The Project Gutenberg eBook of The poems of Heine; Complete

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Title: The poems of Heine; Complete

Author: Heinrich Heine

Translator: Edgar Alfred Bowring

Release date: August 23, 2016 [eBook #52882]
Most recently updated: January 24, 2021

Language: English

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*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE POEMS OF HEINE; COMPLETE ***


{i}

BOHN’S STANDARD LIBRARY
—————
THE POEMS OF HEINE

{ii}

GEORGE BELL AND SONS

LONDON: PORTUGAL ST., LINCOLN’S INN.
CAMBRIDGE: DEIGHTON, BELL AND CO.
NEW   YORK:     THE   MACMILLAN   CO.
BOMBAY:   A.   H.   WHEELER   AND   CO.

{iii}

THE   POEMS   OF   HEINE
COMPLETE
TRANSLATED INTO THE ORIGINAL METRES
WITH A SKETCH OF HIS LIFE

BY
EDGAR ALFRED BOWRING, C.B.

[Image of the colophon unavailable.]

LONDON
GEORGE   BELL   AND   SONS
1908


[Reprinted from Stereotype plates.]


CONTENTS.

 PAGE
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITIONviii
PREFACEix
MEMOIR OF HEINRICH HEINExi
EARLY POEMS.
SONGS OF LOVE
Love’s Salutation1
Love’s Lament1
Yearning2
The White Flower3
Presentiment4
MISCELLANEOUS POEMS
Germany, 18156
Dream, 18169
The Consecration11
The Moor’s Serenade12
Dream and Life13
The Lesson14
To Francis V. Z——14
A Prologue to the Hartz-Journey15
Defend Not15
A Parody16
Walking Flowers at Berlin16
Evening Songs16
 
Sonnets
To Augustus William von Schlegel17
To the Same17
To Councillor George S——, of Göttingen19
To J. B. Rousseau19
The Night Watch on the Drachenfels. To Fritz von B——20
In Fritz Steinmann’s Album20
To Her{vi}21
Goethe’s Monument at Frankfort-on-the-Main, 182121
Dresden Poetry21
Beardless Art22
 
BOOK OF SONGS
 
PREFACE23
YOUTHFUL SORROWS (1817-1821)
Visions24
Songs39
Romances43
The Mournful One43
The Mountain Echo43
The Two Brothers44
Poor Peter44
The Prisoner’s Song45
The Grenadiers46
The Message46
Taking the Bride Home46
Don Ramiro47
Belshazzar52
The Minnesingers53
Looking from the Window54
The Wounded Knight54
The Sea Voyage54
The Song of Repentance55
To a Singer (on her singing an old romance)56
The Song of the Ducats57
Dialogue on Paderborn Heath57
Life’s Salutations (from an album)59
Quite True59
 
Sonnets
 
To A. W. von Schlegel59
To my Mother, B. Heine, née von Geldern60
To H. S.61
Fresco Sonnets to Christian S——61
 
LYRICAL INTERLUDE (1822-23)
 
Prologue65
Lyrics66
The God’s Twilight89
Ratcliff91
Donna Clara94
Alamansor96
The Pilgrimage to Kevlaar100
The Dream (from Salon){vii}102
 
NEW POEMS
 
Seraphina102
Angelica107
Diana112
Hortense113
Clarissa115
Yolante and Mary119
Emma121
Frederica122
Catherine124
Songs of Creation129
Abroad131
Tragedy132
The Tannhäuser, A Legend133
 
Romances
 
A Woman139
Celebration of Spring139
Childe Harold140
The Exorcism140
Extract from a letter141
The Evil Star142
Anno 1829142
Anno 1839143
At Dawn144
Sir Olave144
The Water Nymphs146
Bertrand de Born147
Spring147
Ali Bey148
Psyche149
The Unknown One149
The Change150
Fortune150
Lamentation of an old German Youth150
Away!151
Madam Mette (from the Danish)151
The Meeting153
King Harold Harfagar154
The Lower World155
 
Miscellanies
 
Muledom158
The Symbol of Madness158
Pride160
Away!161
Winter161
The Old Chimney-piece162
Longing162
Helena163
The Wise Stars163
The Angels{viii}163
 
Poems for the Times
 
Sound Doctrine164
Adam the First164
Warning165
To a Quondam Follower of Goethe (1832)165
The Secret166
On the Watchman’s Arrival in Paris166
The Drum Major167
Degeneracy169
Henry169
Life’s Journey170
The New Jewish Hospital at Hamburg170
George Herwegh171
The Tendency172
The Child173
The Primrose173
The Changeling174
The Emperor of China174
Church-Counsellor Prometheus175
To the Watchman176
Consoling thoughts176
The World Turned Upside Down177
Enlightenment178
Wait Awhile!179
Night Thoughts179
 
NEW SPRING
 
Prologue180
Lyrics180
PICTURES OF TRAVEL
THE RETURN HOME (1823-24)195
THE HARTZ-JOURNEY (1821)229
 
THE BALTIC (1825-26)
 
Part I. (1825)
 
Evening Twilight237
Sunset237
The Night on the Strand239
Poseidon240
Homage242
Declaration242
In the Cabin at Night243
The Storm245
Calm at Sea246
The Ocean-Spectre247
Purification249
Peace{v}249
 
Part II. (1826)
 
Sea Salutation251
Thunderstorm253
The Shiprecked One253
Sunset254
The Song of the Oceanides256
The Gods of Greece258
Questions260
The Phœnix261
Echo261
Sea-Sickness262
In Harbour263
Epilogue265
Monologue (from book Le Grand) 1826266
 
ATTA TROLL, a Summer Night’s Dream267
GERMANY, a Winter Tale326
 
ROMANCERO
 
Book I. Histories
 
Rhampsenitus380
The White Elephant382
Knave of Bergen387
The Valkyres388
Hastings’ Battle-field389
Charles I.392
Marie Antoinette393
The Silesian Weavers395
Pomare395
The Apollo God398
Hymn to King Louis401
Two Knights402
Our Marine (A Nautical Tale)404
The Golden Calf405
King David405
King Richard406
The Asra406
The Nuns407
Palgravine Jutta408
The Moorish King409
Geoffrey Rudèl and Melisanda of Tripoli411
The Poet Ferdusi412
Voyage by Night417
The Prelude418
Vitzliputzli420
 
Book II. Lamentations
 
Wood Solitude434
Spanish Lyrics438
The Ex-living One{x}445
The Ex-Watchman446
Mythology449
In Matilda’s Album449
To the Young449
The Unbeliever450
Whither Now?450
An Old Song451
Ready Money452
The Old Rose452
Auto-da-Fe452
Lazarus
The Way of the World453
Retrospect453
Resurrection454
The Dying One455
Rascality455
Retrospect456
Imperfection456
Pious Warning457
The Cooled-down One457
Solomon458
Lost Wishes458
The Anniversary459
Meeting Again460
Mrs. Care460
To the Angels461
In October, 1849461
Evil Dreams463
It Goes Out464
The Will464
Enfant Perdu465
 
Book III. Hebrew Melodies
 
Princess Sabbath466
Jehuda Ben Halevy470
Disputation492
 
LATEST POEMS (1853-54)
 
Miscellaneous
Peace Yearning504
In May504
Body and Soul505
Red Slippers506
Babylonian Sorrows507
The Slave Ship508
Affrontenburg512
Appendix to “Lazarus”514
The Dragon Fly520
Ascension521
The Affianced Ones{xi}524
The Philanthropist525
The Whims of the Amorous527
Mimi529
Good Advice530
Reminiscences of Hammonia531
The Robbers533
The Young Cats’ Club for Poetry-Music533
Hans Lack-Land535
Recollections from Krähwinkel’s Days of Terror537
The Audience (an old Fable)538
Kobes I.539
Epilogue544
 
Addenda
The Song of Songs545
The Suttler’s Song (from the Thirty Years’ War)546
 
POSTHUMOUS POEMS
 
Horse and Ass548
The Ass-Election550
Bertha552
In the Cathedral552
The Dragon-fly553
Old Scents554
Miserere555
To Matilda556
For the “Mouche”556

{xii}

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

A NEW edition of this work having been called for, owing to the first edition having been for some time out of print, I have taken advantage of the opportunity to add translations of a remarkable collection of Poems by Heine, published for the first time since the appearance of my work in 1859. They consist of as many as twelve hundred lines, described partly as “Early Poems,” which will be found at the beginning of the volume, and partly as “Posthumous Poems,” which are placed at the end. The metres of the original have been again retained throughout.

Various errors discovered by me in the first edition have now been corrected; and it only remains for me to express my thanks for the kind manner in which the critical and the general public, both in England and abroad, have received the work, and for the indulgence extended by them to its many imperfections.

E. A. B.

{ix}

PREFACE.

IT may perhaps be thought that I exhibit something of the brazen-facedness of a hardened offender in venturing once more (but, I hope, for the last time) to present myself to the public in the guise of a translator,—and, what is more, a translator of a great poet. The favourable reception, however, that my previous translations of the Poems of Schiller and Goethe have met with at the hands of the public, may possibly be admitted as some excuse for this new attempt to make that public acquainted with the works of a third great German minstrel. Comparatively little known and little appreciated in England, the name of Heine is in Germany familiar as a household word; and while, on the one hand, many of his charming minor poems have become dear to the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands of his fellow-countrymen, and are sung alike in the palace and the cottage, in the country and the town, on the other his sterner works have done much to influence the political and religious tendencies of the modern German school.

Having prefixed to this Volume a brief memoir of Heine, accompanied by a few observations on his various works and their distinguishing characteristics, I will here confine myself to stating that I have adhered with the utmost strictness to the principles laid down by me for my guidance in the case of the previous translations attempted by me,—those principles being (1) As close and literal an adherence to the original as is consistent with good English and with poetry, and (2) the preservation throughout the work of the original metres, of which Heine presents an almost unprecedented variety. I have, on the occasion of my former publications, fully explained my reasons for adopting this course, and will not weary the reader with repeating them. I have sufficient evidence before me of the approval of the public in this respect to induce me to frame my translation of Heine’s Poems on the same model.

In addition to thus preserving both the language and the metre of the original, I have in one other respect endeavoured to reproduce my author precisely as I found him, and that is in the important particular of completeness. There are doubtless many poems written by Heine that one could wish had never been written, and that one would willingly refrain from translating. But the omission of these would hide from the reader some of Heine’s chief peculiarities, and would tend to give him an incomplete if not incorrect notion of what the poet was. A translator no more assumes the responsibility of his author’s words than a faithful Editor does, and he goes beyond his province if he omits whatever does not happen to agree with his own notions.

In claiming for the present work (extending over more than 20,000 verses) the abstract merits of literalness, completeness, and rigid adherence to the metrical peculiarities of the original, it is very far from my intention to claim any credit for the manner in which I have executed that difficult task, or to pretend that I have been successful in it. That is a question for the reader alone to decide. The credit of conscientiousness and close application in the matter is all that I would venture to assert for myself. All beyond is left exclusively to the candid, and, I would fain hope, generous, appreciation of those whom I now voluntarily constitute my judges.{xv}

HEINRICH HEINE.

ALTHOUGH little more than three years have elapsed since Heinrich Heine was first numbered amongst the dead, his name has long been enrolled in the lists of fame. Even during his lifetime he had the good fortune,—and, in a poet, the most unusual good fortune,—of being generally accepted as a Representative Man, and of passing as the National Bard of Young Germany. Although perhaps scarcely entitled to rank with Goethe and Schiller in the very highest order of poets, the name of Heine will assuredly always occupy a prominent place amongst the minstrels not only of Germany, but of the world.

It is only recently that his works have been for the first time published in an absolutely complete form, the poetry extending over more than two of the six volumes of which they consist. Universally known and read in his native land, and highly popular in France, which was for so many years his adopted country, the works of Heine are to the generality of Englishmen (as stated in the Preface) almost entirely unknown. As the present volume is, as far as I am aware, the only attempt that has been made to bring the far-famed poems of Heine in their integrity before the English reader,[1] it seems desirable to preface it by a brief sketch of his life, so that in seeing what Heine is as a poet, we may be able to form some idea as to who he was as a man. One who has been compared in turns to Aristophanes, Rabelais, Burns, Cervantes, Sterne, Jean Paul, Voltaire, Swift, Byron, and Béranger{xvi} (and to all these has he been likened), can be of no common stamp. The discrepancies both as to facts and dates that occur between the various biographies of Heine are, however, so numerous, that it has been no easy task to avoid error in the following brief sketch of his life.

Heinrich (or Henry) Heine was born in the Bolkerstrasse, at Dusseldorf, on the 12th of December, 1799; but, singularly enough, the exact date of his birth was, until recently, unknown to his biographers, who, on the authority of a saying of his own, assigned it to the 1st of January, 1800, which he boasted made him “the first man of the century.” In reply, however, to a specific inquiry addressed to him by a friend on this subject a few years before his death, he stated that he was really born on the day first mentioned, and that the date of 1800 usually given by his biographers was the result of an error voluntarily committed by his family in his favour at the time of the Prussian invasion, in order to exempt him from the service of the king of Prussia.

By birth he was a Jew, both of his parents having been of that persuasion. He was the eldest of four children, and his two brothers are (or were recently) still alive, the one being a physician in Russia, and the other an officer in the Austrian service. The famous Solomon Heine, the banker of Hamburg, whose wealth was only equalled by his philanthropy, was his uncle. His father, however, was far from being in opulent circumstances. When quite a child, he took delight in reading Don Quixote, and used to cry with anger at seeing how ill the heroism of that valiant knight was requited. He says somewhere, speaking of his boyish days, “apple-tarts” were then my passion. Now it is love, truth, freedom, and “crab-soup.” He received his earliest education at the Franciscan convent in his native town, and while there had the misfortune to be the innocent cause of the death by drowning of a schoolfellow, an incident recorded in one of the poems in his “Romancero.” He mentions the great effect produced upon him by the sorrowful face of a large wooden Christ which was constantly before his eyes in the Convent. Even at that early age the germs of what has been called “his fantastic sensibility, the food for infinite irony,” seem to{xiii} have been developing themselves. A visit of the Emperor Napoleon to Dusseldorf when he was a boy affected him in a singular manner, and had probably much to do with the formation of those imperialist tendencies which are often to be noticed in his character and writings. He was next placed in the Lyceum of Dusseldorf, and in 1816 was sent to Hamburg to study commerce, being intended for mercantile pursuits. In 1819 he was removed to the University at Bonn which had been founded in the previous year, and there he had the advantage of studying under Augustus Schlegel. He seems, however, to have remained there only six months, and to have then gone to the University of Göttingen, where, as he tells us, he was rusticated soon after matriculation. He next took up his abode at Berlin, where he applied himself to the study of philosophy, under the direction of the great Hegel, whose influence, combined with that of the works of Spinosa, undoubtedly had much to do with the formation of Heine’s mind, and also determined his future career. From this time we hear no more of his turning merchant; and it is from the date of his residence at Berlin that we may date the rise of that spirit of universal indifference and reckless daring that so strongly characterizes the writings of Heine. Amongst his associates at this period may be mentioned, in addition to Hegel, Chamisso, Varnhagen von Ense and his well-known wife Rachel, Bopp the philologist, and Grabbe, the eccentricities of whose works were only equalled by the eccentricities of his life.

Heine’s first volume of poetry, entitled “Gedichte” or Poems, was published in 1822, the poems being those which, under the name of “Youthful Sorrows,” now form the opening of his “Book of Songs.” Notwithstanding the extraordinary success afterwards obtained by this latter work, his first publication was very coldly received. Some of the poems in it were written as far back as 1817,[2] and originally{xiv} appeared in the Hamburg periodical “Der Wachter” or “Watchman.” Offended at this result, he left Berlin and returned to Göttingen in 1823, where he took to studying law, and received the degree of Doctor in 1825. He was baptized into the Lutheran Church in the same year, at Heiligenstadt, near that place. He afterwards said jocularly that he took this course to prevent M. de Rothschild treating him too fa-millionairely. It is to be feared, however, from the tone of all his works, that his nominal religious opinions sat very lightly upon him through life. He writes as follows on this subject in 1852: “My ancestors belonged to the Jewish religion, but I was never proud of this descent; neither did I ever set store upon my quality of Lutheran, although I belong to the evangelical confession quite as much as the greatest devotees amongst my Berlin enemies, who always reproach me with a want of religion. I rather felt humiliated at passing for a purely human creature,—I whom the philosophy of Hegel led to suppose that I was a god. How proud I then was of my divinity! What an idea I had of my grandeur! Alas! that charming time has long passed away, and I cannot think of it without sadness, now that I am lying stretched on my back, whilst my disease is making terrible progress.”

Previous to this date, and whilst living at Berlin, Heine published (in 1823) his only two plays, “Almanzor” and “Ratcliff,” which were equally unsuccessful on the stage and in print, and which are certainly the least worthy of all his works. Between these two plays he inserted a collection of poetry entitled “Lyrical Interlude,” which attracted little attention at the time. In the year 1827, however, he republished this collection at Hamburg, in conjunction with his “Youthful Sorrows,” giving to the whole the title of the “Book of Songs.” In proportion to the indifference with which his poems had been received on their first appearance, was the enthusiasm which they now excited. They were read with avidity in every direction, especially in the various universities, where their influence upon the minds of the students was very great. In the year 1852, this work had reached the tenth edition.{xix}

Heine’s next great work, his “Reisebilder,” or Pictures of Travel, written partly in poetry and partly in prose, was published at Hamburg at various intervals from 1826 to 1831, and, as its name implies, is descriptive of his travels in different countries, especially in England and Italy. The poetical portion of the “Reisebilder,” the whole of which is translated in this volume, is divided into three parts,—“The Return Home,” the “Hartz-Journey,” and “The Baltic,” written between 1823 and 1826. This work again met with an almost unprecedented success, and from the date of its publication and that of the “Book of Songs,” may be reckoned the commencement of a new era in German literature. These remarkable poems exhibit the whole nature of Heine, free from all disguise. The striking originality, the exuberance of fancy, and, above all, the singular beauty and feeling of the versification that characterize nearly the whole of them, stand out in as yet unheard-of contrast to the intense and bitter irony that pervades them,—an irony that spared nobody, that spared nothing, not even the most sacred subjects being exempt from the poet’s mocking sarcasm. This characteristic of Heine only increased as years passed on. In the later years of his life, which were one long-continued agony, his bodily sufferings offer some excuse, it may be, for what would otherwise have been inexcusable in the writings of a great poet. There was doubtless much affectation in the want of all religious and political faith that is so signally apparent in the works of Heine, and yet they betray a real bitterness of feeling that cannot be mistaken. At every page may be traced the malicious pleasure felt by him in exciting the sympathy and admiration of the reader to the highest pitch, and then with a few words,—with the last line or the last verse of a long poem, it may be,—rudely insulting them, and dashing them to the ground. No better parody of this favourite amusement of Heine can be given than by citing two well-known verses of Dr. Johnson:

“Hermit old in mossy cell,
“Wearing out life’s evening gray,
“Strike thy pensive breast, and tell
“Where is bliss, and which the way?”{xx}
Thus I spake, and frequent sigh’d,
Scarce repress’d the falling tear,
When the hoary sage replied:
“Come, my lad, and drink some beer.”

The exuberance of Heine’s heart, as has been well said, was only equalled by the dryness of his spirit; a real enthusiasm was blended with an unquenchable love of satire; “his exquisite dilettanteism made him adore the gods and goddesses of Greece at the expense even of Christianity.” In short, qualities scarcely ever found in combination, were combined in him; in one weak, suffering body two distinct and opposite natures, each equally mighty, were united. Perhaps the best name ever applied to him is that of the “Julian of poetry.”

The French Revolution in 1830 determined Heine’s future life. He was then living at Berlin again, after having resided at Hamburg and Munich. He now turned politician and newspaper writer. His Essay on Nobility was written at this time. He presently (in May 1831) went to live in Paris, where he resided until his death, with the exception of making one or two short visits to his native land. Though the fact is not exactly stated, there can be no doubt that he received some very broad hints from the authorities of Prussia to leave that country. From that time, France became his adopted fatherland, and he himself was thenceforward more of a Frenchman than a German. The Germans have indeed always reproached him as being frivolous and French; he has often been called the Voltaire of Germany; but Thiers perhaps described him the most accurately when he spoke of him as being “the wittiest Frenchman since Voltaire.” He wrote French as fluently as German; and the translations of his various works that were published in Paris in the Revue des deux Mondes and the Bibliothèque Contemporaine, or as separate works, were either written by himself, or by his personal friends under his own immediate superintendence.

Some of his more important prose works were written soon after he took up his abode in Paris. He wrote, in 1831, a series of articles for the Augsburg Gazette on the State of{xxi} France, which he subsequently collected and published both in French and German. In 1833 appeared his well-known “History of Modern Literature in Germany,” republished afterwards under the title of “The Romantic School,” and in French under that of “L’Allemagne.” This may be looked upon as his most remarkable prose work, and as the one that most exhibits his characteristic peculiarities. The following lively description of it is from the pen of an eminent French critic: “According to M. Heine, the whole of the intellectual movement of Germany since Lessing and Kant has been a death-struggle against Deism. This struggle he describes with passion, and it may be said that he heads it in person. He ranges his army in order of battle, he gives the signals, and marches the Titans against heaven,—Kant, Fichte, Hegel, all those formidable spirits whose every thought is a victory, whose every formula is a cosmogonic bouleversement. Around them, in front or behind, are grouped a crowd of writers, theologians and poets, romance writers and savans. If one of the combatants stops short, like Schelling, the author overwhelms him with invectives. If a timid and poetic band of dreamers, such as Tieck, Novalis, Brentanc, and Arnim, try to bring back this feverish Germany to the fresh poetry of the middle ages, he throws himself upon them and disperses them, like those Cobolds in the ‘Book of Songs’ who overthrew the angels of paradise. And when the philosophical conflict is over, he predicts its consequences with a sort of savage delirium.... He compares Kant to the bloodthirsty dictators of ’93, and proclaims the gospel of pantheism. His theory of the intellectual history of the Germans is altogether false, and should only be consulted as an illustration—alas, too positive!—of the fever at once mystical and sensual of a certain period of our age.” This book produced a perfect storm of fury in Germany. “Denounced by Menzel and the pietists as an emissary of Modern Babylon, cursed by the austere teutomaniacs as a representative of Parisian corruption, Heine was not the less suspected by the democrats, who accused him of treason. To this was added official persecution.”

