

And dames aloft, in circling tiers,

Wreath’d round their blooming ring.

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King Francis, where he sate,

Raised a finger–yawn’d the gate,

And, slow from his repose,

A LION goes!

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Dumbly he gazed around

The foe-encircled ground;

And, with a lazy gape,

He stretch’d his lordly shape,

And shook his careless mane,

And–laid him down again!

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A finger raised the king–

And nimbly have the guard

A second gate unbarr’d;

Forth, with a rushing spring,

A TIGER sprung!

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Wildly the wild one yell’d

When the lion he beheld;

And, bristling at the look,

With his tail his sides he strook,

And roll’d his rabid tongue;

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In many a wary ring

He swept round the forest king,

With a fell and rattling sound;–

And laid him on the ground,

Grommelling!

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The king raised his finger; then

Leap’d two LEOPARDS from the den

With a bound;

And boldly bounded they

Where the crouching tiger lay

Terrible!

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And he gripped the beasts in his deadly hold;

In the grim embrace they grappled and roll’d;

Rose the lion with a roar!

And stood the strife before;

And the wild-cats on the spot,

From the blood-thirst, wroth and hot,

Halted still!

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Now from the balcony above,

A snowy hand let fall a glove:–

Midway between the beasts of prey,

Lion and tiger; there it lay,

The winsome lady’s glove!

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Fair Cunigonde said, with a lip of scorn,

To the knight DELORGES–“If the love you have sworn

Were as gallant and leal as you boast it to be,

I might ask you to bring back that glove to me!”

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The knight left the place where the lady sate;

The knight he has pass’d thro’ the fearful gate;

The lion and tiger he stoop’d above,

And his fingers have closed on the lady’s glove!

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All shuddering and stunn’d, they beheld him there–

The noble knights and the ladies fair;

But loud was the joy and the praise, the while

He bore back the glove with his tranquil smile!

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With a tender look in her softening eyes,

That promised reward to his warmest sighs,

Fair Cunigonde rose her knight to grace;

He toss’d the glove in the lady’s face!

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“Nay, spare me the guerdon, at least,” quoth he;

And he left forever that fair ladye!

The Knight scorns Cunigonde

Sir Walter Scott: “Song of the Imprisoned Huntsman”

by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), “Song of the Imprisoned Huntsman” from The Lady of the Lake, The Guard Room, XXIV.
Set by Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828) , “Lied des gefangenen Jägers”, op. 52 no. 7, D. 843 (1825).

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“Lied des gefangenen Jägers”

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 My hawk is tired of perch and hood.
My idle greyhound loathes his food,
My horse is weary of his stall
And I am sick of captive thrall.

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I wish I were, as I have been,
Hunting the hart in forest green,
With bended bow and bloodhound free,
For that’s the life is meet for me.

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I hate to learn the ebb of time
From yon dull steeple’s drowsy chime,
Or mark it as the sunbeams crawl,
Inch after inch, along the wall.

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The lark was wont my matins ring,
The sable rook my vespers sing;
These towers, although a king’s they be,
Have not a hall of joy for me.

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No more at dawning morn I rise,
And sun myself in Ellen’s eyes,
Drive the fleet deer the forest through,
And homeward wend with evening dew.

Fernando De Herrera: “Ode On The Battle of Lepanto”

Excerpt, W. Herbert, “Translations from the Italian, Spanish, Portugal, etc.” London: 1806.

Fernando De Herrera was born in Seville about 1510. Little is known of the circumstances of his life. He appears to have been an ecclesiastic, but of what rank is not recorded. He is spoken of as an excellent scholar in Latin, and of having a moderate knowledge of Greek. He read the best authors in the modern languages, and studied profoundly the Castilian, of which he became a distinguished master.

Herrera was a vigorous and elegant prose writer as well as poet. Many of his works, however, are lost. His best productions are lyrical. The ode on the Battle of Lepanto, and that on the death of Sebastian of Portugal, are of remarkable excellence. He is praised by Cervantes, who says, “The ivy of his fame will cling to the walls of immortality.”

On 7 October 1571, Don John of Austria, son of the Emperor Charles V, commanding the navies of the Pope and the Emperor, together with the navies of Spain and Venice, defeated a much larger Turkish navy off the coast of Greece at a place now called Naupactos. To the men of his day this place was called by its Roman name: Lepanto!

