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Thread: Friedrich Schiller's Poems

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    Arrow Friedrich Schiller's Poems

    The Ring of Polycrates
    Friedrich Schiller

    Upon his battlements he stood,
    And downward gazed in joyous mood,
    On Samos' Isle, that owned his sway.
    "All this is subject to my yoke;"
    To Egypt's monarch thus he spoke, -
    "That I am truly blest, then, say!"

    "The immortals' favor thou hast known!
    Thy sceptre's might has overthrown
    All those who once were like to thee.
    Yet to avenge them one lives still;
    I cannot call thee blest, until
    That dreaded foe has ceased to be."

    While to these words the king gave vent,
    A herald from Miletus sent,
    Appeared before the tyrant there:
    "Lord, let thy incense rise to-day,
    And with the laurel branches gay
    Thou well may'st crown thy festive hair!

    "Thy foe has sunk beneath the spear, -
    I'm sent to bear the glad news here,
    By thy true marshal Polydore."
    Then from a basin black he takes -
    The fearful sight their terror wakes -
    A well-known head besmeared with gore.

    The king with horror stepped aside,
    And then with anxious look replied:
    "Thy bliss to fortune ne'er commit.
    On faithless waves, bethink thee how
    Thy fleet with doubtful fate swims now -
    How soon the storm may scatter it!"

    But ere he yet had spoke the word,
    A shout of jubilee is heard
    Resounding from the distant strand.
    With foreign treasures teeming o'er,
    The vessels' mast-rich wood once more
    Returns home to its native land.

    The guest then speaks with startled mind:
    "Fortune to-day, in truth, seems kind;
    But thou her fickleness shouldst fear:
    The Cretan hordes, well skilled in arms,
    Now threaten thee with war's alarms;
    E'en now they are approaching here."

    And, ere the word has 'scaped his lips,
    A stir is seen amongst the ships,
    And thousand voices "Victory!" cry:
    We are delivered from our foe,
    The storm has laid the Cretan low,
    The war is ended, is gone by!"

    The shout with horror hears the guest:
    "In truth, I must esteem thee blest!
    Yet dread I the decrees of heaven.
    The envy of the gods I fear;
    To taste of unmixed rapture here
    Is never to a mortal given.

    "With me, too, everything succeeds;
    In all my sovereign acts and deeds
    The grace of Heaven is ever by;
    And yet I had a well-loved heir -
    I paid my debt to fortune there -
    God took him hence - I saw him die.

    "Wouldst thou from sorrow, then, be free
    Pray to each unseen Deity,
    For thy well-being, grief to send;
    The man on whom the Gods bestow
    Their gifts with hands that overflow,
    Comes never to a happy end.

    "And if the Gods thy prayer resist,
    Then to a friend's instruction list, -
    Invoke thyself adversity;
    And what, of all thy treasures bright,
    Gives to thy heart the most delight -
    That take and cast thou in the sea!"

    Then speaks the other, moved by fear:
    "This ring to me is far most dear
    Of all this isle within it knows -
    I to the furies pledge it now,
    If they will happiness allow" -
    And in the flood the gem he throws.

    And with the morrow's earliest light,
    Appeared before the monarch's sight
    A fisherman, all joyously;
    "Lord, I this fish just now have caught,
    No net before e'er held the sort;
    And as a gift I bring it thee."

    The fish was opened by the cook,
    Who suddenly, with wondering look,
    Runs up, and utters these glad sounds .
    "Within the fish's maw, behold,
    I've found, great lord, thy ring of gold!
    Thy fortune truly knows no bounds!"

    The guest with terror turned away.
    "I cannot here, then, longer stay, -
    My friend thou canst no longer be!
    The gods have willed that thou shouldst die
    Lest I, too, perish, I must fly" -
    He spoke, - and sailed thence hastily.

    1797, translation anonymous, 1902
    And all my youth passed by sad-hearted,
    the joy of Spring was never mine;
    Autumn blows through me dread of parting,
    and my heart dreams and longs to die.

    - Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850)

    Real misanthropes are not found in solitude, but in the world; since it is experience of life, and not philosophy, which produces real hatred of mankind.

    - Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837)

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    Post Friedrich Schiller: The Cranes of Ibycus (Die Kraniche des Ibykus)

    The Cranes of Ibycus
    Friedrich Schiller

    Once to the song and chariot-fight,
    Where all the tribes of Greece unite
    On Corinth's isthmus joyously,
    The god-loved Ibycus drew nigh.
    On him Apollo had bestowed
    The gift of song and strains inspired;
    So, with light staff, he took his road
    From Rhegium, by the godhead fired.

    Acrocorinth, on mountain high,
    Now burns upon the wanderer's eye,
    And he begins, with pious dread,
    Poseidon's grove of firs to tread.
    Naught moves around him, save a swarm
    Of cranes, who guide him on his way;
    Who from far southern regions warm
    Have hither come in squadron gray.

    "Thou friendly band, all hail to thee!
    Who led'st me safely o'er the sea!
    I deem thee as a favoring sign, -
    My destiny resembles thine.
    Both come from a far distant coast,
    Both pray for some kind sheltering place;
    Propitious toward us be the host
    Who from the stranger wards disgrace! "

    And on he hastes, in joyous wood,
    And reaches soon the middle wood
    When, on a narrow bridge, by force
    Two murderers sudden bar his course.
    He must prepare him for the fray,
    But soon his wearied hand sinks low;
    Inured the gentle lyre to play,
    It ne'er has strung the deadly bow.

    On gods and men for aid he cries, -
    No savior to his prayer replies;
    However far his voice he sends,
    Naught living to his cry attends.
    "And must I in a foreign land,
    Unwept, deserted, perish here,
    Falling beneath a murderous hand,
    Where no avenger can appear?"

    Deep-wounded, down he sinks at last,
    When, lo! the cranes' wings rustle past.
    He hears, - though he no more can see, -
    Their voices screaming fearfully."
    By you, ye cranes, that soar on high,
    If not another voice is heard,
    Be borne to heaven my murder-cry!"
    He speaks, and dies, too, with the word.

    The naked corpse, ere long, is found,
    And, though defaced by many a wound,
    His host in Corinth soon could tell
    The features that he loved so well.
    "And is it thus I find thee now,
    Who hoped the pine's victorious crown
    To place upon the singer's brow,
    Illumined by his bright renown?"

    The news is heard with grief by all
    Met at Poseidon's festival;
    All Greece is conscious of the smart,
    He leaves a void in every heart;
    And to the Prytanis swift hie
    The people, and they urge him on
    The dead man's manes to pacify
    And with the murderer's blood atone.

    But where's the trace that from the throng
    The people's streaming crowds among,
    Allured there by the sports so bright,
    Can bring the villain back to light?
    By craven robbers was he slain?
    Or by some envious hidden foe?
    That Helios only can explain,
    Whose rays illume all things below.

    Perchance, with shameless step and proud,
    He threads e'en now the Grecian crowd -
    Whilst vengeance follows in pursuit,
    Gloats over his transgression's fruit.
    The very gods perchance he braves
    Upon the threshold of their fane, -
    Joins boldly in the human waves
    That haste yon theatre to gain.