Proceeding to his next work, the publication of his “Salon,”{xviii} consisting of an interesting series of essays, &c., commenced at Hamburg in 1834, its fourth and last volume not appearing till 1840. A long essay on the Women of Shakespeare appeared in 1839, and in 1840 a violent personal attack on his old friend, the republican poet Börne, then only recently dead,—a work which, with all its talent, did great injury to his reputation. His remaining great prose work, entitled “Lutezia,” or Paris, consists of a collection of valuable articles on French politics, arts, and manners, written by him as the correspondent of the Augsburg Gazette between 1840 and 1844. The only other writings of his in prose that need be specified, entitled respectively “Confessions,” “Dr. Faust,” and the “Gods in Exile,” were written a few years before his death.

After the publication of the “Reisebilder,” Heine’s next poetical production was the charming poem of “Atta Troll,” which appeared in 1841, written in a simple trochaic metre,—“four-footed solemn trochees,” as he himself expresses it. This poem has been described as the work of a German Ariosto, combining gaiety and poetry, irony and imagination in perfect proportions. Much worldly wisdom is to be learnt from the instructive history of Atta Troll, the dancing bear of the Pyrenees. The striking interlude in it of the vision of Herodias amongst the spirit huntsmen should not be overlooked.

The marriage of Heine seems to have taken place at about this period. His wife, who is often spoken of in his poems in terms of deep affection, and whose name was Mathilde, was a Frenchwoman and a Roman Catholic, and they were married according to the rites of that church. With all his love for Madame Heine, however, he seems to have been very jealous of her, and it is recorded that on one occasion he took it into his head that she had run away from him. He was reassured by hearing the voice of her favourite parrot “Cocotte,” which led him to say, that she would never have gone off without taking “Cocotte” with her. In spite of the bitterness of spirit that pervades all his writings, it is clear that he possessed deep natural affections. His mother survived him; and though almost entirely separated from her for the last twenty-five years of his life, he often introduces her name in his works with expressions of filial reverence. His last visit{xxiii} to Germany in the winter of 1843 seems to have been for the special purpose of visiting her at Hamburg, where she resided. His friends fancied that the “old woman at the Dammthor” (one of the gates of Hamburg), of whom he used to speak, was a myth, but she was no other than his mother. Nothing can be more charming than the manner in which he speaks of both her and his wife in the beautiful little poem called “Night Thoughts.” (See page 179.)

In 1844 he published a fresh collection of poems under the title of “New Poems,” to which was added as an appendix “Germany, a Winter Tale.” The former of these was subsequently added by him to his “Book of Songs,” and will be found in its place accordingly in the present volume, as well as his “New Spring,” which formed a part of the same work. The “Germany” is one of his most remarkable works, and contains an account of his journey to Hamburg the previous winter to see his mother that has just been referred to. None of his productions are more thoroughly impregnated with the spirit of satire. Every stage of his journey, from its commencement at the Prussian frontier, to its termination at Hamburg, gives occasion for the display of his wit and sarcastic raillery. It will be seen that many of the passages in the poem were struck out of the original edition by the official Censors. Perhaps the most amusing portions are the episode of the author’s adventures in the Cavern of Kyffhauser with the famous Emperor Barbarossa (not omitting their little conversation respecting the guillotine), and the rencontre with the Goddess Hammonia in the streets of Hamburg, and his subsequent tête-à-tête with her. The extravagance (slightly coarse it must be confessed) of the latter scene is quite worthy of Rabelais, though the poet takes care to tell us that it is intended to imitate Aristophanes. The remonstrances to the King of Prussia, with which the poem concludes, should also not he passed over.

In the year 1848, after a premonitory attack in 1847 that passed away, that terrible disease which eventually destroyed Heine’s life, first assailed him in an aggravated form. Commencing with a paralysis of the left eyelid, it extended presently to both eyes and finally terminated in paralysis and{xxiv} atrophy of the legs. The last time he ever left his house was in May, 1848. For eight long years he was confined to his couch, to use his own expression, in a state of “death without its repose, and without the privileges of the dead, who have no need to spend money, and no letters or books to write.” But despite his bodily sufferings, his good spirits never seemed to leave him, his love of raillery did but increase, and little did that public whose interest he continued to excite by the wonderful products of his genius know of his distressing state.

In the years 1850 and 1851, in the midst of his fearful malady, Heine composed his last great poetical work entitled “Romancero.” This singular volume is divided into three Books, called respectively “Histories,” “Lamentations,” and “Hebrew Melodies.” The first of these contains a large number of romantic ballads and poems of the most dissimilar character, but all bearing the stamp of the author’s peculiar genius; the second opens with several miscellaneous pieces, including some literary satires, and concludes with twenty pieces bearing the lively title of “Lazarus,” and comprising, as some one has observed, the journal of his impressions as a sick man. The “Hebrew Melodies” are subdivided into three, entitled by Heine “Princess Sabbath,” “Jehuda ben Halevy,” a poem itself in three parts, and “Disputation.” The Jewish descent and Jewish sympathies of the poet are plainly discernible in these Melodies, the most interesting of which, and probably the best of the whole collection contained in the “Romancero,” is that which sets forth the life of Jehuda ben Halevy, the great Hebrew poet of the middle ages. Some critics rank this poem amongst Heine’s very best productions. The concluding piece, “Disputation,” is in Heine’s wildest style, and seems written for the express purpose of destroying the pleasure excited by the one that precedes it. In none of his works is his mocking spirit more plainly discernible. “It is the most Voltairian scene ever imagined by the sceptical demon of his mind.” No one can read this polemical poem without seeing how little Heine himself cared for any received form of religion,—for the Christian faith as professed by him, or the Jewish faith into which he was born. The piece terminates{xxv} in Heine’s favourite manner, namely, with an unexpected joke in the last line.

The collection entitled “Latest Poems” was written three years afterwards. Its name shows that the end was now not far off. The hand of a master is still visible in all these poems, the most interesting of which is perhaps the “Slave Ship,” one of the most powerful productions of Heine’s pen. In the year 1855, he published a French translation of his “New Spring” in the Revue des deux Mondes. And now the end really arrived.

On the 17th February, 1856, Henry Heine was at length released from his sufferings in his house in the Avenue Matignon, No. 3, as appears from the obituary notice. The smallness of the attendance at his funeral would seem to show that there was some truth in the saying that he had many admirers but few friends. The only names of note that are recorded as having been present on the occasion are Mignet, Gautier, and Dumas. And this was the man who was recognized as the successor of Goethe in the throne of poetry in Germany, and whose songs were already household words in all parts of that country! His humour did not leave him till the very last. A few days before his death Hector Berlioz called on him just as a tiresome German professor was leaving the room after wearying him with his uninteresting conversation. “I am afraid you will find me very stupid, my dear fellow! The fact is, I have just been exchanging thoughts with Dr. ——” was his remark. Only a day or two before he expired, he sent back to the printer the last proofs of a new edition of the “Reisebilder.”

Heine left a singular will behind him, in which he begged that all religious solemnities should be dispensed with at his funeral, and that, although he called himself a Lutheran, no Lutheran minister should officiate on the occasion. He added that this was not a mere freak of a freethinker, for that he had for the last four years dismissed all the pride with which philosophy had filled him, and felt once more the power of religious truth. He also begged for forgiveness for any offence which, in his ignorance, he might have given to good manners and morals.{xxvi}

When the private papers of Louis Philippe fell into the hands of the populace at the sack of the Tuileries in February, 1848, it was discovered that Heine had for many years enjoyed a pension of some 200l. a year on the Civil List. This discovery gave an opening to the republicans for violent attacks on him; but there does not appear to have been anything in the circumstances of the case to make this transaction discreditable to either the giver or the receiver of the pension.

Heine is described as having lived in the simplest manner, occupying three small rooms on the third floor, the ménage comprising, in addition to his wife and himself, no one but an old negress as a servant, and “Cocotte,” who has been already alluded to.

Heine is beyond question the greatest poet that has appeared in Germany since the death of Goethe. Enough has been said in the course of this brief sketch of his life to show the singular, the unprecedented character of his genius, and to illustrate that combination in his person of two separate natures that we have stated to exist. What more touching trait of character was ever heard of, than the simple fact that although the last eight years of his life were spent in a state of intolerable agony, he left his mother in ignorance of his sufferings to the very last! Yes, when stricken with total blindness, and when dying literally by inches, all his letters to the “old woman at the Dammthor” were written in the most cheerful, happy tone, and he made her believe that his only reason for employing an amanuensis instead of writing with his own hand was that he had a slight affection in his eyes, which would be cured with a little care!

The following appreciation of the character of Heine, written while he was still alive, but when the shades of darkness and death were slowly gathering round him, may serve as a fitting termination to these few pages:—“It may be said that Heine bears within him all the misery of a mighty literature that has fallen from his ideal. Let this be his excuse. But now his eyes are closing on this perishable world, whose contradictions and wretchedness provoked his painful gaiety; another world is opening on his mind. There,{xxvii} no more misery, no more irritating contrasts, no more revolting disenchantments; there, all problems are resolved, all struggles cease. If irony, in the case of a capricious and ardent intelligence, could be the faithful mirror of things below, there is no room save for confidence and respect in that spiritual world that his soul’s looks are fast discovering. He sought for serenity in that light raillery which enveloped the whole universe, and played his part in it with grace; but this serenity was incomplete and false, and often suffered his ill-cured sorrows to break forth. True serenity is a higher thing; it is to be found in the intelligence and adoration of that ideal which nothing can affect, that truth which no shadow can obscure.” And so with these words of kindly sympathy, Heinrich Heine,—farewell!

{xxviii}

{1}

EARLY POEMS.

SONGS OF LOVE.

1. LOVE’S SALUTATION.

Darling maiden, who can be
Ever found to equal thee?
To thy service joyfully
Shall my life be pledged by me.
Thy sweet eyes gleam tenderly,
Like soft moonbeams o’er the sea;
Lights of rosy harmony
O’er thy red cheeks wander free.
From thy small mouth, full of glee,
Rows of pearls peep charmingly;
But thy bosom’s drapery
Veils thy fairest jewelry.
Pure love only could it be
That so sweetly thrill’d through me,
When I whilome gazed on thee,
Darling maid, so fair to see.

2. LOVE’S LAMENT.

On night’s secrecy relying,
Silently I breathe my woes;
From the haunts of mortals flying,
Where the cup of pleasure flows.
Down my cheeks run tears all burning,
Silently, unceasingly;
But my bosom’s fiery yearning
Quench’ed by tears can never be.{2}
When a laughing urchin, gaily
Many a merry game I play’d;
In life’s sunshine basking daily,
Knowing nought of grief or shade.
For a garden of enjoyment
Was the world I then lived in,
Tending flowers my sole employment,
Roses, violets, jessamine.
By the brook’s side, on the meadow,
Sweetly mused I in those days;
Now I see a pale thin shadow,
When upon the brook I gaze.
Pale and thin my grief hath made me,
Since mine eyes upon her fell;
Secret sorrows now pervade me,
Wonderful and hard to tell.
Deep within my heart I cherish’d
Angel forms of peace and love,
Which have fled, their short joys perish’d,
To their starry home above.
Ghastly shadows rise unbidden,
Black night round mine eyes is thrown;
In my trembling breast is hidden
A sad whisp’ring voice unknown.
Unknown sorrows, unknown anguish
Toss me wildly to and fro,
And I pine away and languish,
Tortured by an unknown glow.
But the cause why I am lying
Rack’d by fiery torments now,—
Why from very grief I’m dying,—
Love, behold!—The cause art thou!

3. YEARNING.

With sweetheart on arm, all my comrades with joy
Beneath the linden trees move;
But I, alas, poor desolate boy,
In utter solitude rove{3}
Mine eye grows dim, my heart is oppress’d,
When happy lovers I see;
For a sweetheart by me is also possess’d,
But, alas, far distant is she.
I have borne it for years, with a heart fit to break,
But no longer can bear with the pain;
So pack up my bundle, my pilgrim’s staff take,
And start on my travels again.
And onward I go for hundreds of miles,
Till I come to a city renown’d;
A noble river beneath it smiles,
With three stately towers ’tis crown’d.
And now my late sorrows no longer annoy,
Made happy at last is my love;
For there, with my sweetheart on arm, I with joy
Can beneath the sweet linden trees rove.

4. THE WHITE FLOWER

In father’s garden there silently grows
A flow’ret mournful and pale;
The spring-time returns, the winter’s frost goes,
Pale flow’ret remaineth as pale.
The poor pale flower looks still
Like a young bride that’s ill.
Pale flow’ret gently saith to me—
“Dear brother, pluck me, I pray!”
I answer pale flow’ret—“That must not be,
I never will take thee away.
I seek with anxious care
A purple flow’ret fair.”
Pale flow’ret saith—“Seek here, seek there,
Seek e’en till the day of thy death,
But still that purple flow’ret fair
Thou’lt seek in vain,” she saith.
“But, prythee, pluck me now,
I am as ill as thou.”{4}
Thus whispers pale flow’ret, beseeching me sore;
I tremblingly pluck her, and lo!
I find my heart suddenly bleeding no more,
Mine inward eye brightly doth glow.
Mute angel-rapture blest
Now fills my wounded breast.

5. PRESENTIMENT.

Yonder, where the stars glow nightly,
We shall find those joys smile brightly
Which on earth seem far away.
Only in Death’s cold embraces
Life grows warm, and light replaces
Night’s dark gloom at dawn of day.

6.

When I am with my sweetheart kind,
A happy youth am I;
So great the wealth within my mind,
I the whole world could buy.
But when her swanlike arms I quit,
In that sad hour of pain,
Away my boasted wealth doth flit,
And I am poor again.

7.

I would the songs I’m singing
Had little flow’rets been;
I’d send them to my sweetheart
For her to smell, I ween.
I would the songs I’m singing
Were kisses all unseen;
I’d send them all in secret
Upon her cheeks to glean.
I would the songs I’m singing
Were little peas so green;
I’d make some capital pea-soup
All in a soup-tureen!

{5}

8.

Of peace, and happiness, and heart,
Thou, loved one, long time hast bereft me;
And of the gifts that thou hast left me
Not one of these doth form a part.
For peace, heart, happiness, hast thou
To me a life-long sorrow given,
With bitter words commingled even,—
O take these back, my loved one, now.

9.

Remember’st thou those fiery glances
In which his trust the novice plac’d?
That long-denied first kiss of passion
The ardent lover stole in haste?
O glances, ye experienced fish-hooks,
On which the fish is captive brought!
O kiss, thou charming rod of honey,
With which the bird is limed and caught!

10.

Thou spak’st and gav’st a lock to me
Of thy dear silken hair;
“Wear this, and I for ever thee
“Within my heart will wear.”
Full oft have heart and hair been call’d
To act this loving part.
Now say: is not thy head yet bald?
And full thy little heart?

11.

You, loved one, assured me so strongly,
I wellnigh fancied it true;
That you asserted it was so,
Was no sign of folly in you.
But that I almost believed it,
’Tis this that I so rue.

{6}

12.

I’ve seen full many a tragedy play’d,
Extracting my tears like magic;
But ’mongst them all, that touching scene
Had an end by far the most tragic,
Wherein thou tookedst the principal part,
While I at thy feet was panting,—
How well thou actedst the innocent one,
Thou actress most enchanting!

13.

Ask not what I have, my loved one,—
Ask me rather what I am;
For but little wealth I boast of,
But I’m gentle as a lamb.
Do not ask me how I’m living,
But for what, that ask of me;
For I live in want, and lonely,
Yet I live alone for thee.
Do not ask me of my pleasures,
Ask not of my bitter smart;
Pleasure ever flies his presence
Who doth own a broken heart.

MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.

GERMANY. 1815.

Let me sing Germania’s glory!
Hearken to my noblest strains!
While my spirit tells the story,
Thrilling bliss runs through my veins.
Time’s book is before me lying,
All things that have happened here,
Good with Evil ever vying—
All before my gaze stands clear.{7}
From the Frenchman’s distant nation
Hell approach’d, with impious hand,
Bringing shame and desecration
On our much-loved German land.
All our faith and virtue soiling,
All our heavenly yearnings fled,
All we deemed of worth, despoiling,—
Giving sin and pain instead.
German shame to gild refusing,
Dark the German sun soon grew,
And a mournful voice accusing
Pierced the German oak trees through.
Now the sun once more is glancing,
And the oak trees roar with joy;
The avengers are advancing,
Shame and sorrow to destroy.
And deceit’s proud altars hateful
Totter, fall with hideous sound;
Every German heart is grateful,
Free is German holy ground.
See’st the glare yon mount illuming?
Say, what can that wild flame be?
Yes! that fire proclaims the blooming
Image pure of Germany.
From the night of sin emerging
Germany uninjured stands;
Wildly is the spot still surging,
Where that fair form burst her bands.
On the old oak’s stems in splendour
Glorious blossoms fast unfold;
Foreign blossoms fall, and tender
Breezes greet us as of old.
All that’s virtuous is returning,
All that’s good appears once more
And the German, fondly yearning,
Is exulting as of yore.
Ancient manners, ancient German
Virtues, and heroic deeds!
Valiantly each son of Hermann[3]
Waves his sword and proudly bleeds.{8}
Heroes never doves engender,
Lionlike is Hermann’s race;
Yet may love’s religion tender
Well near valour take its place.
Germans through their sorrows lonely
Learnt Christ’s gentle word to prize;
Their land ’genders brethren only,
And humanity is wise.
Once again returns the glorious
Noble love of minstrel’s song,
Well becoming the victorious
Breasts of German heroes strong,
As they to the war are going
With the Frank to cross the sword,
To take signal vengeance glowing
For their perfidy abhorr’d.
And at home, no labour heeding,
Woman plies her gentle hand,
Tends the sacred wounds all bleeding
In defence of fatherland.
In her black dress robed, entrancing
Looks the beauteous German dame,
Deck’d with flow’rs and jewels glancing,
Diamond-girded, too, her frame.
But a nobler, prouder feeling
Through me at her vision thrills,
When, beside the sick-bed kneeling,
Acts of mercy she fulfils.
Heavenly angels she resembles
When the last draught she supplies
To the wounded man, who trembles,
Smiles his grateful thanks, and dies.
He to whom to die ’tis given
On the battle-field, is blest;
But a foretaste ’tis of heaven,
Dying on a woman’s breast.
Poor, poor sons of France! Fate ever
Unto you unkind has been;
On the Seine’s banks, beauty never
Save in search of gold is seen.{9}
German women! German women!
What a charm the words convey!
German women! German women!
Flourish on for many a day!
All our daughters like Louisa,
All our sons like Frederick be!
Hear me in the grave, Louisa!
Ever flourish Germany!

DREAM. 1816.

Son of folly, dream thou ever,
When thy thoughts within thee burn;
But in life thy visions never
To reality will turn.
Once in happier days chance bore me
To a high mount on the Rhine;
Smiling lay the land before me,
Gloriously the sun did shine.
Far below, the waves were singing
Wild and magic melodies;
In my inmost heart were ringing
Blissful strains in wondrous wise.
Now, when gazing from that station
On the land—how sad its doom!
I but see a pigmy nation
Crawling on a giant’s tomb.
So-call’d men wear silken raiment,
Deem themselves the nation’s flower;
Honours now are gain’d by payment,
Rogues possess both wealth and power.
Of descent they boast, not merit,
’Tis their dress that makes them men;
Old coats now alone the spirit
Of old times bring back again;
When respect and virtue holy
Modestly went hand in hand;
When the youth with deference lowly
By the aged took his stand;{10}
When a hand-shake was more valid
Than an oath or written sheet;
When men, iron-clad, forth sallied,
And a heart inside them beat.
Our fair garden borders nourish
Many a thousand flow’rets fair;
In the fostering soil they flourish,
While the sun smiles on them there.
But the flower most fair, most golden,
In our gardens ne’er is known,—
That one which, in days now olden,
On each rocky height was grown;
Which, in cold hill-fortress dwelling,
Men endued with iron frame
Deem’d the flower all flowers excelling,—
Hospitality its name.
Weary wanderer, never clamber
To the mountain’s fort-crown’d brow;
’Stead of warm and friendly chamber,
Cold, hard walls receive thee now.
From the watch-tower blow no warders
Not a drawbridge is let fall;
For the castle’s lord and warders
In the cold tomb slumber all.
In dark coffins, too, are sleeping
Those dear maids bards sang of old;
Shrines like these within them keeping
Greater wealth than pearls and gold.
Strange soft whispers there are blended
Like sweet minnesinger’s lays;
To those dark vaults has descended
The fair love of olden days.
True, I also prize our ladies,
For they blossom like the May;
And delightful, too, their trade is,—
’Tis to dance, stitch, paint all day.
And they sing, in rhymes delicious,
Of old love and loyalty,
Feeling all the time suspicious
Whether such things e’er could be.{11}
In their simple minds, our mothers
Used to think in days of yore,
That the gem above all others
Fair, man in his bosom bore.
Very different from this is
What their daughters wisdom call;
In the present day our misses
Love the jewels most of all.
Lies, deceit, and superstition
Rule,—life’s charms are thrown aside,
Whilst Rome’s sordid base ambition
Jordan’s pearls has falsified.
To your dark domain return you,
Visions of far happier days;
O’er a time which thus doth spurn you,
Vain laments no longer raise!

THE CONSECRATION.