Lepanto

Ode on the Battle of Lepanto

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The tyrants of the world from hell’s abysm

Summoned the demons of revenge and pride,

The countless hosts in whom they did confide, –

And gathering round the flag of despotism

The priest, the slave, and the liberticide, –

All who had bound men’s souls within their den, –

Tore down the loftiest cedar of the height,

The tree sublime; and, drunk with anger then,

Threatened in ghastly bands our few astonished men.

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The little ones, confounded, trembled then

At their appalling fury; and their brow

Against the Lord of Hosts these impious men

Uplifting, sought with Heaven-insulting vow,

The triumph of thy people’s overthrow, –

Their armed hands extending, and their crest

Moving omnipotent, because that thou

Wert as a tower of refuge, to invest

All whom man’s quenchless hope had prompted to resist.

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Thou said those insolent and scornful ones;

“Knows not this earth the vengeance of our wrath,

The strength of our illustrious fathers’ thrones?

Or did the Roman power avail? Or hath

Rebellious Greece, in her triumphant path,

Scattered the seeds of freedom on your land?

Italia!Austria!Who shall save you both?

Is it your God? – Ha ha!Shall he withstand

The glory of our might, our conquering right hand?

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“Our Rome, now tamed and humbled, into tears

And psalms converts her songs of freedom’s rights;

And for her sad and conquered children fears

The carnage of more Cannae’s fatal fights,

Now Asia with her discord disunites;

Spain threatens with her horrors to asail

All who still harbour Moorish proselytes;

Each nation’s throne a traitor crew doth veil;

And, though in concord joined, what could their might avail?

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“Earth’s haughtiest nations tremble and obey,

And to our yoke their necks in peace incline.

And peace, for their salvation, of us pray,

Cry, ‘Peace!’ but that means death, when monarchs sign.

Vain is their hope!Their lights obscurely shine!

Their valiant gone, their virgins in our powers,

Their glories to our sceptres they resign:

From Nile to Euphrates and Tiber’s towers.

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Whate’er the all-seeing sun looks down on, all is ours.”

“Thou, Lord! Who wilt not suffer that thy glory

They should usurp who in their might put trust,

Hearing the vauntings of these anarchs hoary,

These holy ones beheld, whose horrid lust

Of triumph did thy sacred altars crust

With blood; nor wouldst thou longer that the base

Should he permitted to oppress thy just,

Then, mocking, cry to Heaven, “Within what place

Abides the God of these? Where hideth he his face?”

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For the due glory of thy righteous name,

For the just vengeance of thy race oppressed,

For the deep woes the wretched loud proclaim,

In pieces hast thou dashed the dragon’s crest,

And clipped the wings of the destroying pest:

Back to his cave he draws his poisonous fold,

And trembling hisses; then in torpid breast

Buries his fear:for thou, to Babel sold

Captive, no more on earth thy Zion wilt behold.

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Portentous Egypt, now with discord riven,

The avenging fire and hostile spear affright;

And the smoke, mounting to the light of heaven,

O’erclouds her cities in its pall of night:

In tears and solitude she mourns the sight,

But thou, O Graecia! The fierce tyrant’s stay,

The glory of her excellence and might,

Dost thou lament, old Ocean Queen, thy prey,

Nor fearing God, dost seek thine own regenerate day?

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Wherefore, ingrate, didst thou adorn thy daughters

In foul adultery with an impious race?

Why thus confederate in the unholy slaughters

Of those whose burning hope is thy disgrace?

With mournful heart, yet hypocritic face,

Follow the life abhorred of that vile crew?

God’s sharpened sword thy beauty shall efface,

Falling in vengeance on thy neck.O, who,

Thou lost one his right hand in mercy shall subdue?

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But thou, O pride of ocean! Lofty Tyre!

Whoin thy ships so high and glorious stood,

O’ershadowing earth’s limits, and whose ire

With trembling filled this orb’s vast multitude;

How have ye ended, fierce and haughty brood?

What power hath marked your sins and slaveries foul,

Your neck until this cruel yoke subdued?

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God, to avenge us, clouds thy sunlike soul,

And causes on thy wise this blinding storm to roll.

Howl, ships of Tarsus, howl! For, lo! Destroyed

Lies your high hope.Oppressors of the free!