    For there the Grecian tribes appear,
    Fast pouring in from far and near;
    On close-packed benches sit they there,
    The stage the weight can scarcely bear.
    Like ocean-billows' hollow roar,
    The teaming crowds of living man
    Toward the cerulean heavens upsoar,
    In bow of ever-widening span.

    Who knows the nation, who the name,
    Of all who there together came?
    From Theseus' town, from Aulis' strand
    From Phocis, from the Spartan land,
    From Asia's distant coast, they wend,
    From every island of the sea,
    And from the stage they hear ascend
    The chorus's dread melody.

    Who, sad and solemn, as of old,
    With footsteps measured and controlled,
    Advancing from the far background,
    Circle the theatre's wide round.
    Thus, mortal women never move!
    No mortal home to them gave birth
    Their giant-bodies tower above,
    High o'er the puny sons of earth.

    With loins in mantle black concealed,
    Within their fleshless hands they wield
    The torch, that with a dull red glows, -
    While in their cheek no life-blood flows;
    And where the hair is floating wide
    And loving, round a mortal brow,
    Here snakes and adders are descried,
    Whose bellies swell with poison now.

    And, standing in a fearful ring,
    The dread and solemn chant they sing,
    That through the bosom thrilling goes,
    And round the sinner fetters throws.
    Sense-robbing, of heart-maddening power,
    The furies' strains resound through air
    The listener's marrow they devour, -
    The lyre can yield such numbers ne'er.

    "Happy the man who, blemish-free,
    Preserves a soul of purity!
    Near him we ne'er avenging come,
    He freely o'er life's path may roam.
    But woe to him who, hid from view,
    Hath done the deed of murder base!
    Upon his heels we close pursue, -
    We, who belong to night's dark race!"

    "And if he thinks to 'scape by flight,
    Winged we appear, our snare of might
    Around his flying feet to cast,
    So that he needs must fall at last.
    Thus we pursue him, tiring ne'er, -
    Our wrath repentance cannot quell, -
    On to the shadows' and e'en there
    We leave him not in peace to dwell!"

    Thus singing, they the dance resume,
    And silence, like that of the tomb,
    O'er the whole house lies heavily,
    As it' the deity were nigh.
    And staid and solemn, as of odd,
    Circling the theatre's wide round,
    With footsteps measured and controlled,
    They vanish in the far background.

    Between deceit and truth each breast.
    Now doubting hangs, by awe possessed,
    And homage pays to that dread might,
    That judges what is hid from sight,
    That, fathomless, inscrutable,
    The gloomy skein of fate entwines,
    That reads the bosom's depths full well,
    Yet flies away where sunlight shines

    When sudden, from the tier most high,
    A voice is heard by all to cry:
    "See there, see there, Timotheus!
    Behold the cranes of Ibycus!"
    The heavens become as black as night,
    And o'er the theatre they see,
    Far over-head, a dusky flight
    Of cranes, approaching hastily.

    "Of Ibycus!" - That name so blest
    With new-born sorrow fills each breast.
    As waves on waves in ocean rise,
    From mouth to mouth it swiftly flies:
    "Of Ibycus, whom we lament?
    Who fell beneath the murderer's hand?
    What mean those words that from him went?
    What means this cranes' advancing band?"

    And louder still become the cries,
    And soon this thought foreboding flies
    Through every heart, with speed of light -
    "Observe in this the furies' might!
    The poets manes are now appeased:
    The murderer seeks his own arrest!
    Let him who spoke the word be seized,
    And him to whom it was addressed! ''

    That word he had no sooner spoke,
    Than he its sound would fain invoke;
    In vain! his mouth, with terror pale,
    Tells of his guilt the fearful tale.
    Before the judge they drag them now
    The scene becomes the tribunal;
    Their crimes the villains both avow,
    When neath the vengeance-stroke they fall.

    1797, translation anonymous, 1902
    And all my youth passed by sad-hearted,
    the joy of Spring was never mine;
    Autumn blows through me dread of parting,
    and my heart dreams and longs to die.

    - Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850)

    Real misanthropes are not found in solitude, but in the world; since it is experience of life, and not philosophy, which produces real hatred of mankind.

    - Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837)

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    Post Friedrich Schiller: The Diver (Der Taucher)

    The Diver
    Friedrich Schiller

    "What knight or what vassal will be so bold
    As to plunge in the gulf below?
    See! I hurl in its depths a goblet of gold,
    Already the waters over it flow.
    The man who can bring hack the goblet to me,
    May keep it henceforward, - his own it shall be."

    Thus speaks the king, and he hurls from the height
    Of the cliffs that, rugged and steep,
    Hang over the boundless sea, with strong might,
    The goblet afar, in the bellowing deep.
    "And who'll be so daring, - I ask it once more,
    As to plunge in these billows that wildly roar?"

    And the vassals and knights of high degree
    Hear his words, but silent remain.
    They cast their eyes on the raging sea,
    And none will attempt the goblet to gain.
    And a third time the question is asked by the king:
    "Is there none that will dare in the gulf now to spring?"

    Yet all as before in silence stand,
    When a page, with a modest pride,
    Steps out of the timorous squirely band,
    And his girdle and mantle soon throws aside,
    And all the knights, and the ladies too,
    The noble stripling with wonderment view.

    And when he draws nigh to the rocky brow,
    And looks in the gulf so black,
    The waters that she had swallowed but now,
    The howling Charybdis is giving back;
    And, with the distant thunder's dull sound
    From her gloomy womb they all-foaming rebound

    And it boils and it roars, and it hisses and seethes.
    As when water and fire first blend;
    To the sky spurts the foam in steam-laden wreaths,
    And wave presses hard upon wave without end.
    And the ocean will never exhausted be,
    As if striving to bring forth another sea.

    But at length the wild tumult seems pacified,
    And blackly amid the white swell
    A gaping chasm its jaws opens wide,
    As if leading down to the depths of hell:
    And the howling billows are seen by each eye
    Down the whirling funnel all madly to fly

    Then quickly, before the breakers rebound,
    The stripling commends him to Heaven,
    And - a scream of horror is heard around, -
    And now by the whirlpool away he is driven,
    And secretly over the swimmer brave
    Close the jaws, and he vanishes 'neath the dark wave.

    O'er the watery gulf dread silence now lies,
    But the deep sends up a dull yell,
    And from mouth to mouth thus trembling it flies:
    "Courageous stripling, oh, fare thee well!"
    And duller and duller the howls recommence,
    While they pause in anxious and fearful suspense.

    "If even thy crown in the gulf thou shouldst fling,
    And shouldst say, ' He who brings it to me
    Shall wear it henceforward, and be the king,'
    Thou couldst tempt me not e'en with that precious fee;
    What under the howling deep is concealed
    To no happy living soul is revealed! "

    Full many a ship, by the whirlpool held fast,
    Shoots straightway beneath the mad wave,
    And, dashed to pieces, the hull and the mast
    Emerge from the all-devouring gave. -
    And the roaring approaches still nearer and nearer,
    Like the howl of the tempest, still clearer and clearer.