Lonely in the forest chapel,
At the image of the Virgin,
Lay a gentle, pallid stripling,
Bent in humble adoration.
O Madonna! Let me ever
On the threshold here be kneeling;
Thou wilt never drive me from thee,
To the world so cold and sinful.
O Madonna! Sunny radiance
Round thy head’s bright locks is gleaming,
And a mild sweet smile is playing
Round thy fair mouth’s holy roses.
O Madonna! Thine eyes’ lustre
Lightens me like stars in heaven;
While life’s bark doth drift at random,
Stars lead on for ever surely.
O Madonna! Without wavering
I have borne thy test of sorrow,
On kind love relying blindly,
In thy glow alone e’er glowing.{12}
O Madonna! This day hear me,
Full of mercy, rich in wonders!
Grant me then a sign of favour,
Just one little sign of favour.
Then presently happen’d a marvellous wonder.
The forest and chapel were parted insunder;
The boy understood not the miracle strange,
For all around him did suddenly change.
In a brilliant hall there sat the Madonna,
Her rays were gone, as he gazed upon her;
She bore the form of a lovely maid,
Around her lips a childlike smile play’d.
And see! from her fair and flowing tresses
She steals a lock, as she thus addresses
In a heavenly tone, the raptured boy:
The sweetest reward on earth enjoy!
What attests this consecration?
Saw’st thou not the rainbow shedding
Its sublime illumination,
O’er the wide horizon spreading?
Angels up and down are moving,
Loudly do their pinions flutter;
Breathing music strange and loving,
Sweet the melodies they utter.
Well the stripling knows the yearning
Through his frame that now doth quiver;
To that land his footsteps turning,
Where the myrtle blooms for ever.

THE MOOR’S SERENADE.

To my sleeping dear Zuleima’s
Bosom run, ye tears all burning!
Then will her sweet heart for Abdul
’Gin to beat with tender yearning.
Round my sleeping dear Zuleima’s
Ear disport, ye tears of anguish!
Then will her fair head in vision
Sweet for Abdul’s love straight languish.{13}
O’er my sleeping dear Zuleima’s
Soft hand stream, my heart’s blood gushing!
Then will her sweet hand bear on it
Abdul’s heart’s blood, crimson flushing.
Sorrow is, alas, born voiceless,
In its mouth no tongue is growing,
It hath only tears and sighing,
And blood from the heart’s wounds flowing.

DREAM AND LIFE.

The day was glowing, my heart, too, glow’d,
In silence I bore my sorrow’s load;
When night arrived, I hastened then
To the blossoming rose in the silent glen.
I softly approach’d, and mute as the grave,
While tears my cheeks did secretly lave,
I peep’d in the cup of the rose so fair,
And lo! a bright light was glimmering there.
By the rose I joyfully fell asleep,
When a sweet mocking dream did over me creep;
The form of a rosy maid was reveal’d;
A rosy bodice her bosom conceal’d.
She gave me soon a rich golden store,
To a golden cottage the prize I bore;
Strange goings-on in the cottage I found,—
Small elves are dancing in graceful round.
Twelve dancers are dancing, and taking no rest,
And closely their hands together are press’d;
And soon as a dance has come to a close,
Another begins, and each merrily goes.
And the music they dance to thus sounds in my ear:
“The happiest of hours will ne’er reappear,
“The whole of thy life was only a dream,
“And this hour of pleasure a dream within dream.”
The dream is over, the sun is up,
I eagerly peep in the rose’s cup.
Alas! in the place of the glimmering light,
A nasty insect meets my sight.

{14}

THE LESSON.

Mother tells little bee,
Yonder wax taper flee;
But for his mother’s prayers
Little bee little cares.
Round the light hovers he,
Humming all merrily;
Mother’s cry hears not he,
Little bee! Little bee!
Youthful one! Foolish one!
Poor little simpleton!
In the flame rusheth he,
Little bee! Little bee!
Now the flame flickers high,
In the flame he must die:
’Ware of the maidens, then,
Sons of men! Sons of men!

TO FRANCIS V. Z——.

I’m drawn to the North by a golden star;
Farewell, brother! forget me not when I am far;
To poetry ever faithful abide,
And never desert that charming bride.
As a priceless treasure preserve in thy breast
The German language so fair and blest;
And shouldst thou e’er come to the Northern strand
O listen awhile at that Northern strand;
And list till thou hearest a ringing remote
That over the silent waters doth float.
When this thou hearest, expect ere long
The sound of the well-known minstrel’s song.
Then strike thou in turn thine echoing chord,
And give me news that may pleasure afford;
How matters with thee, dear minstrel, go,
And with the others whom I loved so;
And how it fares with the lovely girl
Who set so many young hearts in a whirl,
And filled so many with yearnings divine—
The blossoming rose on the blossoming Rhine.
And give me news of my fatherland too,
If still ’tis the land of affection true;
If still the old God in Germany lives,
And none to the Evil One homage now gives.{15}
And when thy sweet song thus lovingly rings,
And joyous stories with it thus brings
Far over the waves to the distant strand,
The bard will rejoice in the far North land.

A PROLOGUE TO THE HARTZ-JOURNEY.

All I saw and heard when travelling,
All that soul and heart found pleasing,
All that gave me food for cavilling,
All that tedious was or teasing;
Solemn jostlings, wild excitement,
Both of simpletons and sages,—
All shall swell the long indictment
Of my travels in these pages.
Give not travels life twice over?
When at home one lives once only;
Wouldst thou nobler ends discover,
Thou must leave thy closet lonely.
On the world’s wide stage, each player
Is a mimic or a puppet,
Rides his hobby his own way, or
Bids the others clamber up it.
If we’re laughed at by our neighbour,
Riding in this curious fashion,
Let us him in turn belabour,
Jeering him without compassion.
Read these travels in the manner
And the sense in which I’m writing;
Each one has his fav’rite banner
Under which he fancies fighting.

DEFEND NOT.

Defend it not, defend it not,
This wretched world below;
Defend its gaping people not,
Who care for nought but pomp and show.
The tedious ones, defend them not,
Who cause us such ennui;
The learned ones, defend them not,
In their o’erpow’ring pedantry.{16}
The women, too, defend them not,
Though good ones may be there;
The best amongst them scorneth not
The man she loves not, to ensnare.
And then my friends—defend them not:
Count not thyself one now;
For thou those friends resemblest not,—
No! firm, and good, and true art thou.

A PARODY.

Indeed they have wearied me greatly,
And made me exceedingly sad,
One half with their prose so wretched,
The other with poetry bad.
Their terrible discord has scatter’d
What little senses I had,
One half with their prose so wretched,
The other with poetry bad.
But ’mongst the whole army of scribblers,
They most have stirr’d up my bile,
Who write in neither prosaic
Nor true poetical style.

WALKING FLOWERS AT BERLIN.

Yes! under the lindens, my dear friend,
Thy yearnings may satisfied be;
The fairest of womankind here, friend,
All walking together, thou’lt see.
How charming they look, how delicious,
In gay silken garments all dress’d!
A certain poet judicious
“Walking flowers” has named them in jest.
How very charming each bonnet!
Each Turkish shawl, how it gleams!
Each cheek, what a bright glow upon it!
Each neck, how swanlike it seems!

EVENING SONGS.

1.

Without any aim, forth I sallied,
And roam’d by the pond o’er the lea;
The charming flowers look’d pallid,
And spectre-like gazed upon me.{17}
Upon me they gazed, and to chatter
And tell my dull tale I began;
They ask’d me, what was the matter
With me, poor sad-looking man.
The truth, I valiantly said it,
No love in the world can I find;
And as I have lost all my credit,
With want of cash ’tis combin’d.

2.

And over the pond are sailing
Two swans all white as snow;
Sweet voices mysteriously wailing
Pierce through me as onward they go.
They sail along, and a ringing
Sweet melody rises on high,
And when the swans begin singing,
They presently must die.

3.

When in sorrow, they dare not show it,
However mournful their mood,
For the swan, like the soul of the poet,
By the dull world is ill understood.
And in their death-hour they waken
The air, and break into song;
And, unless my ears are mistaken,
They sing now, while sailing along.

4.

The cloudlets are lazily sailing
O’er the blue Atlantic sea;
And mid the twilight there hovers
A shadowy figure o’er me.
Full deep in my soul it gazes,
With old-time-recalling eye,
Like a glimpse of joys long buried,
And happiness long gone by.
Familiar the vision appeareth,
Methinks I know it full well;
’Tis the much-loved shadow of Mary,
Who on earth no longer doth dwell.{18}
She beckons in friendly silence,
And clasps me with gentle despair;
But I seize hold of my glasses,
To have a better stare!

SONNETS.

1. TO AUGUSTUS WILLIAM VON SCHLEGEL.

The worst of worms: the dagger thoughts of doubt—
The worst of poisons: to mistrust one’s power—
These struggled my life’s marrow to devour;
I was a shoot, whose props were rooted out.
Thou pitiedst the poor shoot in that sad hour,
And bad’st it climb thy kindly words about;
To thee, great Master, owe I thanks devout,
Should the weak shoot e’er blossom into flower.
O still watch o’er it, as it grows apace,
That as a tree the garden it may grace
Of that fair fay, whose favourite child thou wert.
My nurse used of that garden to assert
That a strange ringing, wondrous sweet, there dwells,
Each flower can speak, each tree with music swells.

2. TO THE SAME.

Contented not with thine own property,
The Rhine’s fair Nibelung-treasure thou didst steal,
The wondrous gifts the Thames’ far banks conceal,—
The Tagus’ flowers were boldly pluck’d by thee,
Thou mad’st the Tiber many a gem reveal,
The Seine paid tribute to thine industry,
Thou pierced’st e’en to Brama’s sanctuary,
Pearls from the Ganges taking in thy zeal.
Thou greedy man, I pray thee be content
With that which seldom unto man is lent;
Instead of adding more, to spend prepare!
And with the treasures which thou with such ease
From North and South accustom’d wert to seize,
Enrich the scholar and the joyful heir.

{19}

3. TO COUNCILLOR GEORGE S——, OF GOTTINGEN.

Though the demeanour be imperious, proud,
Yet round the lips may gentleness play still;
Though the eye gleam and every muscle thrill,
Yet may the voice with calmness be endow’d.
Thus art thou in the rostrum, when aloud
Thou speak’st of governments and of the skill
Of cabinets, and of the people’s will,
Of Germany’s long strifes and ends avow’d.
Ne’er be thine image blotted from my mind!
In times of barbarous self-love like these,
How doth an image of such greatness please!
What thou, in fashion fatherly and kind,
Spak’st to my heart, while hours flew swiftly by,
Deep in my heart I still bear faithfully.

4. TO J. B. ROUSSEAU.

Thy friendly greetings open wide my breast,
And the dark chambers of my heart unbar;
Home visions greet me like some radiant star,
And magic pinions fan me into rest.
Once more the Rhine flows by me, on its crest
Of waters mount and castle mirror’d are;
On vine-clad hills gold clusters gleam afar,
Vine-dressers climb, while shoot the flow’rets blest.
Could I but see thee, truest friend of all,
Who still dost link thyself to me, as clings
The ivy green around a crumbling wall!
Could I but be with thee, and to thy song
In silence listen, while the redbreast sings,
And the Rhine’s waters softly flow along!

5.

A torture-chamber was the world to me,
Where I suspended by the feet did hang;
Hot pincers gave my body many a pang,
A vice of iron crush’d me fearfully.
I wildly cried in nameless agony,
From mouth and eyes the blood in torrents sprang,—
A maid passed by, who a gold hammer swang,
And presently the coup-de-grace gave she.{20}
My quivering limbs she scans with eager eye,
My tongue protruding, as death’s hour draws nigh,
From out my bleeding mouth,—a ghastly sight,
My heart’s wild pantings hears she with delight;
My last death-rattle music is the while
To her, who stands with cold and mocking smile.

6. THE NIGHT WATCH ON THE DRACHENFELS. TO FRITZ VON B——.

’Twas midnight as we scaled the mountain height,
The wood pile ’neath the walls the flames devour’d,
And as my joyous comrades round it cower’d,
They sang of Germany’s renown in fight.
Her health we drank from Rhine wine beakers bright,
The castle-spirit on the summit tower’d,
Dark forms of armèd knights around us lower’d,
And women’s misty shapes appear’d in sight.
And from the ruins there arose low moans,
Owls hooted, rattling sounds were heard, and groans;
A furious north wind bluster’d fitfully.
Such was the night, my friend, that I did pass
On the high Drachenfels,—but I, alas,
A wretched cold and cough took home with me!

7. IN FRITZ STEINMANN’S ALBUM.

The bad victorious are, the good lie low;
The myrtles are replaced by poplars dry,
Through which the evening breezes loudly sigh,
Bright flashes take the place of silent glow.—
In vain Parnassus’ heights you’ll plough and sow,
Image on image, flower on flower pile high,
In vain you’ll struggle till you’re like to die,
Unless, before the egg is laid, you know
How to cluck-cluck; and, bulls’ horns putting on,
Learn to write sage critiques, both pro and con,
And your own trumpet blow with decent pride.
Write for the mob, not for posterity,
Let blustering noise your poems’ lever be,—
You’ll then be by the public deified.

{21}

8. TO HER.

The flow’rets red and white that I hold here,
Which blossom’d erst from out the heart’s deep wound,
Into a lovely nosegay I have bound,
And offer unto thee, my mistress dear.
By its acceptance be thy bard’s love crown’d!
I cannot from this earth’s scene disappear,
Till I have left a sign of love sincere.
Remember me when I my death have found.
Yet ne’er, O mistress, shalt thou pity me;
My life of grief was enviable e’en,—
For in my heart I bore thee lovingly.
And greater bliss shall soon be mine, when I
Shall, as thy guardian spirit, watch unseen,
Thy heart with peaceful greetings satisfy.

9. GOETHE’S MONUMENT AT FRANKFORT-ON-THE MAIN. 1821.

Good German men, maids, matrons, pray give ear,
Collect subscribers with the utmost speed,
The worthy folk of Frankfort have agreed
To build a monument to Goethe here.
“At fair time” (think they) “this will make it clear
“To foreign traders that we’re of his breed,
“That ’twas our soil that nurtured such fair seed,
“And then in trade they’ll trust us without fear.”
O touch the bard’s bright wreath of laurel never,
And keep your money in your pockets too;
’Tis Goethe’s, his own monument to raise.
He dwelt amongst you in his infant days,
But half a world now severs him from you,
Whom a stream doth from Sachsenhausen[4] sever!

10. DRESDEN POETRY.

At Dresden on the Elbe, that handsome city,
Where straw hats, verses, and cigars are made,
They’ve built (it well may make us feel afraid)
A music-club and music warehouse pretty.{22}
There meet the gentlemen and ladies witty,
Herr Kuhn,[5] Miss Nostitz [5a]—adepts at the trade,—
Spout verses, calling action to their aid.
How grand! Avaunt, ye critics!—more’s the pity!
Next day the paper tells us all the facts,
Bright’s[6] brightness flies, Child’s [6a] childishness is childlike,
The critic’s supplement is mean yet wildlike.
Arnoldi [5b] takes the cash, as salesman acts;
Then Böttiger [5c] appears, with noise infernal—
’Tis a true oracle, that Evening Journal!

11. BREADLESS ART.

How soon my poverty would ended be,
Could I the pencil use, and paint away,
The walls of castles proud and churches gay
Adorning with my pictures merrily!
How soon would wealth replace my penury,
Could I the fiddle, flute, and piano play.
And with such elegance perform each day,
That lords and ladies all applauded me!
But ah! in Mammon’s smiles I ne’er had part,
For I have follow’d thee alone, alas!
Thee, Poetry, most thankless, breadless art!
When others (how I’m blushing, now I’ve said it!)
Drink their champagne from out a brimming glass,
I needs must go without, or drink on credit!

{23}

BOOK OF SONGS.

PREFACE.

This is the olden fairy wood!
The linden blossoms smell sweetly,
The strange mysterious light of the moon
Enchants my senses completely.
I onward went, and as I went,
A voice above me was ringing;—
’Tis surely the nightingale’s notes that I hear
Of love and love’s sorrows she’s singing.
She sings of love and love’s sorrows as well,
She sings of smiling and aching,
She sadly exults, she joyfully sobs,
Forgotten visions awaking.
I onward went, and as I went,
I saw before me lying,
On open ground, a castle vast,
With gables in loftiness vying.
The windows were closed, and all things appear’d
To stillness and sadness converted;
It seem’d as though silent death had his home
Within those walls deserted.
A sphinx was lying before the door,
Part comical, part not human;
Its body and paws a lion’s were,
With the breasts and head of a woman.
A woman fair! her white eyes spoke
Of yearnings wild but tender;
Her lips, all mute, were closely arch’d,
And smiled a silent surrender.{24}
The nightingale so sweetly sang,
I found it in vain to resist it—
I kiss’d the beauteous face, and, ah!
Was ruined as soon as I kissed it.
The marble figure with life was fill’d,
The stone began sighing and groaning;
She drank my kisses’ tremulous glow
With thirsty and eager moaning.
She well nigh drank my breath away,
And then, with sensual ardour,
Embraced me, while her lion’s paws press’d
My body harder and harder.
O blissful torment and rapturous woe!
The pain, like the pleasure, unbounded!
For while the mouth’s kisses filled me with joy,
The paws most fearfully wounded.
The nightingale sang: “O beauteous sphinx!
“O loved one, explain the reason
“Why all thy raptures with pains of death
“Are mingled, in cruel treason?
“O beauteous sphinx! explain to me
“The riddle so full of wonder!
“I over it many a thousand years
“Have never ceased to ponder.”

YOUTHFUL SORROWS.

1817-21.

I. VISIONS.

1.

Of love’s wild glow I dreamt in former days,
Of mignonette, fair locks, and myrtle twining,
Of lips so sweet, with bitter words combining,
Of mournful melodies of mournful lays.
The dreams have long been scatter’d far and banish’d,
My dearest vision fled for evermore,
And, save the burning glow I used to pour
Into my tender numbers, all is vanish’d.{25}
Thou ling’rest still, deserted song! Now go,
And seek that long-lost vision; shouldst thou meet it,
On my behalf in loving fashion greet it,—
An airy breath to that dim shade I blow.

2.

A dream both strange and sad to see
Once startled and delighted me;
The dismal vision haunts me still,
And in my heart doth wildly thrill.
There was a garden wondrous fair,—
I fain would wander gladly there;
The beauteous flowers upon me gazed,
And high I found my rapture raised.
The birds were twittering above
Their joyous melodies of love;
The sun was red with rays of gold,
The flowers all lovely to behold.
Sweet fragrance all the herbs exhale,
And sweetly, softly blows the gale;
And all things glisten, all things smile,
And show their loveliness the while.
Amid that bright and flowery land
A marble fountain was at hand,
And there I saw a maiden fair
Washing a garment white with care.
Her cheeks were sweet, her eyes were mild,
Fair hair’d and saintly look’d the child,
And as I gazed, she seem’d to be
So strange, yet so well known to me.
The beauteous girl, who made all speed,
A song was humming, strange indeed:
“Water, water, quickly run,
“Let the washing soon be done.”
I went and stood then in her way,
And whisper’d gently: “Prythee say,
“Thou maiden sweet and wondrous fair,
“For whom dost thou this dress prepare?”{26}
Then spake she quickly: “Ready be!
“I’m washing thine own shroud for thee!”—
Scarce had her lips these words let fall,
Like foam the vision vanish’d all.
And still entranced, ere long I stood
Within a desert, gloomy wood:
To reach the skies the branches sought;
I stood amazed, and thought and thought.
And hark! what hollow echoing sound
Like axe-strokes fills the air around
Through waste and wood I speed apace,
Until I reach an open place.
In the green plain before me spread
A mighty oak tree rear’d its head;
And lo! the maiden, strange to see,
Was felling with an axe the tree.
With blow on blow a song she sings
Unceasing, as the axe she swings:
“Iron glittering, iron bright,
“Hew the oaken chest aright.”
I went and stood then in her way,
And whisper’d gently: “Prythee say,
“Thou sweet and wondrous maiden mine,
“For whom dost hew the oaken shrine?”
Then spake she quickly: “Time is short,
“To hew thy coffin is my sport!”—
Scarce had her lips these words let fall,
Like foam the vision vanish’d all.
Bleak, dim was all above, beneath,
Around was barren, barren heath:
I felt in strange mysterious mood,
And shuddering inwardly I stood.
And as I roam’d on silently,
A whitish streak soon caught mine eye;
I hasten’d tow’rd it, and when there,
Behold, I found the maiden fair!
On wide heath stood the snowy maid,
Digging the ground with sexton’s spade;
Scarce dared I gaze on her aright,
So fair yet fearful was the sight.{27}
The beauteous girl, who made all speed,
A song was humming, strange indeed:
“Spade, O spade, so sharp and tried,
“Dig a pit both deep and wide.”
I went, and stood then in her way,
And whisper’d gently: “Prythee say,
“Thou maiden sweet and wondrous fair,
“What means the pit that’s lying there?”
Then spake she quickly: “Silent be!
“A cold, cold grave I dig for thee.”
And when the fair maid thus replied,
Its mouth the pit straight opened wide.
And when the pit was full in view,
A chilling shudder pierced me through,
And in the grave so dark and deep
Headlong I fell, and—woke from sleep.

3.

In midnight vision I myself have spied,
As for some festival, in ruffles dress’d,
In a black gala-coat and silken vest;—
My sweet and trusting love with scorn I eyed;
And bow’d low down, and said “Art thou a bride?”
“I wish thee joy, dear Madam, I protest!”
And yet my lips reluctantly express’d
The words so cold and tauntingly applied.
And bitter tears then suddenly ’gan falling
From her dear eyes, and in a sea of weeping
Wellnigh dissolved her image so enthralling.
O lovely eyes, ye stars of love so kindly,
What though ye, when awake, and e’en when sleeping
Deceived me oft, I trust ye still as blindly!

4.

