Ludwig Uhland: “Free Art”






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:

Necromancy, Alchemy!

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.