    And it boils and it roars, and it hisses and seethes,
    As when water and fire first blend;
    To the sky spurts the foam in steam-laden wreaths,
    And wave passes hard upon wave without end.
    And, with the distant thunder's dull sound,
    From the ocean-womb they all-bellowing bound.

    And lo! from the darkly flowing tide
    Comes a vision white as a swan,
    And an arm and a glistening neck are descried,
    With might and with active zeal steering on;
    And 'tis he, and behold! his left hand on high
    Waves the goblet, while beaming with joy is his eye.

    Then breathes he deeply, then breathes he long,
    And blesses the light of the day;
    While gladly exclaim to each other the throng:
    "He lives! he is here! he is not the sea's prey!
    From the tomb, from the eddying waters' control,
    The brave one has rescued his living soul!"

    And he comes, and they joyously round him stand;
    At the feet of the monarch he falls, -
    The goblet he, kneeling, puts in his hand,
    And the king to his beauteous daughter calls,
    Who fills it with sparkling wine to the brim;
    The youth turns to the monarch, and speaks thus to him:

    "Long life to the king! Let all those be glad
    Who breathe in the light of the sky!
    For below all is fearful, of moment sad;
    Let not man to tempt the immortals e'er try,
    Let him never desire the thing to see
    That with terror and night they veil graciously.

    "I was torn below with the speed of light,
    When out of a cavern of rock
    Rushed towards me a spring with furious might;
    I was seized by the twofold torrent's wild shock,
    And like a top, with a whirl and a bound,
    Despite all resistance, was whirled around.

    "Then God pointed out, - for to Him I cried
    In that terrible moment of need, -
    A craggy reef in the gulf's dark side;
    I seized it in haste, and from death was then freed.
    And there, on sharp corals, was hanging the cup, -
    The fathomless pit had else swallowed it up.

    "For under me lay it, still mountain-deep,
    In a darkness of purple-tinged dye,
    And though to the ear all might seem then asleep
    With shuddering awe 'twas seen by the eye
    How the salamanders' and dragons' dread forms
    Filled those terrible jaws of hell with their swarms.

    "There crowded, in union fearful and black,
    In a horrible mass entwined,
    The rock-fish, the ray with the thorny back,
    And the hammer-fish's misshapen kind,
    And the shark, the hyena dread of the sea,
    With his angry teeth, grinned fiercely on me.

    "There hung I, by fulness of terror possessed,
    Where all human aid was unknown,
    Amongst phantoms, the only sensitive breast,
    In that fearful solitude all alone,
    Where the voice of mankind could not reach to mine ear,
    'Mid the monsters foul of that wilderness drear.

    "Thus shuddering methought - when a something crawled near,
    And a hundred limbs it out-flung,
    And at me it snapped; - in my mortal fear,
    I left hold of the coral to which I had clung;
    Then the whirlpool seized on me with maddened roar,
    Yet 'twas well, for it brought me to light once more."

    The story in wonderment hears the king,
    And he says, "The cup is thine own,
    And I purpose also to give thee this ring,
    Adorned with a costly , a priceless stone,
    If thou'lt try once again, and bring word to me
    What thou saw'st in the nethermost depths of sea.''

    His daughter hears this with emotions soft,
    And with flattering accent prays she:
    "That fearful sport, father, attempt not too oft!
    What none other would dare, he hath ventured for thee;
    If thy heart's wild longings thou canst not tame,
    Let the knights, if they can, put the squire to shame."

    The king then seizes the goblet in haste,
    In the gulf he hurls it with might:
    "When the goblet once more in my hands thou hast placed,
    Thou shalt rank at my court as the noblest knight,
    And her as a bride thou shalt clasp e'en today
    Who for thee with tender compassion cloth pray."

    Then a force, as from Heaven, descends on him there,
    And lightning gleams in his eye,
    And blushes he sees on her features so fair,
    And he sees her turn pale, and swooning lie;
    Then eager the precious guerdon to win,
    For life or for death, lo! he plunges him in!

    The breakers they hear, and the breakers return,
    Proclaimed by a thundering sound;
    They bend o'er the gulf with glances that yearn
    And the waters are pouring in fast around;
    Though upwards and downwards they rush and they rave,
    The youth is brought back by no kindly wave.

    1797, translation anonymous, 1902
    And all my youth passed by sad-hearted,
    the joy of Spring was never mine;
    Autumn blows through me dread of parting,
    and my heart dreams and longs to die.

    - Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850)

    Real misanthropes are not found in solitude, but in the world; since it is experience of life, and not philosophy, which produces real hatred of mankind.

    - Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837)

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    Post Friedrich Schiller: The Hostage (Die Bürgschaft)

    The Hostage
    Friedrich Schiller

    The tyrant Dionys to seek,
    Stern Moerus with his poniard crept;
    The watchful guard upon him swept;
    The grim king marked his changeless cheek:
    "What wouldst thou with thy poinard? Speak!"
    "The city from the tyrant free!"
    "The death-cross shall thy guerdon be."

    "I am prepared for death, nor pray,"
    Replied that haughty man, "to live;
    Enough, if thou one grace wilt give
    For three brief suns the death delay
    To wed my sister - leagues away;
    I boast one friend whose life for mine,
    If I should fail the cross, is thine."

    The tyrant mused, - and smiled, - and said
    With gloomy craft, "So let it be;
    Three days I will vouchsafe to thee.
    But mark - if, when the time be sped,
    Thou fail'st - thy surety dies instead.
    His life shall buy shine own release;
    Thy guilt atoned, my wrath shall cease."

    He sought his friend - "The king's decree
    Ordains my life the cross upon
    Shall pay the deed I would have done;
    Yet grants three days' delay to me,
    My sister's marriage-rites to see;
    If thou, the hostage, wilt remain
    Till I - set free - return again!"

    His friend embraced - No word he said.,
    But silent to the tyrant strode -
    The other went upon his road.
    Ere the third sun in heaven was red,
    The rite was o'er, the sister wed;
    And back, with anxious heart unquailing,
    He hastes to hold the pledge unfailing.

    Down the great rains unending bore,
    Down from the hills the torrents rushed,
    In one broad stream the brooklets gushed
    The wanderer halts beside the shore,
    The bridge was swept the tides before -
    The shattered arches o'er and under
    Went the tumultuous waves in thunder.

    Dismayed he takes his idle stand -
    Dismayed, he strays and shouts around,
    His voice awakes no answering sound.
    No boat will leave the sheltering strand,
    To bear him to the wished-for land;
    No boatman will Death's pilot be,
    The wild stream gathers to a sea!

    Sunk by the banks, awhile he weeps,
    Then raised his arms to Jove, and cried,
    "Stay thou, oh stay the maddening tide,
    Midway behold the swift sun sweeps,
    And, ere he sinks adown the deeps,
    If I should fail, his beams will see
    My friend's last anguish - slain for me!