In dream I saw a tiny manikin,
Who went on stilts, with steps a yard apart;
White was his linen, and his dress was smart,
But he was coarse and most unclean within.
Yes, worthless inwardly, and full of sin;
Worthy to seem outside was his great art,
Of courage he discoursed, as from his heart,
Defiant, stubborn, ’neath a veil but thin.{28}
“And know’st thou who he is? Come here and see!”
So spake the dream-god, slily showing me
Within a mirror’s frame this vision then.
The manikin before an altar stood,
My love beside him, both said “Yes, they would,”
And thousand laughing devils cried “Amen!”

5.

Why stirs and chafes my madden’d blood?
Why burns my heart in furious mood?
My blood fast boils, and foams and fumes,
And passion fierce my heart consumes.
My mad blood boils in foaming stream,
Because I’ve dreamt an evil dream:
Night’s gloomy son appear’d one day,
And bore me in his arms away.
To a bright house soon brought he me,
Where sounded harp and revelry,
And torches gleam’d and tapers shone—
The hall I entered then alone.
I saw a merry wedding feast,
The glad guests round the table press’d;
And when the bridal pair I spied,
O woe! my mistress was the bride.
There was my love, and strange to say,
A stranger claim’d her hand to-day.
Then close behind her chair of honour
I silent stood and gazed upon her.
The music sounded—still I stood;
Their joy but swell’d my mournful mood;
The bride she look’d so highly blest,
Her hand the while the bridegroom press’d.
The bridegroom next fill’d full his cup,
And from it drank, then gave it up
Unto the bride; she smiled a thank;
O woe! my red blood ’twas she drank.
The bride a rosy apple took,
And gave it him with smiling look;
He took his knife, and cut a part;
O woe! it was indeed my heart.{29}
They lovingly each other eyed,
The bridegroom boldly clasp’d the bride,
And kissed her on her cheeks so red;
O woe! cold death kiss’d me instead.
Like lead my tongue within me lay,
Vainly I strove one word to say;
A noise was heard,—the dance began,
The bridal pair were in the van.
Whilst I stood rooted to the ground,
The dancers nimbly whirl’d around;
The bridegroom spoke a whisper’d word,—
She blush’d, well pleased with what she heard.

6.

In blissful dream, in silent night,
There came to me, with magic might,
With magic might, my own sweet love,
Into my little room above.
I gazed upon the darling child,
I gazed, and she all-gently smiled,
And smiled until my heart swell’d high,
When stormlike daring words breath’d I:
“Take, take thou everything that’s mine,
“My All will I to thee resign,
“If I may be thy paramour
“From midnight till the morning hour.”
Then on me gazed the beauteous maid,
With looks that inward strife betray’d,
So sweet, so sad, while thus she said:
“Give me thy hope of heaven instead!”
“My life so sweet, my youthful blood,
“I’ll give with cheerful joyous mood,
“For thee, O maiden angel-fair,—
“But hope of heaven hereafter—ne’er!”
My daring speech flow’d readily,
Yet ever fairer blossom’d she,
And still the beauteous maiden said
“Give me thy hope of heaven instead!”{30}
These words fell on me heavily,
Then rush’d, like some fierce flowing sea,
Down to my spirit’s depth most deep,—
I scarce had power my breath to keep.
There came a band of angels white
Graced with a golden halo bright,
But wildly follow’d in their track
A grisly train of goblins black.
They wrestled with the angels white,
And drove away those angels bright,
And then the gloomy squadron too
Melted like morning mist from view.—
Fain had I died of rapture there,
My arms upheld my maiden fair;
She nestled near me like a roe,
But also wept with bitter woe.
Sweet maiden wept; well knew I why,
Her rosy mouth to peace kiss’d I:
“O still, sweet love, that tearful flood,
“Surrender to my loving mood!
“Surrender to my loving mood!”—
When sudden froze to ice my blood;
The earth beneath me groan’d and sigh’d,
A yawning chasm open’d wide.
And from the chasm’s gloomy veil
Rose the black troop,—sweet love turn’d pale;
My arms were of sweet love bereft,
And I in solitude was left.
The gloomy troop around me danced
In wondrous circle, then advanced,
And seized and bore me to the ground,
While scornful laughter rose around.
And still the circle narrower grew,
And ever humm’d the fearful crew:
“Thy hope of heaven was pledg’d by thee,
“Thou’rt ours for all eternity!”{31}

7.

Thou now hast the money,—why longer delay?
Thou dark scowling fellow, why lingering stay?
I sit in my chamber, and patiently wait,
And midnight is near, but the bride is still late.
From the churchyard the shuddering breezes arise;—
Ye breezes, O say, has my bride met your eyes?
Pale demons come round me, and hard on me press,
Make curtsies with grinning, and nod their “O yes!”
Quick, tell me the message you’re coming about,
Black villain, in liv’ry of fire trick’d out!
My mistress sends word that she soon will be here;
In a car drawn by dragons she’ll shortly appear.
Dear grey little man, say, what would’st thou to-day?
Dead master of mine, what’s thy business, pray?
He gazes upon me with mute mournful mien,
Shakes his head, turns away, and no longer is seen.
His tail wags the shaggy old dog, and he whines;
All brightly the eye of the black tom-cat shines;
The women are howling with long flowing hair,—
Why sings my old nurse my old cradle-song there?
Old nurse stops at home, to her song to attend,
The eiapopeia is long at an end;
To-day I am keeping my gay wedding feast;
Only watch the arrival of each gallant guest!
Only watch them! Good sirs, how polite is your band!
Ye carry your heads, ’stead of hats, in your hand;
With your clattering bones, and like gallows-birds dress’d,
Why arrive here so late, when the wind is at rest?
The old witch on her broomstick comes galloping on:
Ah, bless me, good mother, I’m really thy son.
The mouth in her pale face beginning to twitch,
“For ever, amen,” soon replies the old witch.
Twelve wither’d musicians come creeping along,
The limping blind fiddler is seen in the throng
Jackpudding dress’d out in his motley array,
On the gravedigger’s back is grimacing away.{32}
With dancing twelve nuns from the convent advance,
The leering old procuress leading the dance;
Twelve merry young priests follow close in their train,
And sing their lewd songs in a church-going strain.
Till you’re black in the face, good old clothesman, don’t yell,
Your fur-coat will nothing avail you in hell;
’Tis heated for nought all the year with odd things,—
’Stead of wood, with the bones of dead beggars and kings.
The girls with the flowers seem’d hunchback’d and bent,
Tumbling head over heels in the room as they went;
With your faces like owls, and a grasshopper’s leg,
That rattling of bones discontinue, I beg.
The squadrons of hell all appear in their shrouds,
And bustle and hustle in fast-swelling crowds;
The waltz of damnation resounds in the ear,—
Hush, hush! my sweet love is at length drawing near.
Now, rabble, be quiet, or get you away!
I scarcely can hear e’en one word that I say;
Hark! Is’t not the sound of a chariot at hand?
Quick, open the door! Why thus loitering stand?
Thou art welcome, my darling! how goes it, my sweet?
You’re welcome, good parson! stand up, I entreat!
Good parson, with hoof of a horse and with tail,
I’m your dutiful servant, and wish you all hail!
Dear bride, wherefore stand’st thou so pale and so dumb?
The parson to join us together has come;
Full dear, dear as blood, is the fee I must pay,
And yet to possess thee is merely child’s play.
Kneel down, my sweet bride, by my side prythee kneel
She kneels and she sinks,—O what rapture I feel!—
She sinks on my heart, on my fast-heaving breast;
With shuddering pleasure I hold her close press’d.
Like billows her golden locks circle the pair,
’Gainst my heart beats the heart of the maiden so fair
They beat with a union of sorrow and love,
And soar to the regions of heaven above.{33}
While our hearts are thus floating in rapture’s wide sea,
In God’s holy realms, all untrammell’d and free,
On our heads, as a terrible sign and a brand,
Has hell in derision imposed her grim hand.
In propriâ personâ the dark son of night
As parson bestows the priest’s blessing to-night;
From a bloody book breathes he the formula terse,
Each prayer execration, each blessing a curse.
A crashing and hissing and howling is heard,
Like rolling of thunder, like waves wildly stirr’d;
When sudden a bluish-tinged light brightly flames,
“For ever, amen!” the old mother exclaims.

8.

I came from the house of my mistress dear,
And wander’d, half frenzied, in midnight fear,
And when o’er the churchyard I mournfully trod,
In solemn silence the graves seem’d to nod.
The musician’s old tombstone seem’d nodding to be;
’Tis the flickering light of the moon that I see.
There’s a whisper “Dear brother, I soon shall be here!”
Then a misty pale form from the tomb doth appear.
The musician it was who arose in the gloom,
And perch’d himself high on the top of the tomb;
The chords of his lute he struck with good will,
And sang with a voice right hollow and shrill:
“Ah, know ye still the olden song,
“That thrill’d the breast with passion strong,
“Ye chords so dull and unmoving?
“The angels they call it the joys of heaven,
“The devils they call it hell’s torments even,
“And mortals they call it—loving!”
The last word’s sound had scarcely died,
When all the graves their mouths open’d wide;
Many airy figures step forward, and each
The musician draws near, while in chorus they screech:
“Love, O love, thy wondrous might
“Brought us to this dreary plight,
“Closed our eyes in endless night,—
“To disturb us why delight?”{34}
Thus howl they confusedly, hissing and groaning,
With roaring and sighing and crashing and moaning;
The mad troop the musician surround as before,
And the chords the musician strikes wildly once more
“Bravo! bravo! How absurd!
“Welcome to ye!
“Plainly knew ye
“That I spake the magic word!
“As we pass the livelong year
“Still as mice in prison drear,
“Let’s to-day be full of cheer!
“First, though, please
“See that no one else is here;
“Fools were we as long as living,
“To love’s maddening passion giving
“All our madden’d energies.
“Let, by way of recreation,
“Each one give a true narration
“Of his former history,—
“How devour’d,
“How o’erpower’d
“In love’s frantic chase was he.”
Then as light as the air from the circle there broke
A wizen’d thin being, who hummingly spoke:
“A tailor was I by profession
“With needle and with shears;
“None made a better impression
“With needle and with shears.
“Then came my master’s daughter
“With needle and with shears,
“And pierced my sorrowing bosom
“With needle and with shears.”
In right merry chorus the spirits then laughed;
In solemn silence a second stepp’d aft:
“Great Rinaldo Rinaldini,
“Schinderhanno, Orlandini,
“And Charles Moor especially,
“Were my patterns made by me.{35}
“Like those mighty heroes, I
“Fell in love, I’ll not deny,
“And the fairest woman most
“Haunted me like any ghost.
“Sighing, cooing like a dove,
“I was driven mad with love,
“And my fingers, by ill-luck,
“In my neighbour’s pocket stuck.
“But the constable abused me,
“And most cruelly ill-used me,
“And I sought to hide my grief
“In my neighbour’s handkerchief.
“Then their arms policemen placed
“Quietly around my waist,
“And the bridewell then and there
“Took me ’neath its tender care.
“There, with thoughts of love quite full,
“Long time sat I, spinning wool,
“Till Rinaldo’s ghost one day
“Came and took my soul away.”
In right merry chorus the spirits then laughed;
A third, all-berouged and bedizen’d, stepp’d aft:
“As monarch I ruled on the stage,
“The part of the lover played I,
“Oft bellowed ‘Ye Gods,’ in a rage,
“Breath’d many a heart-rending sigh.
“I play’d Mortimer’s part best, methinks,
“Maria was always so fair;
“But despite the most natural winks,
“She never gave heed to my prayer.
“Once when I, with desperate look,
Maria, thou holy one!’ cried,
“The dagger I hastily took,
“And plunged it too deep in my side.”
In right merry chorus the spirits then laugh’d;
A fourth in a white flowing garment stepp’d aft:
Ex cathedrâ kept prating the learned professor,
“He prated, and I went to sleep all the while;
“Yet my pleasure had certainly not been the lesser,
“Had I revell’d instead in his daughter’s sweet smile.{36}
“From the window she oft to me tenderly beckon’d,
“That flower of flowers, my life’s only light;
“Yet that flower of flowers was pluck’d in a second
“By a stupid old blockhead, an opulent wight.
“Then cursed I all women and rogues of high station,
“And mingled some poisonous herbs in my wine,
“And held with old Death a jollification,
“While he said: ‘Your good health! from this moment you’re mine!
In right merry chorus the spirits then laugh’d;
A fifth, with a rope round his neck, next stepp’d aft:
“There boasted and bragg’d a count, over his wine,
“Of his daughter so fair, and his jewels so fine.
“What care I, Sir Count, for thy jewels so fine?
“Far rather would I that thy daughter were mine!
Tis true under bar, lock, and key they both lay,
“And the Count many servants retain’d in his pay
“What cared I for servants, for bar, lock, or key?
“Up the rungs of the ladder I mounted with glee.
“To my mistress’s window I climb’d with good cheer,
“Where curses beneath me saluted my ear.
Stop, stop, my fine fellow! I too must be there,
“I’m likewise in love with the jewels so fair.’
“Thus jested the Count, while he grappled me tight,
“His servants came round me with shouts of delight.
Pooh, nonsense, you rascals! No robber am I,
“I but came for my mistress—’tis really no lie.’
“In vain was my talking, in vain what I said,
“They got ready the rope, threw it over my head,
“And the sun, when he rose, with amazement extreme
“Found me hanging, alas, from the gallows’ high beam!”
“In right merry chorus the spirits then laugh’d;
“A sixth, with his head in his hand, next stepp’d aft;
“Love’s torments made me seek the chace;
“Rifle in hand, I roam’d apace.
“Down from the tree, with hollow scoff,
“The raven cried: ‘head off! head off!’{37}
“O, could I only see a dove,
“I’d take it home for my sweet love!
“Thus thought I, and midst bush and tree
“With sportsman’s eye sought carefully.
“What billing’s that? What gentle cooing?
“It sounds like turtle doves’ soft wooing.
“I stole up slily, cock’d my gun,
“And, lo, my own sweet love was one!
“It was indeed my dove, my bride;
“A stranger clasp’d her waist with pride.
“Old gun, now let thy aim be good!—
“The stranger welter’d in his blood.
“Soon through the wood I had to pass,
“With hangmen by my side, alas!
“Down from the tree, with bitter scoff,
“The raven cried: ‘head-off! head-off!
In right merry chorus the spirits then laughed;
At length the musician in person stepp’d aft:
“I’ve sung my own song, friends, demurely,
“That charming song’s at an end;
“When the heart is once broken, why surely
“The song may homeward wend!”
Then began the wild laughter still louder to sound,
And the pale spectral troop in a circle swept round.
From the neighbouring church-tow’r the stroke of “One!” fell,
And the spirits rush’d back to their graves with a yell.

9.

I was asleep, and calmly slept,
All pain and grief allay’d;
A wondrous vision o’er me crept,
There came a lovely maid.
As pale as marble was her face,
And, O, so passing fair!
Her eyes they swam with pearl-like grace,
And strangely waved her hair.
And softly, softly moved her foot
The pale-as-marble maid;
And on my heart herself she put,
The pale-as-marble maid.{38}
How shook and throbb’d, half sad, half blest,
My heart, which hotly burn’d!
But neither shook nor throbb’d her breast,
Which into ice seem’d turn’d.
“It neither shakes nor throbs, my breast,
“And it is icy cold;
“And yet I know love’s yearning blest,
“Love’s mighty pow’r of old.
“No colour’s on my lips and cheek,
“No blood my veins doth swell;
“But start not, thus to hear me speak,
“I love thee, love thee well!”
And wilder still embraced she me,
And I was sore afraid;
Then crow’d the cock,—straight vanish’d she,
The pale-as-marble maid.

10.

I oft have pale spectres before now
Conjured with magical might;
They refuse to return any more now
To their former dwelling of night.
The word that commands their submission
I forgot in my terror and fear;
My own spirits now seek my perdition,
Within their prison-house drear.
Dark demons, approach not a finger!
Away, nor to torment give birth!
Full many a joy still may linger
In the roseate light of this earth.
I needs must be evermore striving
To reach the flower so fair;
O, what were the use of my living
If I may cherish her ne’er?
To my glowing heart fain would I press her,
Would clasp her for once to my breast,
On her lips and her cheeks once caress her,
With sweetest of torments be blest.{39}
If once from her mouth I could hear it,
Could hear one fond whisper bestow’d,
I would follow thee, beckoning Spirit,
Yea, e’en to thy darksome abode.
The spirits have heard, and draw nigh me,
And nod with terrific glee:
Sweet love, with an answer supply me,—
Sweet love, O lovest thou me?

2. SONGS.

1.

Every morning rise I, crying:
Comes my love to-day?
Then sink down at evening, sighing:
She is still away!
Sleepless and oppress’d with sorrow,
All night long I lie
Dreaming, half asleep; the morrow
Sadly wander I.

2.

I’m driven hither and thither along!
But yet a few hours, I shall see her again,
Herself, the most fair of the fair maiden-train;—
True heart, what means thy throbbing so strong?
The hours are only a slothful race!
Lazily they move each day,
And with yawning go their way;—
Hasten on, ye slothful race!
Wild-raging eagerness thrills me indeed;
Never in love have the hours delighted;
So, in a cruel bond strangely united,
Slily deride they the lovers’ wild speed.

3.

By nought but sorrow attended,
I wander’d under the trees;
That olden vision descended,
And stole to my heart by degrees.{40}
Who taught you the word ye are singing,
Ye birds in the branches on high?
O hush! when my heart hears it ringing,
It makes it more mournfully sigh.
“A fair young maiden ’twas taught it,
“Who came here, and sang like a bird;
“And so we birds easily caught it,
“That pretty, golden word.”
No more shall this story deceive me,
Ye birds, so wondrously sly:
Of my sorrow ye fain would bereave me,
On your friendship I cannot rely.

4.

Sweet love, lay thy hand on my heart, and tell
If thou hearest the knocks in that narrow cell?
There dwells there a carpenter, cunning is he,
And slily he’s hewing a coffin for me.
He hammers and knocks by day and by night,
My slumber already has banish’d outright;
Oh, Master Carpenter, prythee make haste,
That I some slumber at length may taste.

5.

Beauteous cradle of my sorrow,
Beauteous grave of all my peace,
Beauteous town, we part to-morrow,
Fare thee well, our ties must cease!
Fare thee well, thou threshold holy,
Where my loved one sets her feet!
Fare thee well, thou spot so holy,
Where we chanced at first to meet!
Would that we had been for ever
Strangers, queen of hearts so fair!
Then it would have happen’d never
That I’m driven to despair.
Ne’er to stir thy bosom thought I,
For thy love I never pray’d;
Silently to live but sought I
Where thy breath its balm convey’d.{41}
Yet thou spurn’st me in my sadness,
Bitter words thy mouth doth speak,
In my senses riots madness,
And my heart is faint and weak
And my limbs, in wanderings dreary,
Sadly drag I, full of gloom,
Till I lay my head all weary
In a chilly distant tomb.

6.

Patience, surly pilot, shortly
To the port I’ll follow you;
From two maidens I’m departing,
From my love and Europe too.
Blood-spring, from mine eyes ’gin running,
Blood-spring, from my body flow,
So that I then, with my hot blood,
May write down my tale of woe.
Ah, my body, wherefore shudder
Thus to-day my blood to see?
Many years before thee standing
Pale, heart-bleeding, saw’st thou me!
Know’st thou still the olden story
Of the snake in Paradise,
Who, a cursed apple giving,
Caused our parents endless sighs?
Apples brought all evils on us,
Death through Eve by apples came;
Flames on Troy were brought by Eris,—
Both thou broughtest, death and flame!

7.

Hill and castle fair are glancing
O’er the clear and glassy Rhine,
And my bark is gaily dancing
In the sunlight all-divine.
On the golden waters, breaking
Sportively, my calm eyes rest;
Gently are the feelings waking
That I nourish’d in my breast.{42}
With a fond and kindly greeting,
Lure me those deep waters bright,
Yet I know their smoothness cheating
Hides beneath it death and night.
Joy above, below destruction,—
Thou’rt my loved one’s image, stream
Blissful is her smile’s seduction,
Kind and gentle can she seem.

8.

First methought in my affliction,
I can never stand the blow.—
Yet I did—strange contradiction!
How I did, ne’er seek to know.

9.

With rose and cypress and tinsel gay,
I fain would adorn in a charming way
This book, as though a coffin it were,
And in it my olden songs inter.
O, could I but bury love also there!
On love’s grave grows rest’s floweret fair;
’Tis there ’tis pluck’d in its sweetest bloom,—
For me ’twill not blossom till in my tomb.
Here now are the songs that formerly rose,
As wild as the lava from Etna that flows,
From out the depths of my feelings true,
And glittering sparks around them threw!
Like corpses now lie they, all silent and dumb,
And cold and pallid as mist they’ve become;
But the olden glow their revival will bring
When the spirit of love waves o’er them its wing.
In my heart a presentiment loudly cries:
The spirit of love will over them rise:
This book will hereafter come to thy hand,
My sweetest love, in a distant land.
Then the spell on my song at an end will be,
The pallid letters will gaze on thee,
Imploringly gaze on thy beauteous eyes,
And whisper with sadness and loving sighs.

{43}

3. ROMANCES.

1. THE MOURNFUL ONE.

Every heart with pain is smitten
When they see the stripling pale,
Who upon his face bears written
Grief and sorrow’s mournful tale.
Breezes with compassion lightly
Fan his burning brow the while,
And his bosom many a sprightly
Damsel fair would fain beguile.
From the city’s ceaseless bustle
To the wood for peace he flies.
Merrily the leaves there rustle,
Merrier still the bird’s songs rise.
But the merry song soon ceases,
Sadly rustle leaf and tree,
When he, while his grief increases,
Nears the forest mournfully.

