Category Archives: Gottlieb Conrad Pfeffel

Gottfried Conrad Pfeffel: “Music of the Spheres”

Excerpt, “German Lyric Poetry:  A Collection of Songs and Ballads.”  Translated from the Best German Lyric Poets, with Notes by Charles Timothy Brooks.  1863.


A youth, by chance, one day, o’er Plato pouring,

About a music of the spheres had read.

“Ha! I must hear it,” to himself he said,

And straightaway fell upon his knees, imploring

Great Jupiter, his wishes to fulfill.

“Rash boy,” said Jove, “thou canst not have thy will;

The heavenly concert of the spheres

Is not for mortal ears.” –

He ceased not still to tease the god,

Till Zeus at last no more could bear it.

And so resolved to let him hear it.


Accordingly he gives the nod:

The youth hears suddenly through all the skies –

And what? – A frightful din and discord rise.

A thousand voiced song

Sweeping on Desolation’s wings along,

With all the thunders ever hurled

By hand of vengeance on the world,

Were but the buzzing of a bee

To this tempestuous round of melody.


“O Zeus, what is it rends my ears?”

The youth exclaims, all stiff and pale;

“Is this the music of the spheres?
So bellowed never hungry hell!

Ha, wouldst thou only strike me deaf,

Thou frightful god, ’twere some relief.”

Jove from a cloud calls down in turn,

“Men are not gods, thou here canst learn;

’Tis dreadful discord to thy ears,

To mine – the music of the spheres.”






Gottlieb Conrad Pfeffel: “The Tobacco-Pipe”

This distinguished author was born in 1736, at Colmarin Alsatia.In his fifteenth year, he commenced the study of law in Halle, but his studies were interrupted by a disease in the eyes which terminated in 1757 in total blindness.He married in 1759, and the next year published his first attempts.In 1763, he became a court councilor at Darmstadt.In 1773, he established a school in Colmarwhich continued until it was overthrown by the French Revolution.In 1803, he was made President of the Protestant Consistory at Colmar.He died the 1st of May, 1809.
As a poet, he was distinguished in fable and poetical narrative.He wrote also epistles, didactic poems, ballads, lyrical poems, and pieces for the stage.His poetical works were published inTübingenandStuttgart, in ten parts, 1803-10.A selection from his fables and poetical narratives were published by Hauff,StuttgartandTübingen, in two volumes, 1840.


Prince Eugene of Savoy during the Battle of Belgrade 1717
Johann Gottfried Auerbach (1697-1753)


The Tobacco-Pipe


“Old man, God bless you!

Does your pipe taste sweetly?

A beauty, by my soul!

A red clay flower-pot,

Rimmed with gold so neatly!

What ask you for the bowl?”


“O Sir, that bowl for worlds I would not part with;

A brave man gave it me,

Who won it – now what think you? – of a bashaw,

At Belgrade’s victory.


“There, Sir, ah! There was booty worth the showing, –

Long life to Prince Eugene!

Like after-grass you might have seen us mowing

The Turkish ranks down clean.”


“Another time I’ll hear your story:

Come, old man, be no fool;

Take these two ducats, – gold for glory, –

And let me have the bowl!”


“I’m a poor churl, as you may say, Sir;

My pension’s all I’m worth:

Yet I’d not give that bowl away, Sir,

For all the gold on earth.


“Just hear now!  Once, as we hussars, all merry,

Hard on the foe’s rear pressed,

A blundering rascal of a janizary

Shot through our captain’s breast.


“At once across my horse I hove him, –

The same would he have done, –

And from the smoke and tumult drove him

Safe to a nobleman.


“I nursed him; and, before his end, bequeathing

His money and this bowl

To me, he pressed my hand, just ceased his breathing,

And so he died, brave soul!


“The money thou must give mine host, – so

Thought I, –

Three plunderings suffered he:

And, in remembrance of my old friend, brought I

The pipe away with me.


“Henceforth in all campaigns with me I bore it,

In flight or in pursuit;

It was a holy thing, Sir, and I wore it

Safe-sheltered in my boot.


“This very limb, I lost it by a shot, Sir,

Under the walls of Prague:

First at my precious pipe, be sure, I caught, Sir,

And then picked up my leg.”


“You move me even to tears, old Sire:

What was the brave man’s name?

Tell me, that I, too, may admire

And venerate his fame.”


“They called him only the brave Walter;

His fame lay near the Rhine.”

“God bless your old eyes! ‘t was my father,

And that same farm is mine.


“Come, friend, you’ve seen some stormy weather;

With me is now your bed;

We’ll drink of Walter’s grapes together,

And eat of Walter’s bread.”


“Now – done!  I march in, then, tomorrow:

You’re his true heir, I see;

And when I die, your thanks, kind master,

The Turkish pipe shall be.”