    More fierce it runs, more broad it flows,
    And wave on wave succeeds and dies
    And hour on hour remorseless tries,
    Despair at last to daring grows -
    Amidst the flood his form he throws,
    With vigorous arms the roaring waves
    Cleaves - and a God that pities, saves.

    He wins the bank - he scours the strand?
    He thanks the God in breathless prayer;
    When from the forest's gloomy lair,
    With ragged club in ruthless hand,
    And breathing murder - rushed the band
    That find, in woods, their savage den,
    And savage prey in wandering men.

    "What," cried he, pale with generous fear;
    "What think to gain ye by the strife?
    All I bear with me is my life -
    I take it to the king!" - and here
    He snatched the club from him most near:
    And thrice he smote, and thrice his blows
    Dealt death - before him fly the foes!

    The sun is glowing as a brand;
    And faint before the parching heat,
    The strength forsakes the feeble feet:
    "Thou hast saved me from the robbers' hand,
    Through wild floods given the blessed land;
    And shall the weak limbs fail me now?
    And he! - Divine one, nerve me, thou!

    Hark! like some gracious murmur by,
    Babbles low music, silver-clear -
    The wanderer holds his breath to hear;
    And from the rock, before his eye,
    Laughs forth the spring delightedly;
    Now the sweet waves he bends him o'er,
    And the sweet waves his strength restore.

    Through the green boughs the sun gleams dying,
    O'er fields that drink the rosy beam,
    The trees' huge shadows giant seem.
    Two strangers on the road are hieing;
    And as they fleet beside him are flying
    These muttered words his ear dismay:
    "Now - now the cross has claimed its prey!"

    Despair his winged path pursues,
    The anxious terrors hound him on -
    There, reddening in the evening sun,
    From far, the domes of Syracuse! -
    When towards him comes Philostratus
    (His leaf and trusty herdsman he),
    And to the master bends his knee.

    "Back - thou canst aid thy friend no more.
    The niggard time already down -
    His life is forfeit - save shine own!
    Hour after hour in hope he bore,
    Nor might his soul its faith give o'er;
    Nor could the tyrant's scorn deriding,
    Steal from that faith one thought confiding!"

    "Too late! what horror hast thou spoken!
    Vain life, since it cannot requite him!
    But death with me can yet unite him;
    No boast the tyrant's scorn shall make -
    How friend to friend can faith forsake.
    But from the double death shall know,
    That truth and love yet live below!"

    The sun sinks down - the gate's in view,
    The cross looms dismal on the ground -
    The eager crowd gape murmuring round.
    His friend is bound the cross unto....
    Crowd - guards - all bursts he breathless through:
    "Me! Doomsman, me!" he shouts, "alone!
    His life is rescued - lo, mine own!"

    Amazement seized the circling ring!
    Linked in each other's arms the pair -
    Weeping for joy - yet anguish there!
    Moist every eye that gazed; - they bring
    The wondrous tidings to the king -
    His breast man's heart at last hath known,
    And the friends stand before his throne.

    Long silent, he, and wondering long,
    Gazed on the pair - "In peace depart,
    Victors, ye have subdued my heart!
    Truth is no dream! - its power is strong.
    Give grace to him who owns his wrong!
    'Tis mine your suppliant now to be,
    Ah, let the band of love - be three!"

    1797, translation anonymous, 1902
    And all my youth passed by sad-hearted,
    the joy of Spring was never mine;
    Autumn blows through me dread of parting,
    and my heart dreams and longs to die.

    - Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850)

    Real misanthropes are not found in solitude, but in the world; since it is experience of life, and not philosophy, which produces real hatred of mankind.

    - Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837)

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    Post Friedrich Schiller: The Glove (Der Handschuh)

    The Glove
    Friedrich Schiller

    Before his lion-court
    Impatient for the sport,
    King Francis sat one day;
    The peers of his realm sat around,
    And in balcony high from the ground
    Sat the ladies in beauteous array.
    And when with his finger he beckoned,
    The gate opened wide in a second
    And in, with deliberate tread,
    Enters a lion dread,
    And looks around
    Yet utters no sound;
    Then long he yawns
    And shakes his mane,
    And, stretching each limb,
    Down lies he again.

    Again signs the king, -
    The next gate open flies,
    And, lo! with a wild spring,
    A tiger out hies.
    When the lion he sees, loudly roars he about,
    And a terrible circle his tail traces out.
    Protruding his tongue, past the lion he walks,
    And, snarling with rage, round him warily stalks
    Then, growling anew,
    On one side lies down too.

    Again signs the king, -
    And two gates open fly,
    And, lo! with one spring,
    Two leopards out hie.
    On the tiger they rush, for the fight nothing loth,
    But he with his paws seizes hold of them both
    And the lion, with roaring, gets up, - then all's still,
    The fierce beasts stalk around, madly thirsting to kill.

    From the balcony raised high above
    A fair hand lets fall down a glove
    Into the lists, where 'tis seen
    The lion and tiger between.

    To the knight, Sir Delorges, in tone of jest,
    Then speaks young Cunigund fair;
    "Sir Knight, if the love that thou feel'st in thy breast
    Is as warm as thou'rt wont at each moment to swear,
    Pick up, I pray thee, the glove that lies there!"

    And the knight, in a moment, with dauntless tread,
    Jumps into the lists, nor seeks to linger,
    And, from out the midst of those monsters dread,
    Picks up the glove with a daring finger.

    And the knights and ladies of high degree
    With wonder and horror the action see,
    While he quietly brings in his hand the glove,
    The praise of his courage each mouth employs;
    Meanwhile, with a tender look of love,
    The promise to him of coming joys,
    Fair Cunigund welcomes him back to his place.
    But he threw the glove point-blank in her face:
    "Lady, no thanks from thee I'll receive!"
    And that selfsame hour he took his leave.

    1797, translation anonymous, 1902
    And all my youth passed by sad-hearted,
    the joy of Spring was never mine;
    Autumn blows through me dread of parting,
    and my heart dreams and longs to die.

    - Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850)

    Real misanthropes are not found in solitude, but in the world; since it is experience of life, and not philosophy, which produces real hatred of mankind.

    - Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837)

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    Die Bürgschaft is a true masterpiece. I always get tears in my eyes when I read or recite it.

    This translation is not bad at all, methinks.

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    I especially recommend the recitation by the famous Austrian actor Oskar Werner. No other comes even close to that one. Too big an MP3 file to upload it here, though.
    And all my youth passed by sad-hearted,
    the joy of Spring was never mine;
    Autumn blows through me dread of parting,
    and my heart dreams and longs to die.

    - Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850)

    Real misanthropes are not found in solitude, but in the world; since it is experience of life, and not philosophy, which produces real hatred of mankind.

    - Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837)

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    Post Friedrich Schiller. The Fight With the Dragon (Der Kampf mit dem Drachen)

    The Fight With The Dragon

    Why run the crowd? What means the throng
    That rushes fast the streets along?
    Can Rhodes a prey to flames, then, be?
    In crowds they gather hastily,
    And, on his steed, a noble knight
    Amid the rabble, meets my sight;
    Behind him--prodigy unknown!--
    A monster fierce they're drawing on;
    A dragon stems it by its shape,
    With wide and crocodile-like jaw,
    And on the knight and dragon gape,
    In turns, the people, filled with awe.