2. THE MOUNTAIN ECHO.

At sad slow pace across the vale
There rode a horseman brave:
“Ah! travel I now to my mistress’s arms,
Or but to the darksome grave?”
The echo answer gave:
“The darksome grave!”
And farther rode the horseman on,
With sighs his thoughts express’d:
“If I thus early must go to my grave,
Yet in the grave is rest.”
The answering voice confess’d:
“The grave is rest!”
Adown the horseman’s furrow’d cheek
A tear fell on his breast:
“If rest I can only find in the grave,
For me the grave is best.”
The hollow voice confess’d:
“The grave is best!”{44}

3. THE TWO BROTHERS.

On the mountain summit darkling
Lies the castle, veil’d in night;
Lights are in the valley sparkling,
Clashing swords are gleaming bright.
Brothers ’tis, who in fierce duel
Fight, with wrath to fury fann’d;
Tell me why these brothers cruel
Strive thus madly, sword in hand?
By the eyes of Countess Laura
Were they thus in strife array’d;
Both with glowing love adore her,—
Her, the noble, beauteous maid.
Unto which now of the brothers
Is her heart the most inclined?
She her secret feelings smothers,—
Out, then, sword, the truth to find!
And they fight with rage despairing,
Blows exchange with savage might;
Take good heed, ye gallants daring,—
Mischief walks abroad by night.
Woe, O woe, ye brothers cruel!
Woe, O woe, thou vale abhorr’d!
Both fall victims in the duel,
Falling on each other’s sword.
Races are to dust converted,
Many centuries have flown,
And the castle, now deserted,
Sadly from the mount looks down.
But at night-time in the valley
Wondrous forms appear again;
At the stroke of twelve, forth sally
To the fight the brothers twain.

4. POOR PETER.

I.

While Hans and Grettel are dancing with glee,
And each of them loudly rejoices,
Poor Peter looks as pale as can be,
And perfectly mute his voice is.{45}
While Hans and Grettel are bridegroom and bride,
And glitter in smart ostentation,
Poor Peter must still in his working dress bide,
And bites his nails with vexation.
Then softly Peter said to himself,
As he gazed on the couple sadly:
“Ah, had I not been such a sensible elf,
It had fared with my life but badly!”

II.

“Within my breast there sits a woe
That seems my breast to sever;
Where’er I stand, where’er I go,
It drives me onward ever.
“It makes me tow’rd my loved one fly,
As if she could restore me;
Yet when I gaze upon her eye,
My sorrows rise before me.
“I clamber up the mountain now,
In lonely sorrow creeping,
And standing silent on its brow,
I cannot cease from weeping.”

III.

Poor Peter slowly totters by,
Pale as a corpse, and stealthily;
The very people in the street
Stand still, when his sad form they meet.
The maidens whisper’d as they pitied:
“The grave he has this moment quitted.”
Ah no, my dear young maidens fair,
He’s just about to lie down there!
As he is of his love bereft,
The grave’s the best place that is left,
Where he his aching heart may lay,
And sleep until the Judgment Day.

5. THE PRISONER’S SONG.

When my grandmother once had bewitch’d a poor girl,
The mob would have burnt her quite readily;
But though fiercely the judge his mustachios might twirl,
She refused to confess her crime steadily.{46}
And when in the caldron they held her fast,
She shouted and yell’d like a craven;
But when the black vapour arose, she at last
Flew up in the air as a raven.
My black and feathery grandmother dear,
O visit me soon in this tower!
Quick, fly through the grating, and come to me here,
And bring me some cakes to devour!
My black and feathery grandmother dear,
O prythee protect me from sorrow!
For my aunt will be picking my eyes out, I fear,
When I merrily soar hence to-morrow.

6. THE GRENADIERS

Two grenadiers travell’d tow’rds France one day,
On leaving their prison in Russia,
And sadly they hung their heads in dismay
When they reach’d the frontiers of Prussia.
For there they first heard the story of woe,
That France had utterly perish’d,
The grand army had met with an overthrow,
They had captured their Emperor cherish’d.
Then both of the grenadiers wept full sore
At hearing the terrible story;
And one of them said: “Alas! once more
My wounds are bleeding and gory.”
The other one said: “The game’s at an end,
With thee I would die right gladly,
But I’ve wife and child, whom at home I should tend,
For without me they’ll fare but badly.
“What matters my child, what matters my wife?
A heavier care has arisen;
Let them beg, if they’re hungry, all their life,—
My Emperor sighs in a prison!
“Dear brother, pray grant me this one last prayer:
If my hours I now must number,
O take my corpse to my country fair,
That there it may peacefully slumber.{47}
“The legion of honour, with ribbon red,
Upon my bosom place thou,
And put in my hand my musket dread,
And my sword around me brace thou.
“And so in my grave will I silently lie,
And watch like a guard o’er the forces,
Until the roaring of cannon hear I,
And the trampling of neighing horses.
“My Emperor then will ride over my grave,
While the swords glitter brightly and rattle;
Then armed to the teeth will I rise from the grave,
For my Emperor hasting to battle!”

7. THE MESSAGE.

Good servant! up, and saddle quick,
And leap upon thy steed,
And to King Duncan’s castle then
Through plain and forest speed.
Into the stable creep, and wait,
’Till by the helper spied;
Then say: “Of Duncan’s daughters, which
Has just become a bride?”
And if he says: “The brown one ’tis,”
The news bring quickly home;
But if he says: “The fair one ’tis,”
More slowly thou mayst come.
Then go to the ropemaker’s shop,
And buy a rope for me;
And riding slowly, bring it here,
And mute and silent be.

8. TAKING THE BRIDE HOME.

I’ll go not alone, my sweetheart dear!
With me thou must go now
To the cheery, old, and cosy room
In the dreary cold abode of gloom,
Where at the door my mother keeps guard,
And for her son’s return looks hard.{48}
“Away from me, thou gloomy man!
Who bid thee come hither?
Thy hand’s like ice, thine eye glows bright,
Thy breath is burning, thy cheek is white;—
But I would rather my time beguile
With smell of roses and sun’s sweet smile.”
The roses may smell, and the sun may shine,
My darling sweetheart!
Throw thy spreading white veil thy figure around,
Make the chords of the echoing lyre resound,
And sing a wedding song to me;
The night-wind pipes the melody.

9. DON RAMIRO.

“Donna Clara! Donna Clara!
Through long years the hotly-loved one
Thou hast will’d now my destruction,
Will’d it, too, without compassion.
“Donna Clara! Donna Clara!
Very sweet the gift of life is!
But beneath us all is fearful,
In the tomb so dark and chilly.
“Donna Clara, joy! to-morrow
Will Fernando at the altar
As his wedded bride salute thee,—
Wilt thou ask me to the wedding?”
“Don Ramiro! Don Ramiro!
Bitterly thy words are sounding,
Bitt’rer than you stars’ decree is,
Scoffing at my heart’s own wishes.
“Don Ramiro! Don Ramiro!
Shake thy gloomy sadness from thee;
On the earth are many maidens,
But by God have we been parted.
“Don Ramiro, who so bravely
Many Moors hast overpower’d,
Overpower now thyself too,—
Come to-morrow to my wedding.”{49}
“Donna Clara! Donna Clara!
Yes, I swear it, yes, I’ll come there!
And the dance will lead off with thee;—
So good night, I’ll come to-morrow.”
“So good night!”—The window rattled;
Sighing stood below Ramiro,
Seeming turn’d to stone long stood he;
Then he vanish’d in the darkness.
Lastly, after lengthen’d conflict,
Night to day in turn surrender’d;
Like a blooming flowery garden
Lies extended fair Toledo.
Palaces and splendid buildings
Glitter in the radiant sunlight,
And the churches’ domes so lofty
Glisten proudly, as though gilded.
Humming like a busy beehive,
Merrily the bells are sounding;
Sweetly rise the solemn psalm-tunes
From the God-devoted churches.
But look yonder! but look yonder!
Where from out the market chapel,
Midst the heaving crowd and uproar,
Streams the throng in chequer’d masses.
Glittering knights and stately ladies
In gay courtly dresses sparkle,
And the clear-toned bells are ringing,
And the organ peals between times.
But with reverence saluted,
In the people’s midst are walking,
Nobly clad, the youthful couple,
Donna Clara, Don Fernando.
To the bridegroom’s palace entrance
Slowly moves the gay procession;
There begin the ceremonies,
Stately, and in olden fashion.
Knightly games and merry feasting
Interchange with loud rejoicing;
Swiftly fly the hours thus gladly
Till the shades of night have fallen.{50}
And the wedding-guests assemble
In the hall, to hold the dances,
And their chequer’d gala dresses
Midst the glittering lights are sparkling.
On a high-exalted dais
Bride and bridegroom are reclining,
Donna Clara, Don Fernando,
Holding loving conversation.
In the hall are gaily moving
All the festal crowd of people,
And the kettle-drums sound loudly,
And the trumpets, too, are crashing.
“Wherefore, O my heart’s fair mistress.
Are thy glances so directed
Tow’rd the hall’s most distant corner?”
Thus the knight exclaim’d with wonder.
“Seest thou not, then, Don Fernando,
Yonder man in dark cloak hidden?”
And the knight with smiling answered:
“Ah, ’tis nothing but a shadow.”
But the shadow soon approach’d them,
And a man was in the mantle,
And Ramiro recognising,
Clara greeted him with blushes.
And the dancing has begun now,
And the dancers whirl round gaily
In the waltz’s giddy mazes,
And the ground beneath them trembles.
“Gladly will I, Don Ramiro,
In the dance become thy partner,
But thou didst not well to come here
In a black and nightlike mantle.”
But with eyes all fix’d and piercing
Looks Ramiro on the fair one;
Clasping her, with gloom thus speaks he:
“At thy bidding have I come here!”
And the pair of dancers vanish
In the dance’s giddy mazes,
And the kettle-drums sound loudly,
And the trumpets, too, are crashing.{51}
“Snow-white are thy cheeks, Ramiro,”
Clara speaks with secret trembling.
“At thy bidding have I come here!”
In a hollow voice replies he.
In the hall the wax-lights glimmer
Through the ebbing, flowing masses,
And the kettle-drums sound loudly,
And the trumpets, too, are crashing.
“Ice-cold are thy hands, Ramiro,”
Clara speaks with shudd’ring terror.
“At thy bidding have I come here!”
And within the whirl they vanish.
“Leave me, leave me, Don Ramiro!
Ah, thy breath is like a corpse’s!”
Once again the dark words speaks he
“At thy bidding have I come here!”
And the very ground seems glowing.
Fiddle, viol sound right merry;
Like a wondrous weft of magic
All within the hall is whirling.
“Leave me, leave me, Don Ramiro!”
Sadly sounds amidst the tumult;
Don Ramiro ever answers:
“At thy bidding have I come here!”
“In the name of God depart, then!”
Clara with a firm voice utters,
And the words she scarce had spoken
When Ramiro vanish’d from her.
Clara, death in every feature,
Chilly, night-surrounded, stood there,
And a swoon her lightsome figure
To its darksome kingdom carries.
But at last her misty slumber
Yields, at last her eyelids open,
But again, with deep amazement,
Would she fain have closed her fair eyes.
For since they began the dancing,
From her seat had she not moved once,
And she still sits by the bridegroom,
And the anxious knight thus asks her{52}
“Say, why are thy cheeks so pallid?
Wherefore is thine eye so darksome?”—
“And Ramiro?”—stammers Clara,
And her tongue is mute with horror.
But with deep and solemn wrinkles
Is the bridegroom’s brow now furrow’d:
“Lady, bloody news why seek’st thou?
This day’s noontide died Ramiro.”

10. BELSHAZZAR.

The midnight hour was coming on,
In deathlike calm lay Babylon.
But in the monarch’s castle high
Held the monarch’s attendants gay revelry.
And in the regal hall upstairs
A regal feast Belshazzar shares.
The servants in glittering circles recline,
And empty the goblets of sparkling wine.
The servants are shouting, the goblets ring,
Delighting the heart of the ruthless king.
The king’s cheeks feel a ruddy glow,
The wine doth swell his ardour so.
And blindly led on by his ardour’s wiles,
The Godhead with blasphemous words he reviles.
And wildly he curses and raves aloud,
Approvingly bellow the serving crowd.
The king commands with a look that burns,
The servant hastens and soon returns.
Many golden vessels he bears on his head,
The spoils of Jehovah’s temple dread.
And the monarch straight seized on a sacred cup
With impious hand, and fill’d it up.
And down to the dregs he drains it fast,
And with foaming mouth exclaims at last:
“Jehovah, thy power I here defy,
The King of Babylon am I.”
But scarcely had sounded the fearful word,
When the heart of the king with terror was stirr’d.{53}
The yelling laughter is silenced all,
And deathlike silence fills the hall.
And see! And see! On the wall so white
A human hand appears in sight.
And letters of flame on the wall so white
It wrote, and wrote, and vanish’d from sight.
The king the writing with wonderment sees,
As pale as death, and with trembling knees.
The awestruck servants sat around,
And silent sat, and utter’d no sound.
The magicians appear’d, but none ’mongst them all
Could rightly interpret the words on the wall.
But Belshazzar the king the selfsame night
Was slain by his servants,—a ghastly sight.

11. THE MINNESINGERS.

In the minstrels’ strife engaging
Pass the Minnesingers by;
Strange the war that they are waging,
Strange the tourney where they vie.
Fancy, that for battle nerves him,
Is the Minnesinger’s steed;
Art as trusty buckler serves him,
And his word’s a sword indeed.
Beauteous dames, with glances pleasant,
From the balcony look down;
But the right one is not present
With the proper laurel crown.
Other combatants, when springing
To the lists, at least are sound;
Minnesingers must be bringing
To the fray a deadly wound.
He from whom the most there draineth
Song’s blood from the inmost breast,—
He is victor, and obtaineth
From fair lips the praise most blest,

{54}

12. LOOKING FROM THE WINDOW.

Fair Hedwig lay at the window, to see
If pale Henry would chance to detect her;
She said half aloud: “Why goodness me!
The man is as pale as a spectre!”
With yearning pale Henry look’d above
At her window, in hopes to detect her;
Fair Hedwig now felt the torments of love,
And she became pale as a spectre.
Love-sick, now stood fair Hedwig all day
At her window, lest he should reject her;
But soon in pale Henry’s arms she lay
All night, at the time for a spectre.

13. THE WOUNDED KNIGHT.

I know a story of anguish,
A tale of the times of old;
A knight with love doth languish,
His mistress is faithless and cold.
As faithless must he esteem now
Her whom in his heart he adored;
His loving pangs must he deem now
Disgraceful and abhorr’d.
In vain in the lists would he wander,
And challenge to battle each knight;
“Let him who my mistress dares slander
Make ready at once for the fight!”
But all are silent, save only
His grief, that so fiercely doth burn;
His lance he against his own lonely
Accusing bosom must turn.

14. THE SEA-VOYAGE.

I leaning stood against the mast,
And told each wave of ocean;
Farewell, my beauteous fatherland!
My bark, how swift thy motion!
I pass’d my lovely mistress’ house,
The windows gleam’d all over;
But though I gazed and gazed and gazed,
No sign could I discover.{55}
Ye tears, obscure not thus mine eyes
On this too-painful morrow;
My love-sick heart, O do not break
With overweight of sorrow!

15. THE SONG OF REPENTANCE.

Sir Ulrich rides in the forest so green,
The leaves with joy seem laden;
He sees, the trees’ thick branches between,
The form of a beauteous maiden.
The youth then said: “Well know I thee,
So blooming and glowing thy face is;
Alluringly ever encircles it me,
In deserts or crowded places.
“Those lips, by fresh loveliness ever stirr’d,
Appear a pair of roses;
Yet many a hateful bitter word
That roguish mouth discloses.
“A pretty rosebush a mouth like this
Resembles very closely,
Where cunning poisonous serpents hiss
Amid the leaves morosely.
“Within those beauteous cheeks there lies
A sweet and beauteous dimple;
That is the grave where I fell by surprise,
Lured on by a yearning simple.
“There see I the beauteous locks of hair,
That once so lovingly pleased me;
That is the net so wondrous fair
Wherewith the Evil One seized me.
“And that blue eye, that so sweetly fell,
As clear as the ocean even,
It proved to be the portal of hell,
Though I thought it the gateway of heaven.”
In the wood still farther Sir Ulrich doth ride,
The leaves make a rustling dreary,
A second figure afar he spied,
That seem’d so sad and weary.{56}
The youth then said: “O mother dear,
Who lov’dst me to distraction,
But to whom in life I caused many a tear,
By evil word and action!
“O would that to dry thine eyes could avail
My sorrow so fiercely glowing!
O could I but redden thy cheeks so pale
With the blood from my own heart flowing!”
And farther rides Sir Ulrich there,
The night o’er the forest is falling;
Many singular voices fill the air,
The evening breezes are calling.
The youth then hears his sorrowing words
Full often near him ringing;
’Tis the notes of the mocking forest birds
All twittering loudly and singing:
“Sir Ulrich sings a pretty song,
We call it the song of repentance:
And when he has reach’d the end of his song,
He’ll repeat it sentence by sentence.”

16. TO A SINGER, ON HER SINGING AN OLD ROMANCE.

Still think I of the magic fair one,
How on her first my glances fell!
How her dear tones resounded sweetly,
How they my heart enthrall’d completely,
How down my cheeks the tears coursed fleetly
But how it chanced, I could not tell.
There over me had crept a vision:
Methought I was again a child,
And in my mother’s chamber sitting
In silence, by the lamp-light flitting,
And reading fairy tales befitting,
Whilst outside roar’d the tempest wild.
The tales began with life to glimmer,
The knights arise from out the grave;
By Roncesvall the battle rages,
Sir Roland in the fight engages,
And with him many a valiant page is,—
And also Ganelon, the knave.{57}
By him is Roland ill entreated,
He swims in blood, fast ebbs his breath;
Scarce can his horn, at such far distance,
Call Charlemagne to his assistance:
So passed away the knight’s existence,
And, with him, sank my dream in death.
It was a loud confusèd echo
That from my vision wakened me.
The legend that she sang was ended,
The people heartily commended,
And ofttimes shouted: “Bravo! splendid!”
Low bow’d the singer gracefully.

17. THE SONG OF THE DUCATS.

O my golden ducats dear,
Tell me why ye are not here?
Are ye with the golden fishes
Which within the stream so gaily
Leap and splash and wriggle daily?
Are ye with the golden flow’rets
Which, o’er green fields scattered lightly,
In the morning dew gleam brightly?
Are ye with the golden bird-kins
Which we see in happy chorus
In the blue skies hov’ring o’er us?
Are ye with the golden planets
Which in radiant crowds each even
Smile in yonder distant heaven?
Ye, alas, my golden ducats,
Swim not in the streamlet bright,
Sparkle not on meadow green,
Hover not in skies serene,
Smile not in the heavens by night.—
Creditors, with greedy paws,
Hold you safely in their claws.

18. DIALOGUE ON PADERBORN HEATH.

Hear’st thou not far music ringing,
As of double-bass and fiddle?
Many fair ones there are springing
Gaily up and down the middle.{58}
“You’re mistaken friend, in speaking
“Thus of fiddle and its brother;
“I but hear young porkers squeaking,
“And the grunting of their mother.”
Hear’st thou not the forest bugle?
Hunters in the chase are straying;
Gentle lambs are feeding, frugal
Shepherds on their pipes are playing.
“Ah, my friend, what you just now heard,
“Was not bugles, pipes, or hunters;
“I can only see the sow-herd
“Slowly driving home his grunters.”
Hear’st thou not the distant voices
In sweet rivalry contending?
Many an angel blest rejoices
Strains like these to hear ascending.
“Ah, that music sweetly ringing
“Is, my friend, no rival chorus;
Tis but youthful gooseherds, singing
“As they drive their geese before us.”
Hear’st thou not the church-bells holy,
Sweet and clear, with deep emotion?
To the village-chapel slowly
Wend the people with devotion.
“Ah, my friend, the bells ’tis only
“Of the cows and oxen also,
“Who, with sunken heads and lonely,
“Go back to their gloomy stalls so.”
See’st thou not the veil just moving?
See’st thou not those soft advances?
There I see my mistress loving,
Humid sorrow in her glances.
“She, my friend, who nods so much, is
“An old woman, Betsy namely;
“Pale and haggard, on her crutches
“O’er the meadow limps she lamely.”
Overwhelm me with confusion
At my questions, friend, each minute;
Wilt thou deem a mere illusion
What my bosom holds within it?

{59}

19. LIFE’S SALUTATIONS. (From an Album.)

This earth resembles a highway vast,
We men are the trav’llers along it;
On foot and on horseback we hurry on fast,
And as runners or couriers throng it.
In passing each other, we nod and we greet
With our handkerchiefs waved from the coaches;
We fain would embrace, but our horses are fleet,
And speed on, despite all reproaches.
Dear Prince Alexander, as onward we go,
We scarcely have met at a station,
When the signal to start the postilions blow,
Compelling our sad separation.

20. QUITE TRUE.

When the spring returns with the sun’s sweet light,
The flowers then bud and blossom apace;
When the moon begins her radiant race,
Then the stars swim after her track so bright.
When the minstrel sees two beautiful eyes,
Then songs from his inmost bosom arise;—
But songs and stars and flowerets gay,
And eyes and moonbeams and sun’s bright ray,
However delightful they are,
Don’t make up the world, friend, by far.

4. SONNETS.

TO A. W. VON SCHLEGEL.

In dainty hoop, with flowers all-richly dight,
With beauty-patches on her painted face,
With pointed shoes all hung about with lace,
With tow’ring curls, and, wasp-like, fasten’d tight,—
Thus was the spurious muse equipp’d that night
When first she offer’d thee her fond embrace;
But thou eludedst her and leftst the place,
Led by a mystic impulse from her sight:{60}
A castle in the desert thou didst find,
Where, like a lovely marble image shrin’d,
Lay a fair maid, in magic slumber sunk;
But soon the spell was loosed,—when kiss’d by thee,
With smiles the lawful muse of Germany
Awoke, and sank within thine arms, love-drunk.

TO MY MOTHER, B. HEINE, née VON GELDERN.

1.

