Excerpt, “The Songs and Ballads of Uhland.” Translated from the German by the Rev. W. W. Skeat, M.A. 1864.
Illustrations from “German Poets and Their Times: A Series of Memoirs and Translations” by Joseph Gostwick with Portraits by C. Jager. 1874.
J. Ludwig Uhland (1787–1862)
Excerpt: “The Book of German Songs from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century.” Translated and Edited by H. W. Dulcken. 1856.
The gentle breezes have awakened,
They whisper and float day and night,
They create on all sides.
O fresh fragrance, o new sound!
Now, poor heart, be not afraid!
Now all, all must change.
The world becomes more beautiful with every day,
No one knows, what may become,
The blossoming will not end;
It blooms in the farthest, deepest valley:
Now, poor heart, forget thy pain!
Now all, all must change.
Excerpt, “Specimens of the Choicest Lyrical Productions of the Most Celebrated German Poets, from Klopstock to the Present Time.” Translated in English verse by Mary Anne Burt. London: 1855.
In somber wood, at eventide,
By Luna’s silver light,
Brave Harold, the Renowned, doth ride.
With many a valiant knight.
Who proudly, hard-earned pennons bring,
That through the forest wave;
The echoing war-songs that they sing
Sound through each mountain-cave.
What glides, by stealth, from yonder bush?
What flutters in yon tree?
What, from the clouds, doth hither rush
Amid the foaming sea?
Who mounts our steeds, and o’er us, fair
And Odorous garlands flings?
What Beings sing ‘neath moon-beams there,
And dance in dizzy rings?
Who amorously thus doth play,
And nestle on our breast?
Who gently takes our sword away,
And leaves us, void of rest?
The Elfin-race their charm have spread,
Their power can none withstand;
The celebrated Knights are led,
Captives in Fairy-land!
‘Gainst one – the Flower-of-chivalry,
Their fascinations fail;
Impregnably incased is he
In stalworth coat of mail.
His comrades are the Fairies’ prey,
Despoiled of sword and shield!
Their horses wildly dart away,
O’er mountain, wood, and field.
In melancholy, pensive mood,
Rides Harald, the proud Knight;
Brave Harald roves through yon wide wood,
‘Neath Luna’s mournful light.
From an o’erhanging rock doth flow
A crystal streamlet fair;
He takes his helmet from his brow,
And quaffs with ardour there.
Barely is feverish thirst suppressed,
When cramped feel arm and knee,
And, on the rock doth Harald rest,
O’erpowered by lethargy!
Hundreds of years doth Harald rest
On that cold marble-stone;
His head reclines upon his breast,
Grey, beard and hair are grown.
When, o’er that rock doth thunder roll,
When vivid lightning gleams,
He grasps his sword – still brave of soul,
‘Mid troubled fairy-dreams.
Thou, whom song was given, sing
In the German poets’ wood!
When all boughs with music ring–
Then is life and pleasure good.
Nay, this art doth not belong
To a small and haughty band;
Scattered are the seeds of song
All about the German land.
Music set thy passions free
From the heart’s confining cage;
Let thy love like murmurs be,
And like thunder-storm thy rage!
Singest thou not all thy days,
Joy of youth should make thee sing.
Nightingales pour forth their lays
In the blooming months of spring!
Though in books they hold not fast
What the hour to thee imparts,
Leaves unto the breezes cast,
To be seized by youthful hearts!
Fare thou well, thou secret lore:
Formulas shall bind no more,
And our art is poesy.
Names we deem but empty air;
Spirits we revere alone;
Though we honor masters rare.
Art is free–it is our own!
Not in haunts of marble chill,
Temples drear where ancients trod–
Nay, in oaks on woody hill,
Lives and moves the German God.