    And thousand voices shout with glee
    "The fiery dragon come and see,
    Who hind and flock tore limb from limb!--
    The hero see, who vanquished him!
    Full many a one before him went,
    To dare the fearful combat bent,
    But none returned home from the fight;
    Honor ye, then, the noble knight!"
    And toward the convent move they all,
    While met in hasty council there
    The brave knights of the Hospital,
    St. John the Baptist's Order, were.

    Up to the noble master sped
    The youth, with firm but modest tread;
    The people followed with wild shout,
    And stood the landing-place about,
    While thus outspoke that daring one:
    "My knightly duty I have done.
    The dragon that laid waste the land
    Has fallen beneath my conquering hand.
    The way is to the wanderer free,
    The shepherd o'er the plains may rove;
    Across the mountains joyfully
    The pilgrim to the shrine may move."

    But sternly looked the prince, and said:
    "The hero's part thou well hast played
    By courage is the true knight known,--
    A dauntless spirit thou hast shown.
    Yet speak! What duty first should he
    Regard, who would Christ's champion be,
    Who wears the emblem of the Cross?"--
    And all turned pale at his discourse.
    Yet he replied, with noble grace,
    While blushingly he bent him low:
    "That he deserves so proud a place
    Obedience best of all can show."

    "My son," the master answering spoke,
    "Thy daring act this duty broke.
    The conflict that the law forbade
    Thou hast with impious mind essayed."--
    "Lord, judge when all to thee is known,"
    The other spake, in steadfast tone,--
    "For I the law's commands and will
    Purposed with honor to fulfil.
    I went not out with heedless thought.
    Hoping the monster dread to find;
    To conquer in the fight I sought
    By cunning, and a prudent mind."

    "Five of our noble Order, then
    (Our faith could boast no better men),
    Had by their daring lost their life,
    When thou forbadest us the strife.
    And yet my heart I felt a prey
    To gloom, and panted for the fray;
    Ay, even in the stilly night,
    In vision gasped I in the fight;
    And when the glimmering morning came,
    And of fresh troubles knowledge gave,
    A raging grief consumed my frame,
    And I resolved the thing to brave."

    "And to myself I thus began:
    'What is't adorns the youth, the man?
    What actions of the heroes bold,
    Of whom in ancient song we're told,
    Blind heathendom raised up on high
    To godlike fame and dignity?
    The world, by deeds known far and wide,
    From monsters fierce they purified;
    The lion in the fight they met,
    And wrestled with the minotaur,
    Unhappy victims free to set,
    And were not sparing of their gore.'"

    "'Are none but Saracens to feel
    The prowess of the Christian steel?
    False idols only shall be brave?
    His mission is the world to save;
    To free it, by his sturdy arm,
    From every hurt, from every harm;
    Yet wisdom must his courage bend,
    And cunning must with strength contend.'
    Thus spake I oft, and went alone
    The monster's traces to espy;
    When on my mind a bright light shone,--
    'I have it!' was my joyful cry."

    "To thee I went, and thus I spake:
    'My homeward journey I would take.'
    Thou, lord, didst grant my prayer to me,--
    Then safely traversed I the sea;
    And, when I reached my native strand,
    I caused a skilful artist's hand
    To make a dragon's image, true
    To his that now so well I knew.
    On feet of measure short was placed
    Its lengthy body's heavy load;
    A scaly coat of mail embraced
    The back, on which it fiercely showed."

    "Its stretching neck appeared to swell,
    And, ghastly as a gate of hell,
    Its fearful jaws were open wide,
    As if to seize the prey it tried;
    And in its black mouth, ranged about,
    Its teeth in prickly rows stood out;
    Its tongue was like a sharp-edged sword,
    And lightning from its small eyes poured;
    A serpent's tail of many a fold
    Ended its body's monstrous span,
    And round itself with fierceness rolled,
    So as to clasp both steed and man."

    "I formed the whole to nature true,
    In skin of gray and hideous hue;
    Part dragon it appeared, part snake,
    Engendered in the poisonous lake.
    And, when the figure was complete,
    A pair of dogs I chose me, fleet,
    Of mighty strength, of nimble pace,
    Inured the savage boar to chase;
    The dragon, then, I made them bait,
    Inflaming them to fury dread,
    With their sharp teeth to seize it straight,
    And with my voice their motions led."

    "And, where the belly's tender skin
    Allowed the tooth to enter in,
    I taught them how to seize it there,
    And, with their fangs, the part to tear.
    I mounted, then, my Arab steed,
    The offspring of a noble breed;
    My hand a dart on high held forth,
    And, when I had inflamed his wrath,
    I stuck my sharp spurs in his side,
    And urged him on as quick as thought,
    And hurled my dart in circles wide
    As if to pierce the beast I sought."

    "And though my steed reared high in pain,
    And champed and foamed beneath the rein,
    And though the dogs howled fearfully,
    Till they were calmed ne'er rested I.
    This plan I ceaselessly pursued,
    Till thrice the moon had been renewed;
    And when they had been duly taught,
    In swift ships here I had them brought;
    And since my foot these shores has pressed
    Flown has three mornings' narrow span;
    I scarce allowed my limbs to rest
    Ere I the mighty task began."

    "For hotly was my bosom stirred
    When of the land's fresh grief I heard;
    Shepherds of late had been his prey,
    When in the marsh they went astray.
    I formed my plans then hastily,--
    My heart was all that counselled me.
    My squires instructing to proceed,
    I sprang upon my well-trained steed,
    And, followed by my noble pair
    Of dogs, by secret pathways rode,
    Where not an eye could witness bear,
    To find the monster's fell abode."

    "Thou, lord, must know the chapel well,
    Pitched on a rocky pinnacle,
    That overlooks the distant isle;
    A daring mind 'twas raised the pile.
    Though humble, mean, and small it shows
    Its walls a miracle enclose,--
    The Virgin and her infant Son,
    Vowed by the three kings of Cologne.
    By three times thirty steps is led
    The pilgrim to the giddy height;
    Yet, when he gains it with bold tread,
    He's quickened by his Saviour's sight."

    "Deep in the rock to which it clings,
    A cavern dark its arms outflings,
    Moist with the neighboring moorland's dew,
    Where heaven's bright rays can ne'er pierce through.
    There dwelt the monster, there he lay,
    His spoil awaiting, night and day;
    Like the hell-dragon, thus he kept
    Watch near the shrine, and never slept;
    And if a hapless pilgrim chanced
    To enter on that fatal way,
    From out his ambush quick advanced
    The foe, and seized him as his prey."

    "I mounted now the rocky height;
    Ere I commenced the fearful fight,
    There knelt I to the infant Lord,
    And pardon for my sins implored.
    Then in the holy fane I placed
    My shining armor round my waist,
    My right hand grasped my javelin,
    The fight then went I to begin;
    Instructions gave my squires among,
    Commanding them to tarry there;
    Then on my steed I nimbly sprung,
    And gave my spirit to God's care."