I have been wont to bear my head right high,
My temper too is somewhat stern and rough;
Even before a monarch’s cold rebuff
I would not timidly avert mine eye.
Yet, mother dear, I’ll tell it openly:
Much as my haughty pride may swell and puff,
I feel submissive and subdued enough,
When thy much-cherished, darling form is nigh.
Is it thy spirit that subdues me then,
Thy spirit, grasping all things in its ken,
And soaring to the light of heaven again?
By the sad recollection I’m oppress’d
That I have done so much that grieved thy breast,
Which loved me, more than all things else, the best.

2.

With foolish fancy I deserted thee;
I fain would search the whole world through, to learn
If in it I perchance could love discern,
That I might love embrace right-lovingly.
I sought for love as far as eye could see,
My hands extending at each door in turn,
Begging them not my prayer for love to spurn—
Cold hate alone they laughing gave to me.
And ever search’d I after love; yes, ever
Search’d after love, but love discover’d never,
And so I homeward went, with troubled thought;
But thou wert there to welcome me again,
And, ah, what in thy dear eye floated then
That was the sweet love I so long had sought.

{61}

TO H. S.

When I thy book, friend, open hastily,
Full many a cherish’d picture meets my view,
And many a golden image that I knew
In boyish dreams and days of infancy.
Proudly tow’rd heaven upsoaring, then I see
The pious dome, rotted by religion true,
I bear the sound of bell and organ too,
Love’s sweet lament at times addressing me.
Well see I, too, how o’er the dome they skip,
The nimble dwarfs, and with malicious joy
The beauteous flow’r- and carvèd- work destroy.
But though the oak of foliage we may strip,
And rob it of its fair and verdant grace,
When spring returns, fresh leaves it dons apace.

FRESCO-SONNETS TO CHRISTIAN S—.

1.

I take no notice of the blockheads tame
Who, seeming to be golden, are but sand;
I never offer to that rogue my hand
Who secretly would injure my good name;
I bow not to the harlots who proclaim
Boldly their infamy throughout the land;
And when in victor-cars the rabble band
Draw their vain idols, with them I ne’er came.
Well know I that the oak must fall indeed,
Whilst by the streamlet’s side the pliant reed
Stands in all winds and weathers, fearing not;
But say, what is the reed’s eventual lot?
What joy! As walking-stick it serves the dandy,
Or else for beating clothes they find it handy.

2.

Give me a mask, I’ll join the masquerade
As country clown, so that the rabble rot
Who in their proud disguises strut about
May not suppose me one of their vile trade.
Give me low manners, words on purpose made
To show vulgarity beyond all doubt;
All sparks of spirit I’ll with care put out
Wherewith dull fools coquet in accents staid.{62}
So will I dance then at the great mask’d ball,
By German knights, monks, kings surrounded too,
By Harlequin saluted, known to few.
With wooden swords they’ll strike me, one and all.
That is the joke. For if I show my face,
The rascals will be silenced in disgrace.

3.

I laugh at all the fools who at me gape,
And whom with prying goat-like face I see;
I laugh at every fox who knavishly
And idly snuffs me like a very grape;
I laugh at every vain pretentious ape,
Who a proud judge of genius claims to be;
I laugh at all the knaves who threaten me
With poisonous weapons whence there’s no escape.
For when the charming fancies joy once gave
Are wrested from us by the hands of fate,
And at our feet in thousand atoms cast,
And when our very heart is torn at last,
All torn and cut and pierced and desolate,
A fine shrill laugh we still have power to save.

4.

A strange and charming tale still haunts my mind,
Wherein a song the leading part assumes,
And in the song there lives and twines and blooms
A lovely specimen of womankind;
And in this maiden is a heart enshrined,
And yet no love that little heart illumes;
Her loveless frosty disposition dooms
Her life to suffer from her pride so blind.
Hear’st thou how in my head the tale comes back?
And how the song sounds solemnly and sad?
And how the maiden titters softly yet?
I only fear lest my poor head should crack.
Alas! it would indeed be far too bad,
If my unlucky reason were upset.

5.

At evening’s silent, melancholy hour,
Long buried songs around me take their place,
And burning tears course swiftly down my face,
And my old heart-wounds bleed with greater power.{63}
My love’s dear image like a beauteous flower
As in a magic glass again I trace;
In bodice red she sits and sews apace,
And silence reigns around her blissful bower.
But on a sudden springs she from her seat,
And cuts from her dear head a beauteous lock,
And gives it me—the very joy’s a shock.
The Evil One soon spoilt my rapture sweet:
The hair he twisted in a rope full strong,
And many a year has dragg’d me thus along.

6.

“When I a year ago again met thee,
“No kiss thou gav’st me in that moment blest;”—
Thus spake I, and my love a kiss impress’d
With rosy mouth upon my lips with glee.
With a sweet smile she from a myrtle tree
Hard by us pluck’d a twig, and said in jest:
“Take thou this twig, in fresh earth let it rest,
“And o’er it place a glass,”—then nodded she.
Twas long ago. The twig died in the pot.
’Tis many a year since she hath cross’d my sight;
Yet in my head that kiss still burneth hot.
Lately returning home, I sought the place
Where dwells my love. Before her house all night
I stood, and left when morning show’d its face.

7.

Of savage devils’-brats, my friend, beware,
But gentle angels’-brats more hearts will break;
Once such a one a sweet kiss bid me take,
But when I came, I felt sharp talons there.
Of black and ancient cats, my friend, take care,
But white young kittens are still more awake;
Once such a one my sweetheart did I make,—
My heart my sweetheart savagely did tear.
O darling brat! O maiden passing sweet!
How could thy clear eye e’er deceive me so?
How could thy paw e’er give me such a blow?
O my dear kitten’s paw so soft and neat!
Could I but press thee to my glowing lip!
And could my life-blood meanwhile cease to drip!

{64}

8.

Thou oft hast seen me boldly strive with those,—
Both spectacled old fop and painted dame,—
Who gladly would destroy my honest name,
And gladly see my last expiring throes.
Thou oft hast seen bow pedants round me close,
How fools with cap and bells my life defame,
How poisonous serpents gnaw my sinking frame,
Whilst from a thousand wounds my life-blood flows
But firm as any tower there stood thy form;
Thy head a lighthouse was amid the storm,
Thy faithful heart a haven was for me;
Though round that haven roars the raging main,
And few the ships the landing place that gain,
Once there, we slumber in security.

9.

Fain would I weep, but, ah, I cannot weep;
Fain would I upwards full of vigour spring
But cannot; to the earth I needs must cling,
Spurn’d by the reptiles that around me creep.
Fain would I near my beauteous mistress keep,
Near my bright light of life be hovering,
And in her dear sweet breath be revelling,
But cannot; for my heart with sorrow deep
Is breaking; from my broken heart doth flow
My burning blood, my strength within me fades
And darker, darker grows the world to me.
With secret awe I yearn unceasingly
For yonder misty realm, where silent shades
Their gentle loving arms around me throw.

{65}

LYRICAL INTERLUDE.

1822-23.

PROLOGUE.

There once lived a knight, who was mournful and bent,
His cheeks white as snow were, and hollow;
He totter’d and stagger’d wherever he went,
A vain vision attempting to follow.
He seem’d so clumsy and awkward and gauche,
That the flowers and girls, when they saw him approach,
Their merriment scarcely could swallow.
From his room’s darkest corner he often ne’er stirr’d,
Esteeming the sight of men shocking,
And extended his arms, without speaking a word,
As though some vain phantom were mocking.
But scarce had the hour of midnight drawn near,
When a wonderful singing and noise met his ear,
And he heard at the door a strange knocking.
His mistress then secretly enters the room,
In a dress made of foam of the ocean;
She glows like a rosebud, so sweet is her bloom,
Her jewell’d veil’s ever in motion;
Her golden locks play round her form slim and tall,
Their eyes meet with rapture, and straightway they fall
In each other’s arms with devotion.
In his loving embraces the knight holds her fast,
The dullard with passion is glowing;
He reddens, the dreamer awakens at last,
And bolder and bolder he’s growing.
But she grows more saucy and mocking instead,
And gently and softly she covers his head,
Her white jewell’d veil o’er him throwing.
To a watery palace of crystal bright
The knight on a sudden is taken;
His eyes are dazzled by radiant light,
By his wits he is well-nigh forsaken.
But the nymph holds him closely embraced by her side
The knight is the bridegroom, the nymph is the bride
While her maidens the lute’s notes awaken.{66}
So sweetly they play and so sweetly they sing,
In the dance they are moving so lightly,
That the knight before long finds his senses take wing,
He embraces his sweet one more tightly—
When all of a sudden the lights disappear,
And the knight’s once more sitting in solitude drear
In his poet’s low garret unsightly.

1.

’Twas in the beauteous month of May,
When all the flowers were springing,
That first within my bosom
I heard love’s echo ringing.
’Twas in the beauteous month of May,
When all the birds were singing,
That first I to my sweetheart
My vows of love was bringing.

2.

From out of my tears all burning
Many blooming flowerets break,
And all my sighs combining
A chorus of nightingales make.
And if thou dost love me, my darling,
To thee shall the flowerets belong;
Before thy window shall echo
The nightingale’s tuneful song.

3.

The rose and the lily, the dove and the sun,
I loved them all dearly once, every one;
I love them no longer, I love now alone
The small one, the neat one, the pure one, mine own.
Yes, she herself, the fount of all love,
Is the rose and the lily, the sun and the dove.

4.

When gazing on thy beauteous eyes
All thought of sorrow straightway flies;
But when I kiss thy mouth so sweet,
My cure is perfect and complete.{67}
When leaning on thy darling breast,
I feel with heavenly rapture blest;
But when thou sayest: “I love thee!”
I begin weeping bitterly.

5.

Thy face, so lovely and serene,
In vision I have lately seen;
So like an angel’s ’tis, and meek,
Though bitter grief has blanch’d thy cheek.
Thy lips alone, they still are red;
Death soon will kiss them pale and dead;
The heavenly light will soon be o’er
That from thine eyes is wont to pour.

6.

O lean thy beauteous cheek on mine,
That our tears together may mingle!
Against my bosom press thou thine,
That their flames may no longer be single
And when with the flame is mingled at last
The stream of our tears all burning,
And mine arm is lovingly round thee cast,—
I’ll die of my love’s sweet yearning.

7.

I’ll dip my spirit discreetly
In the cup of the lily down here;
The lily shall sing to me sweetly
A song of my mistress dear.
The song shall tremble and quiver,
Like that delicious kiss,
Of which her mouth was the giver
In a wondrous moment of bliss.

8.

The stars in yonder heavens
Immovably have stood
For thousands of years, regarding
Each other in sad loving mood.{68}
They speak a mysterious language
That’s rich and sweet to the ear;
Yet no philologist living
Can make its meaning clear.
But I’ve learnt it, and ne’er will forget it,
Whatever the time and place;
As my grammar I used for the purpose
My own dear mistress’s face.

9.

On song’s exulting pinion
I’ll bear thee, my sweetheart fair,
Where Ganges holds his dominion,—
The sweetest of spots know I there.
There a red blooming garden is lying
In the moonlight silent and clear;
The lotos flowers are sighing
For their sister so pretty and dear
The violets prattle and titter,
And gaze on the stars high above
The roses mysteriously twitter
Their fragrant stories of love.
The gazelles so gentle and clever
Skip lightly in frolicsome mood
And in the distance roars ever
The holy river’s loud flood.
And there, while joyously sinking
Beneath the palm by the stream,
And love and repose while drinking
Of blissful visions we’ll dream.

10.

The lotos flower is troubled
At the sun’s resplendent light
With sunken head and sadly
She dreamily waits for the night.
The moon appears as her wooer,
She wakes at his fond embrace;
For him she kindly uncovers
Her sweetly flowering face.{69}
She blooms and glows and glistens,
And mutely gazes above;
She weeps and exhales and trembles
With love and the sorrows of love.

11.

In the Rhine, that beautiful river,
The sacred town of Cologne,
With its vast cathedral, is ever
Full clearly mirror’d and shown.
A picture on golden leather
In that fair cathedral is seen;
On my life, so sad altogether,
It hath cast its rays serene.
The flowers and angels hover
Round our dear Lady there;
Her eyes, lips, cheeks, all over
Resemble my mistress fair.

12.

Thou lov’st me not, thou tellest me.—
It troubles me but slightly;
But when thy beauteous face I see,
No king’s heart beats more lightly.
Thou hatest me, thy red lips say
With well-pretended snarling;
But when sweet kisses they convey,
I’m comforted, my darling.

13.

Full lovingly thou must embrace me,
My mistress beauteous and sweet!
With pliant form interlace me,
And with thine arms and thy feet.
The fairest of snakes e’er created
With vigour encircles anon,
And clasps and twines round the elated
And happy Laocoon.

14.

Swear not at all, but only kiss!
All woman’s oaths I hold amiss;
Thy word is sweet, but sweeter far
The kisses that my guerdon are.{70}
These keep I, while thy words but seem
A passing cloud, or fragrant dream.
* * * *
Now then, my loved one, swear away!
I’ll credit all that thou dost say;
And when I sink upon thy breast,
I’ll think that I am truly blest;
I’ll think that, love, eternally
And even longer, thou’lt love me.

15.

Upon my mistress’s eyes so clear
I write the fairest cantatas;
Upon my mistress’s mouth sincere
I write the best of terzinas;
Upon my mistress’s cheeks so dear
I write the cleverest stanzas;
And had my mistress a heart, upon it
I soon would write a charming sonnet.

16.

The world’s an ass, the world can’t see,
And grows more stupid daily:
It says, my darling child, of thee,—
Thou livest far too gaily.
The world’s an ass, the world can’t see,
Thy character not knowing;
It knows not how sweet thy kisses be,
How rapturously glowing.

17.

Loved one—gladly would I know it,—
Art thou but a vision fair,
Such as in his brain the poet
Loves in summer to prepare?
No! such eyes of magic splendour,
Lips so rosy and so warm,
Such a child, so sweet and tender,
Never did the poet form.
Basilisks and vampires gory,
Dragons, monsters of the earth,
Suchlike evil beasts of story
In the poet’s fire have birth.{71}
But thyself, thy wiles insidious,
And thy face, so sweet and staid,
And thy kindly looks perfidious,—
These the poet never made.

18.

Gleams my love in beauty’s splendour,
Like the child of ocean foam;
As his bride my mistress tender
Is a stranger taking home.
Though ’tis treason, don’t abuse it,
Heart, thou much-enduring one!
Bear it, bear it, and excuse it,
What the beauteous fool hath done.

19.

I’ll not be angry, though my heart should break,
Evermore lost one! no complaint I’ll make.
Though thou may’st sparkle ’neath thy diamonds bright,
No ray can pierce thy heart’s unceasing night.
I’ve known it long. In vision saw I thee,
How night thy heart doth fill unceasingly,
And how the serpent at thy heart doth gnaw,—
How wretched, love, thou art, too well I saw.

20.

Thou’rt wretched, yes!—but no complaint I’ll make;—
My love, we both, alas, must wretched be!
Till death our poor afflicted hearts doth break,
My love, we both, alas, must wretched be!
I see the scorn that round thy mouth doth play,
I see thine eyes that glance so haughtily,
I see the pride that doth thy bosom sway,—
Yet thou art wretched, wretched e’en as I.
Grief lurks around thy mouth, unseen indeed,
With hidden tears thine eyes can scarcely see,
And secret wounds on thy proud bosom feed—
My love, we both, alas, must wretched be!

{72}

21.

The flutes and fiddles are sounding,
The trumpets ringing clear;
In the wedding dance is bounding
My heart’s own mistress dear.
The shawms and kettle-drums vying
In noisy chorus I hear;
But meanwhile good angels are sighing
And weeping many a tear.

22.

Thou scarcely could’st have forgotten it faster,
That I of thine heart so long was the master;
Thine heart so false, so small, and so sweet,
A sweeter and falser I never shall meet.
Thou now hast forgotten the love and disaster
That made my heart throb all the faster;
I know not if love was the greatest, or woe;
That both were great, full well I know.

23.

O if the tiny flowers
But knew of my wounded heart,
Their tears, like mine, in showers
Would fall, to cure the smart.
If knew the nightingales only
That I’m so mournful and sad,
They would cheer my misery lonely
With their notes so tuneful and glad.
If the golden stars high o’er us
But knew of my bitter woe,
They would speak words of comfort in chorus,
Descending hither below.
Not one of these can allay it,
One only knows of my smart;
’Tis she, I grieve to say it,
Who thus hath wounded my heart.

24.

O why have the roses lost their hue,
Sweet love, O tell me why?
Why mutely thus do the violets blue
In the verdant meadows sigh?{73}
O why doth the lark up high in the air
With a voice so mournful sing?
O why doth each fragrant floweret fair
Exhale like a poisonous thing?
O wherefore looks the sun to-day
On the fields, so full of gloom?
O why doth the earth appear so grey,
And dreary as a tomb?
Why feel I myself so mournful and weak,—
Sweet love, I put it to thee?
My own sweet darling, sweet love, O speak,—
O wherefore leavest thou me?

25.

For thine ear many tales they invented,
And loud complaints preferred;
But how my soul was tormented,
Of this they said not a word.
They prated of mischief and evil,
And mournfully shook their head;
They liken’d poor me to the devil,
And thou didst believe what they said.
But, O; the worst and the saddest,
Of this they nothing knew;
The saddest and the maddest
In my heart was hidden from view.

26.

The linden blossom’d, the nightingale sung,
The sun was laughing with radiance bright;
Thou kissed’st me then, while thine arm round me clung,
To thy heaving bosom thou pressed’st me tight.
The raven was screeching, the leaves fast fell,
The sun gazed cheerlessly down on the sight;
We coldly said to each other “Farewell!”
Thou politely didst make me a curtsey polite.

27.

We have felt for each other emotions soft,
And yet our tempers always were matching,
At “man and wife” we have play’d full oft,
And yet ne’er took to fighting and scratching.
We have shouted together, together been gay,
And tenderly kiss’d and fondled away.{74}
At last we play’d in forest and dell
At hide and seek, like sister and brother.
And managed to hide ourselves so well,
That never since then have we seen each other.

28.

I’ve no belief in the heavens
Of which the parsons rave;
In thine eyes believe I only,
In their heavenly light I lave.
I’ve no belief in the Maker
Of whom the parsons rave;
In thine heart believe I only,
No other God will I have.
I’ve no belief in the devil,
In hell or the pains of hell;
In thine eyes believe I only,
And thine evil heart as well.

29.

To me thou wert faithful and steady,
And madest for me supplication;
In my troubles and sad tribulation
Thy comfort always was ready.
Food and drink thou gav’st me in payment,
And plenty of money didst lend me,
And also a passport didst send me,
As well as some changes of raiment.
From heat and from coldness unpleasant
May heaven, my dear one, long guard thee,
And may it never reward thee
The kindness shown me at present!

30.

The earth had long been avaricious,
But May, when she came, gave with great prodigality,
And all things now smile with rapture delicious,
But I for laughter have no partiality.
The blue bells are ringing, their beauty displaying,
The birds, as in fables, talk sentimentality;
I take no pleasure in all they are saying,
And I am quite wretched in sober reality.{75}
All men I detest, and now cannot meet one,
Not even my friend, with the least cordiality,
And this all because my amiable sweet one
They “madam” entitle, with chilling formality.

31.

And when I so long, so long had delay’d,
In foreign lands had in reveries stay’d,
My loved one found it too long to wait,
And sew’d herself a wedding-dress straight,
And then embraced in her arms, willy-nilly,
As bridegroom, the youth in the world the most silly.
My loved one is so beauteous and soft,
Before me still hovers her image oft;
Her rosy cheeks, her violet eyes
That all the year round glow bright as the skies.
That I could fly from such charming attractions
Was the silliest far of my silliest actions.

32.

The lovely eyes of violet blue,
The beauteous cheeks of rosy hue,
The hands so like white lilies too,—
All these still sweetly blossom and bloom,
The heart alone is cold as the tomb.

33.

The earth is so fair, and the heavens so bright,
The breezes are breathing with soothing might
The blooming fields with flowers are dight,
In the morning dew all radiant with light,
All men are rejoicing that meet my sight—
My bed in the grave I fain would be pressing,
The corpse of my mistress dear caressing.

34.

When in the tomb, my mistress fair,
The chilly tomb, thou must hide thee.
I’ll soon descend to rejoin thee there,
And fondly nestle beside thee.
I wildly will press thee, embrace thee, and kiss
My pale, cold, fearful-to-see love!
I’ll tremble, weep, shout with rapturous bliss,
And soon be a corpse like thee, love.{76}
The dead will arise, when midnight is nigh,
And dance in airy troops lightly;
But we in the tomb will quietly lie,
Thine arms embracing me tightly.
The dead will arise, when the loud trump of doom
To bliss or to torment is calling;
But regardless of all, we’ll remain in the tomb,
Still clasp’d in embraces enthralling.

35.

A lonely fir tree is standing
On a northern barren height;
It sleeps, and the ice and snow-drift
Cast round it a garment of white.
It dreams of a slender palm-tree,
Which far in the Eastern land
Beside a precipice scorching
In silent sorrow doth stand.

36.

Fair, bright, golden constellation,
Seek my love’s far habitation;
Tell her that I still am true,
Sick at heart and palefaced too.

37.

(The head speaks.)
Ah, were I but the footstool e’en
On which my loved one’s foot doth rest,
I ne’er to grumble should be seen,
However hard I might be press’d.
(The heart speaks.)
Ah, were I but the cushion soft
Wherein her pins she’s wont to stick,
And ’twere her will to prick me oft,
I should rejoice at every prick.
(The song speaks.)
Ah, were I but the paper dear
Wherewith she’s wont her hair to curl,
I’d gently whisper in her ear
The thoughts that in me live and whirl.

{77}

38.

Since my darling one has left me,
Power of laughing is bereft me;
Blockheads fain would raise a joke,
But no laughter can provoke.
Since I’ve lost my darling one,
Power of weeping, too, is gone;
Though my heart with sorrow deep
Wellnigh breaks, I cannot weep.

