Franz von Dingelstedt: “The Exiles”

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.
Franz Freiherr von Dingelstedt was born the 30th June 1814 at Halsdorf; he commenced his studies at the College of Rinteln on the Weser; in this neighborhood his father, an ancient military Officer, had fixed his resident in the year 1822. From Easter 1831 till the expiration of the year 1834, he studied theology and philology, and applied, with great zeal, to the acquirement of ancient and modern languages and literature. He passed honourably, his examinations, with the intention of devoting himself to the instruction of youth. During a year, he occupied the place of first Master, in an Establishment for the education of the English, at Ricklingen, near Hanover. In 1836, he returned to the Electorate of Hesse, and obtained employment at the newly-organized Lyceum at Cassel.
After having published two works, one entitled: “The new Argonautes,” and the other: “Portraits of Cassel,” inserted in the “Review of Europe,” the government transferred Dingelstedt in 1838, from Cassel, and stationed him at the College of Fulda, where he occupied the place of Professor, till Michaelmas 1841.
At this epoch, the editor of the “Watchman’s Songs,” gave his dismissal and quitted the service of the Electorate of Hesse, in order to apply entirely to literature and journalism. He addressed himself to M. Cotta at Augsberg; that gentleman sent him to London and Paris, as correspondent of his “Gazette of Augsburg” some time later he was, in the same capacity, sent to Vienna.
In 1843, while Dingelstedt was at Vienna, he received a summons from the King of rtemberg who named him his private librarian and aulic Counsellor. In 1846 our Poet was appointed Counsellor of the Legation and Teacher of the Scenic Art at the court Theatre. In 1844, Dingelstedt married the talented songstress, Jenny Leitzer. In the month of February, 1851, he was named by the King Maximilian as Superintendent of the National Theatre of the Court of Munich, which position he now occupies.
The lyric Poems of Dingelstedt are invariably distinguished by an extreme elegance of form, and are the effusions of a deep and observing mind. In reading this Poet’s compositions, it is easy to perceive that he has moved in the higher circles; unfortunately, in that artificial atmosphere, it frequently happens that philanthropic affection gradually diminishes until it degenerates into satyre and disgust. Here, it may justly be remarked that Dingelstedt never renounced the cultivation of all which is ennobling in the poetic Art. …MAB, 1855.

first carlist ward-
First Carlist War

Die Exile

Six men has Fate together cast,

A frugal meal is spread;

Th’ ingredients of this repast,

Wine, salad, salt, and bread.

The clock, with melancholy sound,

Tick – tick!A warning makes,

The Exiles wildly gaze around,

Till one the silence breaks:

“When the Magnanimous unite,

They talk of the World’s weal,

Of tariff-union – and delight

In arms of glistening steel.

In sovereignty, old and new,

In ancestry, in pennons won,

And in their subjects true!

Ah! Since together we are cast,

We – beggars of the street, —

Chaff that the wind of Fate, in haste,

Drifts on; – as thus we meet,

Courage! – we’ll reason, frank and free,

Like those on yonder strand,

Of that despotic tyranny,

Borne by our Fatherland!”

”I, oldest of the company,

Will speak, — then list to you:

Death to the Regent! Do I cry,

Death to the Cortes too!

I now exclaim, as heretofore,

Near th’ Ebro and Duero,

I cried, — and, as I’ll cry, once more:

Death to thee — Espartero!”


“My father, a Guerilla came

From fertile, bright Navarre,

Read, in th’ immortal page of Fame,

Of his exploits, in war!

Like him – Guerilla was the son,

He played Guerilla’s part,

Long, in Navarre, and Aragon,

With carbine, bow, and dart.


We fought, at Nava, the last fight,

Death stalked beneath my gun;

Our Pennon waved ‘mid shades of night,

And glowed ‘neath morning’s sun; –

It fell! – Wounded, and bathed in gore,

By foes we were pursued;

Driven from our sacred native shore,


On foreign soil we stood.

Accursed be the hour of flight!

Can I forget that day?

O’er ragged Pyrenean height,

And gorge, our safety lay!

Behind us death, and death before,

And death within each breast;

When more illumines Gallia’s shore,

In blouses French we’re dressed!