    "Soon as I reached the level plain,
    My dogs found out the scent amain;
    My frightened horse soon reared on high,--
    His fear I could not pacify,
    For, coiled up in a circle, lo!
    There lay the fierce and hideous foe,
    Sunning himself upon the ground.
    Straight at him rushed each nimble hound;
    Yet thence they turned, dismayed and fast,
    When he his gaping jaws op'd wide,
    Vomited forth his poisonous blast,
    And like the howling jackal cried."

    "But soon their courage I restored;
    They seized with rage the foe abhorred,
    While I against the beast's loins threw
    My spear with sturdy arm and true:
    But, powerless as a bulrush frail,
    It bounded from his coat of mail;
    And ere I could repeat the throw,
    My horse reeled wildly to and fro
    Before his basilisk-like look,
    And at his poison-teeming breath,--
    Sprang backward, and with terror shook,
    While I seemed doomed to certain death."

    "Then from my steed I nimbly sprung,
    My sharp-edged sword with vigor swung;
    Yet all in vain my strokes I plied,--
    I could not pierce his rock-like hide.
    His tail with fury lashing round,
    Sudden he bore me to the ground.
    His jaws then opening fearfully,
    With angry teeth he struck at me;
    But now my dogs, with wrath new-born,
    Rushed on his belly with fierce bite,
    So that, by dreadful anguish torn,
    He howling stood before my sight."

    "And ere he from their teeth was free,
    I raised myself up hastily,
    The weak place of the foe explored,
    And in his entrails plunged my sword,
    Sinking it even to the hilt;
    Black gushing forth, his blood was spilt.
    Down sank he, burying in his fall
    Me with his body's giant ball,
    So that my senses quickly fled;
    And when I woke with strength renewed,
    The dragon in his blood lay dead,
    While round me grouped my squires all stood."

    The joyous shouts, so long suppressed,
    Now burst from every hearer's breast,
    Soon as the knight these words had spoken;
    And ten times 'gainst the high vault broken,
    The sound of mingled voices rang,
    Re-echoing back with hollow clang.
    The Order's sons demand, in haste,
    That with a crown his brow be graced,
    And gratefully in triumph now
    The mob the youth would bear along
    When, lo! the master knit his brow,
    And called for silence 'mongst the throng.

    And said, "The dragon that this land
    Laid waste, thou slew'st with daring hand;
    Although the people's idol thou,
    The Order's foe I deem thee now.
    Thy breast has to a fiend more base
    Than e'en this dragon given place.
    The serpent that the heart most stings,
    And hatred and destruction brings,
    That spirit is, which stubborn lies,
    And impiously cast off the rein,
    Despising order's sacred ties;
    'Tis that destroys the world amain."

    "The Mameluke makes of courage boast,
    Obedience decks the Christian most;
    For where our great and blessed Lord
    As a mere servant walked abroad,
    The fathers, on that holy ground,
    This famous Order chose to found,
    That arduous duty to fulfil
    To overcome one's own self-will!
    'Twas idle glory moved thee there:
    So take thee hence from out my sight!
    For who the Lord's yoke cannot bear,
    To wear his cross can have no right."

    A furious shout now raise the crowd,
    The place is filled with outcries loud;
    The brethren all for pardon cry;
    The youth in silence droops his eye--
    Mutely his garment from him throws,
    Kisses the master's hand, and--goes.
    But he pursues him with his gaze,
    Recalls him lovingly, and says:
    "Let me embrace thee now, my son!
    The harder fight is gained by thee.
    Take, then, this cross--the guerdon won
    By self-subdued humility."
    And all my youth passed by sad-hearted,
    the joy of Spring was never mine;
    Autumn blows through me dread of parting,
    and my heart dreams and longs to die.

    - Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850)

    Real misanthropes are not found in solitude, but in the world; since it is experience of life, and not philosophy, which produces real hatred of mankind.

    - Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837)

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    Post Friedrich Schiller: The Lay of the Bill (Das Lied von der Glocke)

    The Lay of the Bell

    "Vivos voco--Mortuos plango--Fulgura frango."

    Fast, in its prison-walls of earth,
    Awaits the mould of baked clay.
    Up, comrades, up, and aid the birth
    The bell that shall be born to-day!
    Who would honor obtain,
    With the sweat and the pain,
    The praise that man gives to the master must buy.--
    But the blessing withal must descend from on high!

    And well an earnest word beseems
    The work the earnest hand prepares;
    Its load more light the labor deems,
    When sweet discourse the labor shares.
    So let us ponder--nor in vain--
    What strength can work when labor wills;
    For who would not the fool disdain
    Who ne'er designs what he fulfils?
    And well it stamps our human race,
    And hence the gift to understand,
    That man within the heart should trace
    Whate'er he fashions with the hand.

    From the fir the fagot take,
    Keep it, heap it hard and dry,
    That the gathered flame may break
    Through the furnace, wroth and high.
    When the copper within
    Seeths and simmers--the tin,
    Pour quick, that the fluid that feeds the bell
    May flow in the right course glib and well.

    Deep hid within this nether cell,
    What force with fire is moulding thus,
    In yonder airy tower shall dwell,
    And witness wide and far of us!
    It shall, in later days, unfailing,
    Rouse many an ear to rapt emotion;
    Its solemn voice with sorrow wailing,
    Or choral chiming to devotion.
    Whatever fate to man may bring,
    Whatever weal or woe befall,
    That metal tongue shall backward ring,
    The warning moral drawn from all.

    See the silvery bubbles spring!
    Good! the mass is melting now!
    Let the salts we duly bring
    Purge the flood, and speed the flow.
    From the dross and the scum,
    Pure, the fusion must come;
    For perfect and pure we the metal must keep,
    That its voice may be perfect, and pure, and deep.

    That voice, with merry music rife,
    The cherished child shall welcome in;
    What time the rosy dreams of life,
    In the first slumber's arms begin.
    As yet, in Time's dark womb unwarning,
    Repose the days, or foul or fair;
    And watchful o'er that golden morning,
    The mother-love's untiring care!
    And swift the years like arrows fly
    No more with girls content to play,
    Bounds the proud boy upon his way,
    Storms through loud life's tumultuous pleasures,
    With pilgrim staff the wide world measures;
    And, wearied with the wish to roam,
    Again seeks, stranger-like, the father-home.
    And, lo, as some sweet vision breaks
    Out from its native morning skies
    With rosy shame on downcast cheeks,
    The virgin stands before his eyes.

    A nameless longing seizes him!
    From all his wild compassions flown;
    Tears, strange till then, his eyes bedim;
    He wanders all alone.
    Blushing, he glides where'er she move;
    Her greeting can transport him;
    To every mead to deck his love,
    The happy wild flowers court him!
    Sweet hope--and tender longing--ye
    The growth of life's first age of gold;
    When the heart, swelling, seems to see
    The gates of heaven unfold!
    O love, the beautiful and brief! O prime,
    Glory, and verdure, of life's summer time!