39.

My little songs do I utter
From out of my great, great sorrow;
Some tinkling pinions they borrow,
And tow’rd her bosom they flutter.
They found it, and over it hover’d,
But soon return’d they, complaining,
And yet to tell me disdaining
What they in her bosom discover’d.

40.

Sweet darling, beloved by me solely,
The thoughts in my memory dwell
That once I possess’d thee wholly,
Thy soul and body as well.
Thy body, so young and tender,
I need, beyond all doubt;
Thy soul to the tomb I’ll surrender,
I’ve plenty of soul without.
I’ll cut my soul in sunder,
And half of it breathe into thee,
And when I embrace thee,—O wonder!—
One soul and body we’ll be.

41.

The blockheads, their holidays keeping,
Are walking through forest and plain;
They shout, and like kittens are leaping,
And hail sweet Nature again.
They gaze, with glances that glisten,
On each romantic thing;
With ears like asses they listen
To hear the sparrows sing.{78}
My chamber window to darken,
With black cloth I hang it by day;
To the signal my spirits straight hearken,
Day-visits they hasten to pay.
My olden love also draws nigh me,
From the realms of the dead she appears;
She, weeping, sits gently close by me,
And softens my bosom to tears.

42.

Many visions of times long vanish’d
Arise from out of their tomb,
And show me how once in thy presence
I lived in my life’s young bloom.
All day I mournfully totter’d
Through the streets, as though in a dream
The people gazed on me with wonder,
So silent and sad did I seem.
The night-time suited me better,
Deserted the streets were then,
And I and my shadow together
We wandered in silence again.
With footsteps echoing loudly
I wander’d over the bridge;
The moon with solemn look hail’d me
As she burst through the cloudy ridge.
I stood in front of thy dwelling,
And fondly gazed up on high;
I gazed up towards thy window,
My heart breathed many a sigh.
Well know I that thou from the window
Full often hast gazed below,
And in the moonlight hast seen me
Stand fix’d, the image of woe.

43.

A youth once loved a maiden,
Who loved another instead;
The other himself loved another,
And with the latter did wed.{79}
The maiden, in scornful anger,
Straight married the first of the men
Who happened to come across her,—
The youth was heart-broken then.
’Tis only an old, old story,
And yet it ever seems new;
The heart of him whom it pictures
Will soon be broken in two.

44.

Friendship, love, philosophers’ stone,—
These three things men value alone.
I, too, valued and sought them ever,
But, alas, discovered them never.

45.

On hearing the strains enthralling
That my loved one sang to me erst,
With torments fierce and appalling
My heart is ready to burst.
Impell’d by a gloomy yearning
I seek in the forest relief,
And there in tears hotly burning
I quench my anguish and grief.

46.

The child of a king in dream have I seen;
How tear-stain’d and pallid her face is,
As we quietly sit ’neath the linden green,
Held fast in each other’s embraces!
“Thy father’s throne is nothing to me,
Nor yet his sceptre all golden,
And diamond crown; for nothing but thee,
Sweet love, will I be beholden.”
“That may not be,” the maiden replied,
For I in my grave am lying,
And only by night can I be by thy side,
To thy loving caresses replying.”

47.

Sweet love, in fond converse together
In the light canoe sat we,
Still the night was, and calm was the weather,
As we skimm’d o’er the wide-spreading sea.{80}
The fair spirit-islands before us
In the glimmering moonlight lay;
Sweet tones came floating o’er us,
While the mists were dancing in play.
On danced they with merrier motion,
And sweeter still sounded the song;
But over the boundless ocean
We mournfully floated along.

48.

From older legends springing,
Appears a snow-white band
With joyous strains, and singing,
From some far magic-land,
Where flowers in glowing splendour
Pine in the evening sun,
And bridal glances tender
Cast sweetly every one;
Where all the trees, uniting
In chorus, shout below,
And bubbling brooks delighting
The ear, like music flow;
And love-songs fierce and burning
Unheard of bliss impart,
Till sweet and wondrous yearning
Befools the throbbing heart.
Ah, could I thither travel,
And ease my aching breast,
And all my grief unravel,
And there be free and blest!
That land, whence care and trouble
Are banish’d, that in dreams
Oft see I, like a bubble
Dissolves, when morning beams.

49.

I’ve loved thee long, and I love thee still
And e’en if the world were shatter’d,
My glowing love would glisten and thrill,
Though widely earth’s ruins were scatter’d.
. . . . . . . . . .
{81} And when I thus have loved thee so well
Till the hour of death has sounded,
I’ll take with me e’en to my tomb’s dark cell
My love-pangs fierce and unbounded.

50.

In the glimmering summer morning
I pace the garden alone;
The flowers are whisp’ring and speaking,
But silently wander I on.
The flowers are whisp’ring and speaking,
My form with compassion they scan:
O pray be kind to our sister,
Thou mournful and pale-faced man!

51.

Her dark attire thus wearing
My love appears to my sight
Like a tale of sorrow despairing
That’s told in the long summer night:
“In the magical garden there wander
“Two lovers mute and alone;
“Sweet sing the nightingales yonder,
“The moonbeams are over them thrown.
“Like a statue the maiden stands mildly,
“At her feet the faithful knight lies;
“The forest giant comes wildly,
“The sorrowing maiden soon flies.
“Soon the knight on the ground lies all gory,
“The giant goes home at his ease—”
And when I am buried, the story
Is ended as soon as you please.

52.

They often have vex’d me sadly
And worried me early and late;
While some with their love have annoy’d me,
The others pursued me with hate.
My bread they have utterly poison’d,
And poison’d my cup too of late;
While some with their love have annoy’d me,
The others pursued me with hate.{82}
But she who more than all others
Has vex’d me, and worried, and chafed,
She only with hate ne’er pursued me,
She only her love ne’er vouchsafed.

53.

There lies the glow of summer
Upon thy cheek confess’d,
And in thine heart cold winter
Has made its place of rest.
All this will soon be alter’d,
My dearest love and best,
The winter on thy cheek be,
The summer in thy breast!

54.

When two fond lovers are parted,
They give each other the hand,
To weep and to sigh beginning,
And losing all self-command.
But not one single tear wept we,
No Ah! or Alas! did we sigh;
Our tears and our sighs both together
Too surely came by-and-by.

55.

They sat round the tea-table drinking
And speaking of love a great deal;
The men of æsthetics were thinking,
The ladies more prone were to feel.
“All love ought to be but platonical”
The wither’d old counsellor said;
His wife by a smile quite ironical
Rejoin’d, and then sighed “Ah!” instead.
Said the canon with visage dejected:
“Love ne’er should be suffered to go
“Too far, or the health is affected;”
The maiden then simper’d: “How so?”
The Countess her sad feelings vented,
Said “Love is a passion, I’m sure,”
And then to the Baron presented
His cup with politeness demure.{83}
A place was still empty at table;
My darling, ’twas thou wert away;
Thou hadst been so especially able
The tale of thy love, sweet, to say.

56.

My songs with poison are tainted,
But how could it otherwise be?
My blossoming life thou hast poison’d,
And made it hateful to me.
My songs with poison are tainted,
But how could it otherwise be?
In my heart many serpents I carry,
And thee too, my dearest love, thee.

57.

I dreamt once more the vision of yore:
The time was a fair May even,
We sat ’neath the linden, and there we swore
To be faithful, in presence of heaven.
And once and again we plighted our troth,
And titter’d, caress’d, kiss’d so dearly;
And lest I should fail to remember my oath,
My hand thou then bittest severely.
O sweetest love, with the eyes so bright,
O sweet one, so fair and so biteful!
The swearing was doubtless all proper and right
But the biting was rather too spiteful!

58.

I stand on the brow of the mountain,
And sentimentally sigh.
“O were I only a bird now!”
I many a thousand times cry.
O were I only a swallow,
My darling, to thee would I fly,
And soon a nest would I build me,
Thy lattice window hard by.
O were I a nightingale only,
I would fly, my darling, to thee,
And sing my sweet songs by night-time
Perch’d high in the green linden tree.{84}
O were I only a bullfinch,
I would fly straight into thy heart;
To the bullfinch thou always wert kindly,
And healest the bullfinch’s smart.[7]

59.

My carriage is traversing slowly
The greenwood merry and bright,
Through flowering valleys, like magic
Illumed by the sun’s glowing light.
I’m sitting and thinking and dreaming,
And muse on my mistress dear;
When, nodding their heads at the window,
Three shadowy figures appear.
They skip and they make wry grimaces,
So scoffing and yet so shy;
And twirling mist-like together,
They titter and haste swiftly by.

60.

In vision I lately was weeping,
I dreamt thou wert laid in thy grave;
I awoke, and the tears unceasing
My cheeks continued to lave.
In vision I lately was weeping,
I dreamt I was left, love, by thee;
I awoke, and weeping continued
Both long and bitterly.
In vision I lately was weeping,
I dreamt thou wert kind as of yore;
I awoke, and my tears in torrents
Continued to flow as before.

61.

All night in vision behold I thee,
And see thee greeting me kindly;
And loudly weeping then throw I me
Before thy sweet feet blindly.{85}
With sorrowing looks thou stand’st in my view,
Thy fair locks mournfully shaking;
While teardrops bright of pearly hue
From thy dear eyes are breaking.
A gentle word thou dost secretly say,
And givest a cypress-wreath sweetly;
I awake, and the wreath has vanish’d away,
And the word is forgotten completely.

62.

’tis autumn, the night’s dark and gloomy
With rain and tempest above;
Where tarries,—O tell it unto me,—
My poor and sorrowing love?
By the window I see her reclining,
In her chamber lonely and drear,
And out in the night, sadly pining,
She looks with many a tear.

63.

The trees in the autumn wind rustle,
The night is humid and cold;
I ride all alone in the forest,
And round me my grey cloak I fold.
And as I am riding, before me
My thoughts unrestrainedly roam;
They lightly and airily bear me
To my own dear mistress’s home.
The dogs are barking, the servants
With glittering torches appear;
I climb up the winding staircase,
My spurs ring loudly and clear.
In her bright-lighted tapestry chamber,
So full of magical charms,
My own sweet darling awaits me,
I hasten into her arms.
The wind in the leaves is sighing,
The oak thus whispers to me:
“What means, thou foolish young horseman,
“Thy foolish reverie?”{86}

64.

A glittering star is falling
From its shining home in the air;
The star of love ’tis surely
That I see falling there.
The blossoms and leaves in plenty
From the apple tree fall each day;
The merry breezes approach them,
And with them merrily play.
The swan in the pool is singing,
And up and down doth he steer,
And, singing gently ever,
Dips under the water clear.
All now is silent and darksome,
The leaves and blossoms decay,
The star has crumbled and vanish’d,
The song of the swan died away.

65.

The Dream-God brought me to a castle vast,
Where magic fragrance reign’d and lights were gleaming,
And through its mazy-winding chambers pass’d
A chequer’d throng, still onward, onward streaming.
The pale crowd seek the exit-portal fast,
Wringing their hands, and full of terror screaming,
And knights and maidens mingle in the throng,
And I myself am with them borne along.
But suddenly I stand alone, for, lo,
The crowd hath vanish’d and from sight departed;
I wander on, and through the chambers go,
All strangely winding, silent and deserted;
My foot is leaden, and I scarcely know
How to escape, thus sadden’d and faint-hearted.
At length the farthest portal I descry,
And seek to pass—great heavens, what meets mine eye!
It was my love, who at the door did stand,
Grief on her lips, her brow in tribulation.
I sought to fly,—she beckon’d with her hand,
Whether to warn me, or in indignation;{87}
Yet gleam’d her eye like some sweet glowing brand,
Setting my heart and brain in conflagration.
And as she gazed with looks of passion deep,
Blended with sternness, I awoke from sleep.

66.

The midnight was cold, in plaintive mood
I wander’d mournfully through the wood;
I shook the trees from out of their sleep,
They shook their heads with pity deep.

67.

Beneath the crossway buried,
The suicide lies here,
Where grows a charming blue flow’ret,
The culprit-flower so dear.
I stood by the crossway sighing,
The night was chilly and drear,
While slowly moved in the moonlight
The culprit-flower so dear.

68.

Wheresoe’er I go, there darkles
Round me gloom and utter night,
Now that there no longer sparkles
On me, love, thine eyes’ sweet light.
Quench’d are all the golden blisses
That love’s star upon me smil’d;
’Neath my feet the dread abyss is,—
Night primeval, take thy child!

69.

Night lay upon mine eyelids,
Upon my mouth lay lead;
I in my grave was lying,
With frozen heart and head.
How long it was I know not
That I in slumber lay;
I woke and heard a knocking
Upon my grave one day.{88}
“Wilt thou not rise up, Henry?
“The Judgment Day is this,
“The dead have all arisen,
“To taste of endless bliss.”
I cannot rise, my darling,
For I have lost my sight;
Mine eyes, through very weeping,
Are veil’d in darkest night.
“I’ll kiss away the darkness,
“My Henry, from thine eyes;
“The angels shalt thou see then,
“The glory of the skies.”
I cannot rise, my darling,
The wound is bleeding yet,
Made by thee in my bosom
With one sharp word and threat.
“My hand all gently, Henry,
“I’ll lay upon thy heart;
“It then will bleed no longer,
“And heal’d will be the smart.”
I cannot rise, my darling,
My head still bleeds amain!
’Twas there the bullet enter’d,
When thou wert from me ta’en.
“With my long tresses, Henry,
“I’ll stanch the bleeding wound,
“And drive the blood-stream backwards,
“And make thy head thus sound.”
So gently, sweetly pray’d she,
I could not spurn her prayer;
I sought to rise and hasten
To join my mistress fair.
Then all my wounds ’gan bleeding,
Then, wildly rushing, broke
From head and breast the bloodstream,
And lo!—from sleep I woke.

{89}

70.

The numbers old and evil,
The dreams so harrowing,
Let’s bury all together,—
A mighty coffin bring!
I’ll place there much, but say not
What ’tis, till all is done;
The coffin must be larger
Than Heidelberg’s vast tun.
And also bring a death-bier,
Of boards full stout and sound;
They also must be longer
Than Mayence bridge renown’d.
And also bring twelve giants
Whose strength of limb excels
Saint Christopher’s, whose shrine in
Cologne Cathedral dwells.
The coffin they must carry,
And sink beneath the wave;
For such a mighty coffin
Must have a mighty grave.
Why was the coffin, tell me,
So great and hard to move?
I in it placed my sorrows,
And in it placed my love.

THE GODS’ TWILIGHT.

Fair May has come with her bright golden radiance
And silken gales and fragrant spicy odours,
And kindly lures us with her snowy blossoms,
And from a thousand blue-eyed violets greets us,
And spreads abroad her flowery verdant carpet,
With morning dew and sunshine interwoven,
And summons all her favourite human children.
At her first call the bashful people come;
The men in haste put on their nankeen breeches,
And Sunday coats with golden glassy buttons;
The women don the white of innocence,
The youths take care to curl their spring-mustachios,
The maidens bid their bosoms softly heave;{90}
The city poets cram into their pockets
Paper, lead-pencil, and lorgnette; and gaily
The eddying moving crowd draw near the gateway,
And lie at ease on the green turf beyond,
Amazed to see how much the trees have sprouted,—
Play with the tender colour’d flowerets fair,
List to the song of merry birds above them,
And shout exulting tow’rds the vault of heaven.
To me came also May, and three times knock’d she
Against my door and cried: “Behold sweet May!
“Thou palefaced dreamer, come, I fain would kiss thee!”
But I my door kept bolted, and I cried:
“In vain thou seek’st to tempt me, evil stranger.
“I long have seen thee through, I’ve seen through also
“The fabric of the world, and seen too much,
“And much too deep, and fled is all my pleasure,
“And endless torments quiver in my heart.
“I see through all the stony hard outsides
“Of human houses and of human bosoms,
“And see in both deceit and woe and falsehood.
“I’ve learnt to read the thoughts on every face,—
“All evil! In the maiden’s shamefaced blushes
“I see the trembling of a secret lust;
“On the inspired and haughty head of youth
“I see the laughing chequer’d fool’s cap jingling;
“And caric’tures alone and sickly shadows
“I see upon this earth, and live in doubt
“Whether a madhouse ’tis, or hospital.
“The old earth’s crust I see through but too plainly
“As though it were of crystal,—see the horrors
“Which May is vainly striving to conceal
“With pleasing verdure. There I see the dead;
“They lie beneath, in their small coffins prison’d,
“With hands together folded, eyes wide open,
“White is their garment, white their face as well,
“And yellow worms from out their lips are crawling.
“I see the son with his loved mistress sitting
“And toying with her on his father’s grave.
“Derisive songs the nightingales are singing,
“The gentle meadow flow’rets laugh with malice,
“And the dead father moveth in his grave,
“While the old mother-earth with pain doth shudder.”{91}
O thou poor earth, thy sorrows know I well!
I see the glow that in thy breast is heaving,
Thy thousand veins I see all bleeding freely,
And see thy gaping wounds all, all torn open,
While flames and smoke and blood stream wildly forth.
I see thy proud defiant giant-children,
Primeval monsters, from dark gulfs arising
And swinging ruddy torches in their hands.
Their iron scaling-ladders they advance,
And wildly rush to storm the forts of heaven,
And swarthy dwarfs climb after them; with crackling
Each golden star on high like dust is scatter’d.
With daring hand they tear the golden curtain
From God’s own tent; the blessèd troops of angels
Fall headlong down with howling at the sight.
The pale God sits upon his awful throne,
Tears from his head his crown, and tears his hair.—
Still onward, onward press the savage crew,
The giants fiercely hurl their blazing torches
Into the realms of heaven, the dwarfs strike wildly
With flaming scourges on the angels’ backs,
Who twist and writhe in ecstasy of anguish,
And by the hair are seized and whirl’d away.
And my own angel likewise see I there,
With his blond locks, his sweet expressive features,
With everlasting love around his mouth,
And with beatitude in his blue eyes.
A fearful hideous swarthy goblin comes,
Tears him from off the ground, my poor pale angel,
Grins as he ogles his fair noble limbs,
And clasps him firmly in his soft embraces,—
A yell re-echoes through the universe,
The pillars crash, and earth and heaven are hurl’d
Headlong together, and old night is lord.

RATCLIFF.[8]

The Dream-God brought me to a landscape fair
Where weeping willows nodded me a welcome
With their long verdant arms, and where the flowers
Gazed on me mutely with wise sisters’ eyes,{92}
Where the birds’ twittering resounded sweetly,
Where the dogs’ barking seem’d to me familiar,
And voices kindly greeted me, and figures,
Like an old friend, and yet where everything
Appear’d so strange, beyond description strange.
Before a pretty country-house I stood,
My bosom in me moving, but my head
All peaceful, and the dust with calmness shook I
From off my travelling garments; shrilly sounded
The bell I rang, and then the door was open’d.
Inside were men and women, many faces
To me well known. Still sorrow lay on all,
And secret fearful grief. With strange emotion,
Wellnigh with looks of pity, on me gazed they
Till my own soul with terror was pervaded,
As though foreboding some unknown misfortune.
Old Margaret I straightway recognized,
Gazed on her fixedly, but yet she spake not.
“Where is Maria?” ask’d I, yet she spake not,
But softly seized my hand, and led me on
Through many a long and brightly-lighted chamber,
Where splendour, pomp, and deathlike silence reign’d
And to a darksome room at length she brought me,
And, with her face averted from me, pointed
Toward the form that sat upon the sofa.
“Art thou Maria?” ask’d I. Inwardly
I was myself astounded at the firmness
With which I spoke. Like stone and hollow
Sounded a voice: “That is the name they call me.”
A piercing agony straight froze me through,
For that cold hollow tone, alas, was yet
The once enchanting voice of my Maria!
And yonder woman in pale lilac dress,
In negligent attire, with unveil’d bosom,
With glassy staring eyes, like leather seeming
The muscles of the cheeks of her white face,—
Alas, that woman once was the most lovely,
The blooming, pleasing, sweet and kind Maria!
“Your travels have been long” she said aloud
In cold, unpleasing, but familiar accents,—
“You look no longer languishing, my friend,
“You’re well in health, your loins and calves elastic.{93}
“Show your solidity.” A silly smile
Play’d the while round her yellow, pallid mouth.
In my confusion utter’d I these accents:
“I’ve been inform’d that thou art married now?”
“Ah yes!” she carelessly replied with laughing:
“I have a stick of wood that’s cover’d over
“With leather, call’d a husband. Still, for all that,
“Wood is but wood!” And then she laugh’d perversely
Till chilling anguish through my spirit ran,
And doubt upon me seized:—are those the modest,
The flowery-modest lips of my Maria?
But presently she rose, took quickly up
From off the chair her cashmere shawl, and threw it
Around her neck, my arm took hold of then,
Drew me away, and through the open housedoor,
And led me on through thicket, field, and meadow.
The sun’s red glowing disk already downward
Was hast’ning, and its purple rays were beaming
Over the trees and flowers, and o’er the river
That flow’d majestically in the distance.
“See’st thou the large and golden eye that’s floating
“In the blue water?” cried Maria quickly.
“Hush, thou poor creature!” said I, as I spied
In the dim twilight a strange wondrous motion.
Figures of mist arose from out the plain,
And with white tender arms embraced each other;
The violets eyed each other tenderly,
The lily cups with yearning bent together;
A loving glow in every rose was gleaming,
The pinks would fain in their own breath be kindled,
In blissful odours revell’d every flower,
And every one wept silent tears of rapture,
And all exulting shouted: Love! Love! Love!
The butterflies were fluttering, and the shining
Gold beetles humm’d their gentle fairy songs,
The winds of evening whisper’d, and the oaks
All rustled, and the nightingale sang sweetly;
And amid all the whispering, rustling, singing,
Prated away, with thin cold soundless voice,
The faded woman hanging on my arm:
“I know your nightly longing for the castle;
“Every long shadow is a simpleton,{94}
“That nods and signs precisely as one wishes;
“The blue coat is an angel; but the red coat
“With his drawn sword, is very hostile to you.”
And many other things in this strange fashion
Continued she to say, till, tired at length,
She sat down with me on the mossy bank
That stands beneath the ancient noble oak-tree.
Together there we sat, both sad and silent,
And gazed upon each other, growing sadder.
The oak, as with a dying sigh, was murmuring;
Deep-grieving, sang the nightingale down on us.
But through the leaves a ruddy light was piercing,
And flicker’d round Maria’s pallid face,
And lured a glow from out her rigid eyes,
Until with her old darling voice thus spoke she:
“How knewest thou that I am so unhappy?
“I read it lately in thy strange wild numbers.”
An ice-cold feeling pierced my breast, I shudder’d
At my own mad delirium, which the future
Saw through, my brain grew giddy with alarm,
And through sheer terror I awoke from sleep.