Lost is your strength, your glory is defied.

Thou tyrant-shielder, who shall pity thee?

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And thou, O Asia! Who didst bow the knee

To Baal, in vice immerged, who shall atone

For thy idolatries?For God doth see

Thine ancient crimes, who silent prayers have flown

For vengeance unto Heaven before his judgment throne.

Those who behold thy mighty arms when shattered,

And Ocean flowing naked of thy pines,

Over his weary waves triumphant scattered

So long, but now wreck-strewn, in awful signs,

Shall say, beholding thy deserted shrines,

“Who ‘gainst the fearful One hath daring striven?

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The Lord of our Salvation their designs

O’erturned, and, for the glory of his heaven,

To man’s devoted race this victory hath given.”

Victors_of_Lepanto

The Victors of Lepanto

Don Juan de Austria, Marcantonio Colonna, Sebastiano Venier

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Emanuel von Geibel: “Silent Love”

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

Christoph Martin Wieland: “The Pain of Separation”

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

 

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Chamisso: “Peter Schlemihl”

 

To My old Friend
Peter Schlemihl

After long years once more thy writing lay
Before me, and – how wonderful – forth flew
Back on my heart our youthful friendship’s day,
When in the world’s great school we yet were new.
I now am an old man; my hair is grey,
And false shame I have long learned to subdue,
Yes! I will call thee friend, as I did then,
Will hail thee mine, and tell it unto men!

My poor, poor friend! the joggling fiend hath not
Me, as thyself, so treacherously undone;
Still have I striven, still hoped a brighter lot,
And truly, in the end, have little won’
Yet the Grey Man will boast not to have got
Hold of my shadow; nor hath ever done.
Here lies my native shadow, free unfurled:
I never lost my shadow in the world.

Yet, guiltless as a child, on me descended
The scorn men for thy nakedness did feel,
What! is our likeness then so subtly blended?
They shouted, “Where’s thy shadow, O Schlemihl?”
And when I showed it, laughing, they pretended
Blindness, and still laughed endless peal on peal.
What help? We learn in patience to endure;
Nay more – are glad – feel we our conscience pure.

And what then is the shadow? May I know it?
As I myself so oft am catechised?
Thus monstrously, and higher far to show it,
Than the harsh world itself it e’er hath prized?
Yes! and to nineteen thousand days we own it
Which passing o’er us, thus have us advised –
As formerly to shadow we gave being,
We now see life, a shadow, from us fleeing.

And thereupon we give our hands, Schlemihl!
On we will go, and to the Old One leave it;
How little for the whole world will we feel,
But our own union, firm and firmer weave it.
As thus unto our goal we nearer wheel,
Who laughs or blames — we’ll hear not, nor conceive it;
Till, ‘scaped from all the tempests of the deep
We’ll enter port, and sleep our soundest sleep.


Berlin, August 1834

Adelbert von Chamisso

 

 Excerpt, “The Wonderful History of Peter Schlemihl” by Adelbert von Chamisso. London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans. Paternoster Row. 1843. Translated by William Howitt.  Illustrated by A. Fleischmann.

Friedrich Halm: “My Heart…”

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

ladyknightdog

My heart, I fain would ask thee,

What call’st thou love, expound?

“Two souls with one thought between them,

Two hearts with one pulse-bound!”

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And say, from whence love cometh:

“She comes, and lo, she’s there!”

And say, how doth love vanish?

“If so, love never were.”

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And when is love the purest?

“When she herself excludes!”

And when is love the deepest?

“When silentest she broods!”

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And when is love the richest?

“Then when with gifts she’s fraught!”

And say, what is’t love speaketh?

“She loves, but speaketh nought!”

Collin: “Night and Dreams”

by Matthäus Kasimir von Collin (1779-1824), “Nachtfeier”

See Musical Video

By Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828), “Nacht und Träume”, op. 43 no. 2, D. 827 (1822?), published 1825. Translation © by KarenL.

nacht-und-traume

Nacht und Träume

Holy night, you sink down;
Dreams also float down
As your moonlight fills the room,
Fills the sleeping hearts of men.
They listen with pleasure;
Crying, when the day awakes:
Return, fair night!
Fair dreams, return!


C. A. Tiedge: “To the Sun”

By Christoph August Tiedge (1752-1841. Set by Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828) , “An die Sonne,” D. 272 (1815), published 1872. Translation © by Emily Ezust, from The Lied & Art Song Texts Page.