    Browning o'er, the pipes are simmering,
    Dip this wand of clay within;
    If like glass the wand be glimmering,
    Then the casting may begin.
    Brisk, brisk now, and see
    If the fusion flow free;
    If--(happy and welcome indeed were the sign!)
    If the hard and the ductile united combine.
    For still where the strong is betrothed to the weak,
    And the stern in sweet marriage is blent with the meek,
    Rings the concord harmonious, both tender and strong
    So be it with thee, if forever united,
    The heart to the heart flows in one, love-delighted;
    Illusion is brief, but repentance is long.

    Lovely, thither are they bringing.
    With the virgin wreath, the bride!
    To the love-feast clearly ringing,
    Tolls the church-bell far and wide!
    With that sweetest holiday,
    Must the May of life depart;
    With the cestus loosed--away
    Flies illusion from the heart!
    Yet love lingers lonely,
    When passion is mute,
    And the blossoms may only
    Give way to the fruit.
    The husband must enter
    The hostile life,
    With struggle and strife
    To plant or to watch.
    To snare or to snatch,
    To pray and importune,
    Must wager and venture
    And hunt down his fortune!
    Then flows in a current the gear and the gain,
    And the garners are filled with the gold of the grain,
    Now a yard to the court, now a wing to the centre!
    Within sits another,
    The thrifty housewife;
    The mild one, the mother--
    Her home is her life.
    In its circle she rules,
    And the daughters she schools
    And she cautions the boys,
    With a bustling command,
    And a diligent hand
    Employed she employs;
    Gives order to store,
    And the much makes the more;
    Locks the chest and the wardrobe, with lavender smelling,
    And the hum of the spindle goes quick through the dwelling;
    And she hoards in the presses, well polished and full,
    The snow of the linen, the shine of the wool;
    Blends the sweet with the good, and from care and endeavor
    Rests never!
    Blithe the master (where the while
    From his roof he sees them smile)
    Eyes the lands, and counts the gain;
    There, the beams projecting far,
    And the laden storehouse are,
    And the granaries bowed beneath
    The blessed golden grain;
    There, in undulating motion,
    Wave the cornfields like an ocean.
    Proud the boast the proud lips breathe:--
    "My house is built upon a rock,
    And sees unmoved the stormy shock
    Of waves that fret below!"
    What chain so strong, what girth so great,
    To bind the giant form of fate?--
    Swift are the steps of woe.

    Now the casting may begin;
    See the breach indented there:
    Ere we run the fusion in,
    Halt--and speed the pious prayer!
    Pull the bung out--
    See around and about
    What vapor, what vapor--God help us!--has risen?--
    Ha! the flame like a torrent leaps forth from its prison!
    What friend is like the might of fire
    When man can watch and wield the ire?
    Whate'er we shape or work, we owe
    Still to that heaven-descended glow.
    But dread the heaven-descended glow,
    When from their chain its wild wings go,
    When, where it listeth, wide and wild
    Sweeps free Nature's free-born child.
    When the frantic one fleets,
    While no force can withstand,
    Through the populous streets
    Whirling ghastly the brand;
    For the element hates
    What man's labor creates,
    And the work of his hand!
    Impartially out from the cloud,
    Or the curse or the blessing may fall!
    Benignantly out from the cloud
    Come the dews, the revivers of all!
    Avengingly out from the cloud
    Come the levin, the bolt, and the ball!
    Hark--a wail from the steeple!--aloud
    The bell shrills its voice to the crowd!
    Look--look--red as blood
    All on high!
    It is not the daylight that fills with its flood
    The sky!
    What a clamor awaking
    Roars up through the street,
    What a hell-vapor breaking.
    Rolls on through the street,
    And higher and higher
    Aloft moves the column of fire!
    Through the vistas and rows
    Like a whirlwind it goes,
    And the air like the stream from the furnace glows.
    Beams are crackling--posts are shrinking
    Walls are sinking--windows clinking--
    Children crying--
    Mothers flying--
    And the beast (the black ruin yet smouldering under)
    Yells the howl of its pain and its ghastly wonder!
    Hurry and skurry--away--away,
    The face of the night is as clear as day!
    As the links in a chain,
    Again and again
    Flies the bucket from hand to hand;
    High in arches up-rushing
    The engines are gushing,
    And the flood, as a beast on the prey that it hounds
    With a roar on the breast of the element bounds.
    To the grain and the fruits,
    Through the rafters and beams,
    Through the barns and garners it crackles and streams!
    As if they would rend up the earth from its roots,
    Rush the flames to the sky
    And at length,
    Wearied out and despairing, man bows to their strength!
    With an idle gaze sees their wrath consume,
    And submits to his doom!
    The place, and dread
    For storms the barren bed.
    In the blank voids that cheerful casements were,
    Comes to and fro the melancholy air,
    And sits despair;
    And through the ruin, blackening in its shroud
    Peers, as it flits, the melancholy cloud.

    One human glance of grief upon the grave
    Of all that fortune gave
    The loiterer takes--then turns him to depart,
    And grasps the wanderer's staff and mans his heart
    Whatever else the element bereaves
    One blessing more than all it reft--it leaves,
    The faces that he loves!--He counts them o'er,
    See--not one look is missing from that store!

    Now clasped the bell within the clay--
    The mould the mingled metals fill--
    Oh, may it, sparkling into day,
    Reward the labor and the skill!
    Alas! should it fail,
    For the mould may be frail--
    And still with our hope must be mingled the fear--
    And, ev'n now, while we speak, the mishap may be near!
    To the dark womb of sacred earth
    This labor of our hands is given,
    As seeds that wait the second birth,
    And turn to blessings watched by heaven!
    Ah, seeds, how dearer far than they,
    We bury in the dismal tomb,
    Where. hope and sorrow bend to pray
    That suns beyond the realm of day
    May warm them into bloom!

    From the steeple
    Tolls the bell,
    Deep and heavy,
    The death-knell!
    Guiding with dirge-note--solemn, sad, and slow,
    To the last home earth's weary wanderers know.
    It is that worshipped wife--
    It is that faithful mother!
    Whom the dark prince of shadows leads benighted,
    From that dear arm where oft she hung delighted
    Far from those blithe companions, born
    Of her, and blooming in their morn;
    On whom, when couched her heart above,
    So often looked the mother-love!

    Ah! rent the sweet home's union-band,
    And never, never more to come--
    She dwells within the shadowy land,
    Who was the mother of that home!
    How oft they miss that tender guide,
    The care--the watch--the face--the mother--
    And where she sate the babes beside,
    Sits with unloving looks--another!

    While the mass is cooling now,
    Let the labor yield to leisure,
    As the bird upon the bough,
    Loose the travail to the pleasure.
    When the soft stars awaken,
    Each task be forsaken!
    And the vesper-bell lulling the earth into peace,
    If the master still toil, chimes the workman's release!

