Justinus Kerner: “The Wealthiest Prince”

Excerpt, “Ballads From The German.”   Translator:  Henry Inglis.  1864.




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.”