Heidelberger_Schloss_von_Carl_Rottmann_1815a

Historic Heidelberg – 1815, Carl Anton Joseph Rottman

 
An die Sonne

Regal morning sun,

I greet you in your bliss,

I greet you heartily in your splendour!

The hills are already flowing with the gold

of your robes, and the birds

in every wood are all awake.

 

Everything feels your blessing;

the meadows beneath you sing;

everything becomes harmony:

and you listen with pleasure to the choir

of the merry woods; o listen,

listen also to my song of praise.

 

August Graf von Platen-Hallermünde: “The Better Part”

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

Walther von der Vogelweide – Minnesinger

Excerpt, Edgar Taylor: “Lay of the Minnesingers, or German Troubadours of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries.” London: 1825.

Walther von der Vogelweide, one of the most distinguished of the Minnesingers, was born in the latter half of the Twelfth Century of a noble family belonging to the Upper Thurgau. The name Vogelweide (Bird-meadow) appears to have been taken from that of their castle. The poet led a wandering life; sometimes at the court of Frederic, the Duke of Austria and Stiria; then kindly received by Philip Augustus, King of France.
But he remained long at the magnificent court of the Landgrave of Thuringia, the great patron of the poets of his age, who instituted the poetical contest called the War of Wartburg, in which Walther took part. A work is still preserved called “The Wartburg War,” consisting of the alternate songs of the bards who took part in this poetical joust.
Tradition places the date of this tuneful tourney in the year 1207, the most brilliant epoch of ancient German poetry, not only for the illustrious names which have been handed down to our day, but for the impulse given to the ancient national and heroic poetry by unknown minstrels. Hermann, Landgrave of Thuringia, had gathered round his court many of the most famous Minnesingers, who had celebrated in lays and ballads the warlike deeds of his martial house.
Heinrich von Ofterdingen appears as the champion of the Austrian prince. He throws down the gauntlet to all the poets, and offers to maintain the virtues of his hero against all the singer tribe, under penalty of being hanged in case of defeat.
Walther, as court poet of the Thuringian prince, accepts the challenge, and enters the lists against Heinrich von Ofterdingen. Walther regrets that he is obliged to declare against the Duke of Austria and his brave cavaliers; then he praises the King of France, Philip Augustus, in whose reign the poetry of the North of France rivaled the glory of the Provençal muse.
This the poet could testify from his own knowledge, for he had crossed the Rhine and visited the banks of the Seine. But in the course of the contest he partially recants, and sets the gracious Duke above the monarch, calling him the Sun; but the Landgrave he compares to the brightness that precedes the Sun.
Ofterdingen complains of Walther, accuses him of playing an unfair game, and resorts to Klinsor of Hungary to sustain the supremacy of Austria. The other champions call for Stempfel of Eisenach, who stands ready the halter; but Ofterdingen is protected by the Landgravine, who intercedes in his defense.
The place of the scene was the great Wartburg castle, a hall that still exists, and is shown as a monument of the joust…
Walther seems to have adopted all the habits and manners of the wandering minstrels of the times. He traveled from court to court, generally received with honor, tarrying with the German princes who protected the arts of poetry and music, and sometimes at foreign courts, and was welcomed everywhere.

When from the sod and the flowerets spring,

And smile to meet the sun’s bright ray,

When birds their sweetest carols sing,

Is all the morning pride of May.

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What lovelier than the prospect there?

Can earth boast anything more fair?

To me it seems an almost heaven,

So beauteous to my eyes

That vision bright is given.

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But when a lady chaste and fair,

Noble, and clad in rich attire,

Walks through the throng with gracious sir,

As sun that bids the stars retire –

Then, where are all thy boastings, May?

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What hast though beautiful and gay,

Compared with that supreme delight?

We leave thy loveliest flowers,

And watch that lady bright.

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Wouldst thou believe me – come and place

Before thee all this pride of May;

Then look but on my lady’s face,

And which is best and brightest say,

For me, how soon (if choice were mine)

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This would I take, and that resign,

And say, “Though sweet thy beauties, May

I’d rather forfeit all than lose my lady gay!”

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Thomas Carlyle: “A Great Soul”

carlyle3

 a great soul3