Carl Theodor Körner: “THE FIVE OAKS BEFORE DALLWITZ”
Excerpt, “German Lyric Poetry: A Collection of Songs and Ballads.” Translated from the Best German Lyric Poets, with Notes by Charles Timothy Brooks. 1863.
THE FIVE OAKS BEFORE DALLWITZ
Noisy day is done; its bright hues fade;
Redder glows the sun’s declining ray;
Here, beneath your spreading twilight shade,
Prompts my swelling heart the pensive lay.
True old chroniclers of ages gray,
Ye are still in life’s fresh green arrayed,
And the mighty forms of years gone by
Still are with us in your majesty.
Many a noble form has death laid low;
Many a flower too early snatched away;
Through your softly glimmering twigs e’en now
Steals the farewell smile of dying day.
Yet, unheeding Time’s remorseless flow,
Ye have bid defiance to decay;
In your twigs I hear a voice that saith,
Whispering, “What is great shall live through death!”
And ye have lived on! Ye tower on high,
Bold and fresh, in vigorous green arrayed.
Haply, not a pilgrim, journeying by,
But shall rest him in your soothing shade.
What though pale-faced Autumn, with a sigh,
Marks your leafy children fall and fade?
E’en in death they keep a precious trust;
Your spring glories bloom from out their dust.
Fair image of old German loyalty,
As in better days it has been known,
When, with glad devotion fired, the free,
Dying, laid their country’s cornerstone—
Why should I renew the pang? Ah me!
’Tis a pang each bosom feels its own!
Mightiest of the mighty, German land,
Thou art in the dust—thy old oaks stand!