Hispania! – thou, to me, art dead;

Hispania is lost,

Thine orphans, disinherited,

Rove, friendless, o’er thy coast!

My father’s God my foes despise,

And treat my King with scorn;

Spain is despised by enemies,

Hispania – strangers scorn!


And die these embers that are thrown

On earth, from my cigar;

Thus, shrouded in oblivion,

Will be thy name – – Navarre!

And what remains, I scatter forth,

As now this dust is thrown.

Frank!Briton!Foes from South and North,

Hispania is your own!”


Battle of Warsaw, 1831

..He ends; — his Neighbor takes the glass,

And cries in bitter tone:

“A health to thee, Czar Nicholas!

Long life unto thy son!

The folk and fatherland, I scorn,

May to the devil go!


A Jew am I, in Poland born,

As you, my friends, well know!

Parbleu! – I took an oath, and fought,

Sang with the Lagienka,

At last, but it availeth nought,

I fell at Ostralenka!

A game of cards or nine-pins!Play,

The vilest ‘neath the sun!

Three balls, within my body, lay,

One would the work have done!


Equipped with beggar’s bag, I roved,

And fought by day and night;

From Warsaw to gay France, I roved.

That was the bravest fight!

Oh, Germany!Thou land most dear,

What luscious fare is thine.

What valorous words enchant the ear.

How plenteous food, and wine.


The chaff of laurels have I won,

With empty purse and brain,

Yes, sapient Meleeh Solomon,

All earthly joys are vain.

The boundless World is naught to me,

As I am naught to Czar Nicholai!”


His humid beard was smoothed and pressed,

Cross-legged, he reclined.

As with both hands he smote his breast,

Till the third Wanderer began.

A theme on Turkish war;

A brave Corinthian was the man,

O’er Greece, his fame spread far.


With emphasis did he relate,

How, though they bravely fought,

The Grecians were opposed, by Fate,

In all they hoped, and thought.

How, ‘gainst Bavaria, he conspired,

And fought on Hydra’s strand;

How Basilaus, with vengeance fired,

Expelled him from the land!


The fourth Aspirant after fame,

A Lombard – honoured was his name;

His tale he told full well.

The fifth, a patriotic Swiss,

Was eloquent awhile

On Romaniero’s avarice,

The propaganda’s guile.


Midst volumes of cigar-smoke grey

That towards the ceiling rove,

Glow scenes of outrage.In array

Of war, brave Chieftains move.

Now glidest on the death of night

Amid the banished throng,

And laughter, curses, drink excite

Each Exile’s heart, and tongue.


One Youth, apart, is sitting there,

Pale, melancholy, lone,

In ringlets waves his golden hair,

How timid is his tone.

“Brave little man, we fain would know”

The Exiles, laughing cry,

“A homeless Wanderer, what art thou,

Doomed, young, to misery?”


“A word had I expressed, in haste,

In the Circassians’ cause;

When long imprisoned, was I chased

My country, by her laws!”

Deep blushes mantle o’er his cheeks,

How tortured feels his soul.

Coarse laughter echoes as he speaks,

There thunder seems to roll.


All shout in chorus:“More than we

Thou knowest, all must own.

The gall and vinegar for thee;

For thee a thorny crown.

Come German, take thy glass in hand,

Rise! – do as we have done;

Curse thy degenerate Fatherland,

The Traitor of her Son!”


What tumult wild!With dignity

The German rises now;

Lightning seems flashing from his eye,

Pride animates his brow.

The proffered glass he spurneth there,

The fragments strew the ground;

His youthful hand is raised ‘mid air,

His tone reverberates round:


“Forbid!Forbid!Oh, God of Heaven,

That traitor I should prove!

They, to whom German hearts are given,

Must e’er their Country love;

And if, till death, an Exile cast

From thee, my native strand,

Be this my dying prayer – my last:

God bless my Fatherland!”


The Youth’s heart-felt, long-struggling tones

Find vent in many a tear:

He seemeth to those banished ones,

A Guardian-angel near.

The clock strikes twelve:The Exiles start,

The sounds – how chill and hoarse!

Lo! When the Wanderers depart,

Each takes a different course.


Franz Freiherr von Dinglestat

Franz Freiherr von Dingelstedt