Justinus Kerner: “The Wealthiest Prince”
Excerpt, “Ballads From The German.” Translator: Henry Inglis. 1864.
THE WEALTHIEST PRINCE
At Worms, one day, a princely band,
In the height of their content,
And pride of ancestry and land,
Held high boastful argument.
“Glorious,” cried the Saxon king,
“Are the riches of my land!
The silver ore lies glistering
Through the rock and river strand.”
“Ours is the fabled Grecian horn,”
Said the ruler of the Rhine;
“Our vales wave with golden corn;
On our mountains grows the vine.”
“We have our cities red with gold,”
Quoth the Bairisch monarch proud;
“We have our monasteries old,
With the wealth of kings endowed.”
Then up spake Württemberg so bold;
His beard of the darkest dye:
“Nor Vintages, nor grain, nor gold,
Nor convents, nor towns have I.
“But I can roam our forests deep,
When the sun has sunk to rest;
And I can lay my head in sleep
Upon the wanderer’s breast.”
Then Saxon, Bairisch, and Rhine
Proclaimed through the Kaiser’s hall:
“Graf of the beard, the palm is thine;
Thy treasure is best of all.”