    Homeward from the tasks of day,
    Through the greenwood's welcome way
    Wends the wanderer, blithe and cheerly,
    To the cottage loved so dearly!
    And the eye and ear are meeting,
    Now, the slow sheep homeward bleating--
    Now, the wonted shelter near,
    Lowing the lusty-fronted steer;
    Creaking now the heavy wain,
    Reels with the happy harvest grain.
    While with many-colored leaves,
    Glitters the garland on the sheaves;
    For the mower's work is done,
    And the young folks' dance begun!
    Desert street, and quiet mart;--
    Silence is in the city's heart;
    And the social taper lighteth;
    Each dear face that home uniteth;
    While the gate the town before
    Heavily swings with sullen roar!

    Though darkness is spreading
    O'er earth--the upright
    And the honest, undreading,
    Look safe on the night--
    Which the evil man watches in awe,
    For the eye of the night is the law!
    Bliss-dowered! O daughter of the skies,
    Hail, holy order, whose employ
    Blends like to like in light and joy--
    Builder of cities, who of old
    Called the wild man from waste and wold.
    And, in his hut thy presence stealing,
    Roused each familiar household feeling;
    And, best of all the happy ties,
    The centre of the social band,--
    The instinct of the Fatherland!

    United thus--each helping each,
    Brisk work the countless hands forever;
    For naught its power to strength can teach,
    Like emulation and endeavor!
    Thus linked the master with the man,
    Each in his rights can each revere,
    And while they march in freedom's van,
    Scorn the lewd rout that dogs the rear!
    To freemen labor is renown!
    Who works--gives blessings and commands;
    Kings glory in the orb and crown--
    Be ours the glory of our hands.

    Long in these walls--long may we greet
    Your footfalls, peace and concord sweet!
    Distant the day, oh! distant far,
    When the rude hordes of trampling war
    Shall scare the silent vale;
    And where,
    Now the sweet heaven, when day doth leave
    The air,
    Limns its soft rose-hues on the veil of eve;
    Shall the fierce war-brand tossing in the gale,
    From town and hamlet shake the horrent glare!

    Now, its destined task fulfilled,
    Asunder break the prison-mould;
    Let the goodly bell we build,
    Eye and heart alike behold.
    The hammer down heave,
    Till the cover it cleave:--
    For not till we shatter the wall of its cell
    Can we lift from its darkness and bondage the bell.

    To break the mould, the master may,
    If skilled the hand and ripe the hour;
    But woe, when on its fiery way
    The metal seeks itself to pour.
    Frantic and blind, with thunder-knell,
    Exploding from its shattered home,
    And glaring forth, as from a hell,
    Behold the red destruction come!
    When rages strength that has no reason,
    There breaks the mould before the season;
    When numbers burst what bound before,
    Woe to the state that thrives no more!
    Yea, woe, when in the city's heart,
    The latent spark to flame is blown;
    And millions from their silence start,
    To claim, without a guide, their own!

    Discordant howls the warning bell,
    Proclaiming discord wide and far,
    And, born but things of peace to tell,
    Becomes the ghastliest voice of war:
    "Freedom! Equality!"--to blood
    Rush the roused people at the sound!
    Through street, hall, palace, roars the flood,
    And banded murder closes round!
    The hyena-shapes (that women were!),
    Jest with the horrors they survey;
    They hound--they rend--they mangle there--
    As panthers with their prey!
    Naught rests to hollow--burst the ties
    Of life's sublime and reverent awe;
    Before the vice the virtue flies,
    And universal crime is law!
    Man fears the lion's kingly tread;
    Man fears the tiger's fangs of terror;
    And still the dreadliest of the dread,
    Is man himself in error!
    No torch, though lit from heaven, illumes
    The blind!--Why place it in his hand?
    It lights not him--it but consumes
    The city and the land!

    Rejoice and laud the prospering skies!
    The kernel bursts its husk--behold
    From the dull clay the metal rise,
    Pure-shining, as a star of gold!
    Neck and lip, but as one beam,
    It laughs like a sunbeam.
    And even the scutcheon, clear-graven, shall tell
    That the art of a master has fashioned the bell!

    Come in--come in
    My merry men--we'll form a ring
    The new-born labor christening;
    And "Concord" we will name her!--
    To union may her heartfelt call
    In brother-love attune us all!
    May she the destined glory win
    For which the master sought to frame her--
    Aloft--(all earth's existence under),
    In blue-pavillioned heaven afar
    To dwell--the neighbor of the thunder,
    The borderer of the star!
    Be hers above a voice to rise
    Like those bright hosts in yonder sphere,
    Who, while they move, their Maker praise,
    And lead around the wreathed year!
    To solemn and eternal things
    We dedicate her lips sublime!--
    As hourly, calmly, on she swings
    Fanned by the fleeting wings of time!--
    No pulse--no heart--no feeling hers!
    She lends the warning voice to fate;
    And still companions, while she stirs,
    The changes of the human state!
    So may she teach us, as her tone
    But now so mighty, melts away--
    That earth no life which earth has known
    From the last silence can delay!

    Slowly now the cords upheave her!
    From her earth-grave soars the bell;
    Mid the airs of heaven we leave her!
    In the music-realm to dwell!
    Up--upwards yet raise--
    She has risen--she sways.
    Fair bell to our city bode joy and increase,
    And oh, may thy first sound be hallowed to peace!
    And all my youth passed by sad-hearted,
    the joy of Spring was never mine;
    Autumn blows through me dread of parting,
    and my heart dreams and longs to die.

    - Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850)

    Real misanthropes are not found in solitude, but in the world; since it is experience of life, and not philosophy, which produces real hatred of mankind.

    - Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837)

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    Post Friedrich Schiller: The Pilgrim

    The Pilgrim

    Youth's gay springtime scarcely knowing
    Went I forth the world to roam--
    And the dance of youth, the glowing,
    Left I in my father's home,
    Of my birthright, glad-believing,
    Of my world-gear took I none,
    Careless as an infant, cleaving
    To my pilgrim staff alone.
    For I placed my mighty hope in
    Dim and holy words of faith,
    "Wander forth--the way is open,
    Ever on the upward path--
    Till thou gain the golden portal,
    Till its gates unclose to thee.
    There the earthly and the mortal,
    Deathless and divine shall be!"
    Night on morning stole, on stealeth,
    Never, never stand I still,
    And the future yet concealeth,
    What I seek, and what I will!
    Mount on mount arose before me,
    Torrents hemmed me every side,
    But I built a bridge that bore me
    O'er the roaring tempest-tide.
    Towards the east I reached a river,
    On its shores I did not rest;
    Faith from danger can deliver,
    And I trusted to its breast.
    Drifted in the whirling motion,
    Seas themselves around me roll--
    Wide and wider spreads the ocean,
    Far and farther flies the goal.
    While I live is never given
    Bridge or wave the goal to near--
    Earth will never meet the heaven,
    Never can the there be here!
    And all my youth passed by sad-hearted,
    the joy of Spring was never mine;
    Autumn blows through me dread of parting,
    and my heart dreams and longs to die.

    - Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850)

    Real misanthropes are not found in solitude, but in the world; since it is experience of life, and not philosophy, which produces real hatred of mankind.

    - Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837)

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