Category Archives: Anton Alexander von Auersperg

Anastasius Grün: “The Unknown”

Excerpt, “Specimens of the Choicest Lyrical Productions of the Most Celebrated German Poets, from Klopstock to the Present Time.”  With Biographical and Literary Notes translated in English Verse by Mary Anne Burt.  1856.

the unknown3

Anastasius Grün: “The Muse Called to Judgment”

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

Anastasius Grün:  “Whither!”

Excerpt, “German Lyrics.”  Translated by Charles T. Brooks.  1853.


Count Anton Alexander von Auersperg, also known under the pen name of Anastasius Grün (1806-1876), was an Austrian poet and liberal politician. Born in the capital of the Austrian Duchy of Carniola, he received his education first at the University of Graz, then at Vienna, where he studied jurisprudence.
In 1830, Auersperg succeeded to his ancestral property, and in 1832 appeared as a member at the Estates of Carniola on the Herrenbank of the diet in Laibach. Here he distinguished himself by his outspoken criticism of the Austrian government, leading the opposition of the duchy to the exactions of the central power. In 1832 the title of imperial chamberlain was conferred upon him.
After the Revolution of 1848 in Vienna, he represented the district of Laibach in the German Frankfort Parliament, to which he tried in vain to persuade his Slovene compatriots to send representatives. In 1861 he was nominated a life member of the Austrian upper house (Herrenhaus).
Count Auersperg’s first publication, a collection of lyrics, Blätter der Liebe (1830); his second production, Der letzte Ritter (1830), brought his genius to light. It celebrates the deeds and adventures of the emperor Maximilian (1499-1519) in a cycle of poems written in the strophic rhyme of the Nibelungenlied. But Auersperg’s fame rests almost exclusively on his political poetry; two collections entitled Spaziergänge eines Wiener Poeten (1831) and Schutt (1835) created a sensation in Germany by their originality and bold Realism. These two books, which are remarkable not merely for their outspoken opinions, but also for their easy versification and powerful imagery, were the forerunners of the German political poetry of 1840-1848.

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' 
prison ban.

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
happy evermore.

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?"



Anastasus Grün: “The Poetry of Steam”

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

train 1870s germany



I hear sad hymns and downcast faces see—

Our prophet-bards have had a boding dream,

A mournful vision of dear poetry

For ever banished from the earth—by steam!


What! had your crooked roads, then, such a grace,

That long, straight lines must grieve a Poet’s eye?

Is just five miles an hour the Poet’s pace?

And must not Pegasus attempt to fly?


Out with your coach, as in a happier day,

Harness again your gall’d and spavin’d team,

(But keep within the old ruts all the way)

And chase the goddess borne away by steam!


Or take a boat and row well (if you can)

After a steamer on the swelling sea,

And never murmur though the waterman

Can tell you nothing of your poetry.


Or man a ship and every random gust,

Sent from the wind-god catch within your rag,

As gladly as a beggar some stale crust

Takes with a bow and drops into his bag.


Or, if ’tis calm, ’twill quite poetic be

There, as if ice-bound, on a summer’s day;—

Perhaps a dolphin rising from the sea,

Of poetry may something have to say;


While I, along the vine-clad, rocky Rhine,

On a black swan, the steamer, proudly swim,

And, lifting up a cup of golden wine,

Sing loudly human art’s triumphal hymn;


And gladly celebrate the master-hand,

That seiz’d the fire-flame, like Prometheus old,

And, through the black shaft ‘mid the grassy land,

Dragg’d up the iron from Earth’s rocky hold;


And gave command to both—”ye shall not rest

Till striving man is from his bondage free;

Go, fire, and bear man’s burdens, east and west,

And, wheels of iron, on his errands flee!”


See how they go, with thunder, through the land—

Beneath the steam-clouds heavy masses flee;

So marches on an elephantine band,

With towers and battlements, to victory.


See, from his seat beneath the shady tree,

The village patriarch from his sleep arise,

And, throwing up his nightcap hastily,

Share in his grandsons’ rapture and surprise!


And, ‘mid some fears, he hopes for better days,

For which, in youth, he ventur’d in the fight—

“May this new power,” the village-patriarch prays,

“Establish Fatherland and freedom’s right!”



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





I sat upon a mountain,

Far from my native land,

Beneath me upland ridges,

Dales, corn and meadow land!


The ring from off my finger

In dreamy thought I drew,

The pledge of love she gave me.

When last we bade adieu.


Before mine eye I held it,

Like a telescope unfurled,

And through its little circle

Gazed down upon the world.


Ye smiling verdant mountains,

Ye gold fields of corn,

No, ne’er did fair picture

A fairer frame adorn!


Here cottages gleam brightly,

On verdant slope and hill,

There scythe and sickle gleaming

Beside the valley’s rill.


And yonder plain, where proudly

The foaming torrent swells,

Beyond, blue granite mountains,

The frontier’s sentinels.


And towns with gleaming steeples,

Woods clad in verdure’s prime,

And clouds that, like my longing,

Flee to a distant clime.


As by a frame surrounded,

My golden circle spanned,

The earth and Heaven’s azure,

Man and his dwelling land.


Fair picture, thus to gaze on,

By love’s gold circle spanned.

The earth and Heaven’s azure,

Man and his dwelling land.



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