Adolf Ludwig Follen: “Blücher’s Ball”

In the battle of Katzbach, which was fought on the 26th of August, 1813, the Russians and Prussians, under the command of the veteran Field-marshal Blücher, defeated the French, who were led by Macdonald, Ney, Lauriston and Sabastiani, and were driven pell-mell into the Katzbach.Skirmishes had previously taken place at Goldberg and Jauer.The day of the battle was rainy, and the soldiers fought with clubbed muskets.The poet represents the scene as a ball, under the direction of old Blücher, who had received, from his vigor and promptitude, the name of “Marshal Forward.”


Battle of Katzbach – Klein, 1825


By the Katzbach, by the Katzbach, ha!

There was a merry dance;

Wild and weird and whirling waltzes skipped

Ye through, ye knaves of France!


For there struck the great bass-viol

An old German man famed,

Marshal Forward, Prince of Wallstadt,

Gebhardt Lebrecht von Blücher named.


Up! The Blücher hath the ball-room

Lighted with the cannon’s glare!

Spread yourselves, ye gay, green carpets,

That the dancing moistens there!


And his fiddle-bow at first he waved

With Goldberg and with Jauer;

Whew!  He’s drawn it now full length,

His play a stormy northern shower!


Ha!  The dance went briskly onward,

Tingling madness seized them all;

As when howling, mighty tempests

On the arms of windmills fall.


But the old man wants it cheery,

Wants a pleasant dancing chime;

And with gun-stocks clearly, loudly,

Beats the old Teutonic time.


Say, who, standing by the old man,

Strikes so hard the kettle-drum,

And, with crushing strength of arm,

Down lets the thundering hammer come?


Gneisenau, the gallant champion:

Alemannia’s envious foes

Smites the mighty pair, her living double-eagle,

Shivering blows.