DONNA CLARA.

In the evening-shaded garden
Rambles the Alcalde’s daughter;
Kettle-drums and trumpets loudly
Echo from the lofty castle.
“Wearisome I find the dances,
“And the honied words of flatt’ry,
“And the knights, who so gallantly
“Tell me I the sun resemble.
“Everything is hateful to me
“Since I by the beaming moonlight
“Saw the Knight whose lute allured me
“To the window every evening.
“As he stood, so slim, but daring,
“And his eyes shot lightning glances
“From his pale and noble features,
“Truly he Saint George resembled.”{95}
In this manner Donna Clara
Thought, and on the ground then looked she;
When she raised her eyes, the handsome
Unknown Knight was standing by her.
Pressing hands with loving whispers
Wander they beneath the moonlight,
And the zephyr gently woos them,
Wondrously the roses greet them.
Wondrously the roses greet them,
Like love’s messengers all glowing.—
“But, my loved one, prythee tell me
“Why so suddenly thou redden’st?”
Twas the flies that stung me, dearest,
“And the flies are, all the summer,
“Quite as much detested by me
“As the long-nosed Jewish fellows.”
“Never mind the flies and Jews, dear,”
Said the Knight, with fond caresses.
From the almond-trees are falling
Thousand white and fleecy blossoms.
Thousand white and fleecy blossoms
Their sweet fragrance shed around them.
“But, my loved one, prythee tell me
“Is thy heart devoted to me?”
“Yes, I truly love thee, dearest,
“And I swear it by the Saviour
“Whom the God-detested Jews erst
“Wickedly and vilely murder’d.”
“Never mind the Jews and Saviour,”
Said the Knight, with fond caresses.
In the distance snow-white lilies
Dreamily, light-bathed, are bending.
Bathed in light the snow-white lilies
Gaze upon the stars above them:
“But, my loved one, prythee tell me
“Hast thou not a false oath taken?”
“Falsehood is not in me, dearest,
“Since within my breast there flows not
“E’en one single drop of Moor’s blood,
“Or of dirty Jew’s blood either.”{96}
“Never mind the Moors and Jews, dear,”
Said the Knight, with fond caresses;
And he to a myrtle bower
Leads the fair Alcalde’s daughter.
With the nets of love so tender,
He hath secretly enclosed her!
Short their words and long their kisses,
And their hearts are overflowing.
Like a wedding-song all-melting
Sings the nightingale, the dear one;
Glowworms on the ground are moving,
As if in the torch-dance circling.
Silence reigns within the bower,
Nought is heard except the stealthy
Whispers of the cunning myrtles,
And the breathing of the flowerets.
But soon kettle-drums and trumpets
Echo from the lofty castle,
And, awakening, Clara quickly
From the Knight’s arm frees her person.
“Hark, they’re calling me, my dearest,
Yet before we part, thou need’st must
Thy dear name to me discover
Which thou hast so long concealèd.”
And the Knight, with radiant smiling,
Kiss’d the fingers of his Donna,
Kiss’d her lips and kiss’d her forehead,
And at last these words he uttered:
“I, Señora, I, your loved one,
Am the son of the much honour’d
Great and learned scribe, the Rabbi
Israel of Saragossa.”

ALMANSOR.

1.

In fair Cordova’s cathedral,
Stand the columns, thirteen hundred,—
Thirteen hundred giant-columns
Bear the mighty dome in safety.{97}
And on dome and walls and columns
From the very top to bottom
The Koran’s Arabian proverbs
Twine in wise and flowery fashion.
Moorish Kings erected whilome
This vast house to Allah’s glory,
Yet in many parts ’tis alter’d
In the darksome whirl of ages.
On the turret where the watchman
Summon’d unto prayer the people,
Now the Christian bell is sounding
With its melancholy murmur.
On the steps whereon the faithful
Used to sing the Prophet’s sayings,
Now baldpated priests exhibit
All the mass’s trivial wonders.
How they twirl before the colour’d
Puppets, full of antic capers,
Midst the incense smoke and ringing,
While the senseless tapers sparkle!
In fair Cordova’s cathedral
Stands Almansor ben Abdullah,
Viewing silently the columns,
And these words in silence murmuring:
“O ye columns, strong, gigantic,
“Once adorn’d in Allah’s glory,
“Now must ye pay humble homage
“To this Christendom detested.
“To the times have ye submitted,
“And ye bear the burden calmly;
“Still more reason for the weaker
“To be patient all the sooner.”
And Almansor ben Abdullah
Bent his head with face unruffled
O’er the font so decorated
In fair Cordova’s cathedral.

{98}

2.

The cathedral left he quickly,
On his wild steed speeding onward,
While his moist locks and the feathers
In his hat the wind is moving.
On the road to Alcolea,
By the side of Guadalquivir,
Where the snowy almond blossoms,
And the fragrant golden orange,
Thither bastes the merry rider,
Piping, singing, laughing gaily,
And the birds all swell the chorus,
And the torrent’s noisy waters.
In the fort at Alcolea
Dwelleth Clara de Alvares;
In Navarre her sire is fighting,
And she revels in her freedom.
And afar Almansor heareth
Sounds of kettle-drums and trumpets,
And the castle lights beholds he
Glittering through the trees’ dark shadows.
In the fort at Alcolea
Dance twelve gaily trick’d-out ladies
With twelve knights attired as gaily,
But Almansor’s the best dancer.
As if wing’d by merry fancies,
Round about the hall he flutters,
Knowing how to all the ladies
To address sweet flattering speeches.
Isabella’s lovely hands he
Kisses quickly, and then leaves her,
And before Elvira stands he,
Looking in her face so archly.
He in turns assures each lady
That he heartily adores her;
“On the true faith of a Christian”
Swears he thirty times that evening.

{99}

3.

In the fort at Alcolea
Merriment and noise have ceased now
Knights and ladies all have vanish’d,
And the lights are all extinguish’d.
Donna Clara and Almansor
In the hall above still linger,
And one single lamp is throwing
On them both its feeble lustre.
On the seat the lady’s sitting,
And the knight upon the footstool,
And his head, by sleep o’erpower’d,
On her darling knees is resting.
From a golden flask some rose-oil
Pours the lady, sadly musing,
On Almansor’s dark-brown tresses,—
From his inmost bosom sighs he.
With her soft lips then the lady
Gives a sweet kiss, sadly musing,
On Almansor’s dark-brown tresses,—
And his brow is clouded over.
From her light eyes tears in torrents
Weeps the lady, sadly musing,
On Almansor’s dark-brown tresses,—
And his lips begin to quiver.
And he dreams he’s once more standing
With his head bent down and weeping
In fair Cordova’s cathedral,
Many gloomy voices hearing.
All the lofty giant-columns
Hears he murmuring full of anger,—
That no longer will they bear it,
And they totter and they tremble.
And they wildly fall together,
Pale turn all the priests and people,
Crashing falls the dome upon them,
And the Christian gods wail loudly.

{100}

THE PILGRIMAGE TO KEVLAAR

1.

The mother stood by the window,
The son in bed lay he.
“Wilt thou not rise up, William,
“The fair procession to see?”—
“I am so ill, my mother,
“I neither see nor hear;
“I think of my poor dead Gretchen,
“My heart is breaking near.”
“Arise, let’s go to Kevlaar,
“Take book and rosary too;
“The mother of God will heal thee,
“And cure thy sick heart anew.”
In church-like tones they are singing,
The banners flutter on high;
At Cologne on the Rhine this happens,
The proud procession moves by.
The crowd the mother follows,
Her son she leadeth now,
And both of them sing in chorus:
“O Mary, blessed be thou!”

2.

The mother of God at Kevlaar
Her best dress wears to-day;
Full much hath she to accomplish,
So great the sick folks’ array.
The sick folk with them are bringing,
As offerings fitting and meet,
Strange limbs of wax all fashion’d,
Yes, waxen hands and feet.
And he who a wax hand offers,
Finds cured in his hand the wound,
And he who a wax foot proffers,
Straight finds his foot grow sound.
To Kevlaar went many on crutches
Who now on the tight rope skip,
And many a palsied finger
O’er the viol doth merrily trip.{101}
The mother took a waxlight,
And out of it fashion’d a heart:
“My son, take that to God’s mother,
“And she will cure thy smart.”
The son took sighing the wax-heart,
Went with sighs to the shrine so blest,
The tears burst forth from his eyelids,
The words burst forth from his breast:
“Thou highly-favour’d blest one!
“Thou pure and godlike maid!
“Thou mighty queen of heaven,
“To thee my woes be display’d!
“I with my mother was dwelling
“In yonder town of Cologne,
“The town that many a hundred
“Fair churches and chapels doth own.
“And near us there dwelt my Gretchen,
“Who, alas! is dead to-day;
“O, Mary, I bring thee a wax-heart,
“My heart’s wounds cure, I pray.
“My sick heart cure, O cure thou,
“And early and late my vow
“I’ll pay, and sing with devotion:
O Mary, blessed be thou!

3.

The poor sick son and his mother
In their little chamber slept,
The mother of God to their chamber
All lightly, lightly crept.
She bent herself over the sick one,
Her hand with action light
Upon his heart placed softly,
Smiled sweetly and vanish’d from sight.
The mother saw all in her vision,
Saw this and saw much more;
From out of her slumber woke she,
The hounds were baying full sore.{102}
Her son was lying before her,
And dead her son he lay,
While over his pale cheeks gently
The light of morning did play.
Her hands the mother folded,
She felt she knew not how;
With meekness sang she and softly:
“O Mary, blessed be thou!”

THE DREAM.

(From Salon.)

A vision I dreamt of a lovely child.
She wore her hair in tresses;
In the blue nights of summer so calm and mild
We sat in the greenwood’s recesses.
In mutual rapture and torture we vied,
We loved and exchanged loving kisses;
The yellow stars in the heavens all sigh’d
And seem’d to envy our blisses.
I now am awake, and around me gaze
In the darkness, alone and despairing;
The stars in the heavens are shedding their rays
In silence and all-uncaring.

NEW POEMS.

1. SERAPHINA.

1.

When at evening in the forest,
In the dreamlike wood I rove,
Ever doth thy slender figure
Close beside me softly move.
See I not thy gentle features?
Is it not thy veil that stirs?
Can it be the moonlight only
Breaking through the gloomy firs?
Can it be mine own tears only
That I hear all-lightly flow?
Or my loved one, dost thou really
Close beside me weeping go?

{103}

2.

O’er the silent strand of ocean
Night appears in gloomy splendour
From the clouds the moon is breaking,
As the waves these whispers send her
“Yonder mortal, is he foolish,
“Or is he by love tormented,
“That he looks so sad, yet joyous,
“So distress’d, yet so contented?”
But the moon, with smiles replying,
Loudly said: “Full well I know it;
“He is both in love and foolish,
“And moreover is a poet.”

3.

’Tis surely a snowwhite seamew
That I see fluttering there
Just over the darksome billows;
The moon stands high in the air.
The shark and the ray snap fiercely
From out of the wave, and stare;
The seamew is rising and falling,
The moon stands high in the air.
O dear and wandering spirit,
So sad and full of despair!
Too near art thou to the water,
The moon stands high in the air.

4.

I knew that thou didst love me,
I knew it long, dear maid;
Yet when thou didst confess it
I felt full sore afraid.
I clamber’d up the mountain
With loud exulting song,
At sunset rambled weeping
The ocean shore along.
The sun my heart resembleth,
So flaming to the sight,
And in a loving ocean
It setteth, great and bright.

{104}

5.

How curiously the seamew
Looks over at us, dear,
Because against thy lips I
So firmly press my ear!
She maybe would discover
What from thy mouth did flow,—
If words alone or kisses
Thou in my ear didst throw.
O could I but decipher
What ’tis that fills my mind!
The words are with the kisses
So wondrously combined.

6.

As timid as the roe she fled,
And with its fleetness vying;
She clamber’d on from crag to crag
Her hair behind her flying.
Where to the sea the cliffs descend,
At length I caught the rover;
And gently there with gentle words
Her coy heart soon won over.
High as the heavens we sat, both fill’d
With heavenly blest emotion;
Beneath us by degrees the sun
Sank in the dark deep ocean.
In the dark sea beneath us far
The beauteous sun sank proudly;
The billows with impetuous joy
Were meanwhile roaring loudly.
Weep not, the sun in yonder waves
Hath not for ever perish’d,
But lieth hidden in my heart,
Where all its glow is cherish’d.

7.

Upon this rock we build the Church
Which (type of our to-morrow)
Proclaims the third New Testament,
And ended is our sorrow.{105}
The twofold nature that so long
Deceived us, is abolish’d;
Our olden fierce corporeal pangs
Are now at length demolish’d.
Hear’st thou the God in yon dark sea?
He speaks with thousand voices;
See’st thou how overhead God’s sky
With thousand lights rejoices?
Almighty God is in the light,
As in the dark abysses,
And everything there is, is God,
He is in all our kisses.

8.

Gray night broodeth o’er the ocean,
And the tiny stars are sparkling;
Long protracted voices oft-times
Sound from out the billows darkling.
There the aged north wind sporteth
With the glassy waves of ocean,
Which like organ pipes are skipping
With a never-ceasing motion.
Partly heathenish, partly churchlike,
Strangely doth this music move us,
As it rises boldly upwards,
Gladdening e’en the stars above us.
And the stars, still larger growing,
With a radiant joy are gleaming,
And at length around the heavens
Roam, with sunlike lustre beaming
To far-reaching strains of music
They revolve in madden’d legions
Sunny nightingales are circling
In those fair and blissful regions.
With a mighty roar and crashing,
Sea and heaven alike are singing,
And I feel a giant-rapture
Wildly through my bosom ringing

{106}

9.

Shadowy love and shadowy kisses,
Shadowy life, how wondrous strange!
Fool, dost think, then, that all this is
Ever true and free from change?
Like an empty dream hath vanish’d
All we loved with love so deep;
Memory from the heart is banish’d,
And the eyes are closed in sleep.

10.

The maid stood by the ocean,
And long and deep sigh’d she
With heartfelt sad emotion,
The setting sun to see.
Sweet maiden, why this fretting?
An olden trick is here;
Although before us setting,
He rises in our rear.

11.

With sails all black my ship sails on
Far over the raging sea;
Thou know’st full well how sad am I,
And yet tormentest me.
Thy heart is faithless as the wind,
And flutters ceaselessly;
With sails all black my ship sails on
Far over the raging sea.

12.

Though shamefully thou didst entreat me,
To no man would I e’er unfold it,
But travell’d far over the billows,
And unto the fishes I told it.
I’ve left thee thy good reputation
With earth and the beings upon her,
But every depth of the ocean
Knows fully thy tale of dishonour.

{107}

13.

The roaring waves are dashing
High on the strand;
They’re swelling and they’re crashing
Over the sand.
They come in noisy fashion
Unceasingly,—
At length burst into passion,—
But what care we?

14.

The Runic stone ’mongst the waves stands high,
There sit I, with thoughts far roaming;
The wind pipes loudly, the seamews cry,
The billows are curling and foaming.
I’ve loved full many a charming girl,
Loved many a comrade proudly—
Where are they now? The billows curl
And foam, and the wind pipes loudly.

15.

The sea appears all golden
Beneath the sunlit sky,
O let me there be buried,
My brethren, when I die.
The sea I have always loved so,
It oft hath cool’d my breast
With its refreshing billows,
Each in the other’s love blest.

2. ANGELICA.

1.

Now that heaven my wish hath granted,
Why be dumb, like mutes inglorious,—
I who, when unhappy, chanted
Of my woe with noise uproarious,
Till a thousand youths despairing
Sang like me with voices hollow,
And the song I sang uncaring
Made still greater mischief follow?{108}
O ye nightingale-like chorus,
That I bear within my spirit,
Let your song of joy rise o’er us
Merrily, that all may hear it.

2.

Once more behind thee thou wert looking,
Swiftly as thou didst past me glide,
With open mouth, as if inquiring,
And in thy look a stormy pride.
O that I ne’er had sought to grasp it,
That flowing robe of snowy white!
The little foot’s enchanting traces,
O that they ne’er had met my sight!
Thy wildness now indeed hath vanish’d,
Like other women tame art thou,
And mild, and somewhat over-civil,
And, ah, thou even lov’st me now.

3.

I’ll not credit, youthful beauty,
What thy bashful lips may say;
Eyes so black and large and rolling
Are not much in virtue’s way.
Strip away this brown-striped falsehood—
Well and truly love I thee;
Let thy white heart kiss me, dearest—
White heart, understand’st thou me?

4.

Upon her mouth I give a kiss,
And close her either eye;
She gives me now no peace for this,
But asks the reason why.
From night to morn, because of this,
This is her constant cry:
“When on my mouth thou giv’st a kiss,
“Why close my either eye?”
I tell her not the cause of this,
Nor know the reason why,
Yet on her mouth I give a kiss,
And close her either eye.

{109}

5.

When I am made blest with kisses delicious,
And lie in thine arms, O in that happy season
Thou ne’er must discourse of Germany, dearest,—
It spoils my digestion,—there’s plenty of reason.
With Germany leave me in peace, I implore thee,
Thou must not torment me with question on question
Of home and relations and manner of living,—
There’s plenty of reason,—it spoils my digestion.
The oaks there are green, and blue are the dear eyes
Of German women; they sigh as they please on
The blisses of love and of hope and religion,—
It spoils my digestion,—there’s plenty of reason.

6.

Whilst I after other people
And their treasures have been prying,
And with ever-restless yearning,
At strange doors of love been spying,
Probably those other people
Have been taking their own pleasure
Similarly, and been ogling
At my window my own treasure.
This is human! God in heaven
In our every action guard us!
God in heaven give us blessings,
And with happiness reward us!

7.

O yes, thou art my ideal forsooth,
I’ve often confirmed it till dizzy
With kisses and oaths unnumber’d in truth;—
To-day I however am busy.
Return to-morrow between two and three,
And then a fresh-kindled passion
Shall prove my love, and afterwards we
Will dine in a friendly fashion.
And if I in time the tickets receive,
We’ll join in a merry revel,
And go to the Opera, where I believe
They’re playing Robert the Devil.{110}
A wondrous magic play is here,
With devils’ loves and curses;
The music is by Meyerbeer;
By Scribe the wretched verses.

8.

Dismiss me not, although thy thirst
The pleasant draught has still’d;
Some three months longer keep me on,
Till I too have been fill’d.
If thou my love canst not remain,
O be my friend, I pray;
For when one has outloved one’s love,
Friendship may have its way.

9.

This wild carnival of loving,
This delirium of our bosoms
Comes unto an end, and now we
Soberly gape on each other!
Drain’d the cup is to the bottom,
Brimming with intoxication,
Foaming, glowing to the margin;
Drain’d the cup is to the bottom.
And the fiddles too are silent,
Which for dancing gave the signal,
Signal for the dance of passion;
Yes, the fiddles too are silent.
And the lamps too are extinguish’d,
Which their wild light shed so brightly
On the masquerade exciting;
Yes, the lamps too are extinguish’d.
And to-morrow comes Ash-Wednesday,
When I’ll sign upon thy forehead
With the cross of ashes, saying:
“Woman, that thou’rt dust, forget not.”

10.

O how rapidly develop
From mere fugitive sensations
Passions that are fierce and boundless,
Tenderest associations!{111}
Tow’rds this lady grows the bias
Of my heart on each occasion,
And that I’m enamoured of her
Has become my firm persuasion.
Beauteous is her spirit. Truly
Thus I learn to rise superior
To the overpowering beauty
Of her form and mere exterior.
Ah, what hips! and, ah, what forehead!
Ah, what nose! Could aught serener
Be than this sweet smile she’s wearing?
And how noble her demeanour!

11.

Ah, how fair art thou, whenever
Thou thy mind disclosest sweetly,
And thy language with the grandest
Sentiments o’erflows discreetly!
When thou tell’st me how thou always
Worthily and nobly thoughtest;
How unto thy pride of heart thou
Greatest sacrifices broughtest!
How with countless millions even
Men could woo and win thee never;
Sooner than be sold for money
Thou wouldst quit this world for ever.
And I stand before thee, listening
To the end with due emotion;
Like an image mute of faith, I
Fold my hands with meek devotion.

12.

Have no fear, dear soul, I pray thee,
Thou art safe here evermore;
Fear not lest they’ll take away thee,
For I’ll forthwith bar the door.
Though the wind may roar around us,
It will do no mischief here;
That a fire may not confound us,
Let us put the light out, dear!{112}
Let me in mine arm, dear small one,
Thy enchanting neck enfold;
In the absence of a shawl, one
Gets so very quickly cold.

3. DIANA.

1.

These fair limbs, of size so massive,
Of colossal womanhood,
Now are, in a yielding mood,
Under my embraces passive.
Had I, with unbridled passion,
Trusting in my strength drawn near,
I had soon had cause for fear!
She had thrashed me in strange fashion.
How her bosom, neck, throat charm me
(Higher I can scarcely see);
Ere alone I’d with her be,
Pray I that she may not harm me.

2.

’Twas in the Bay of Biscay
That she first saw the light;
Two kittens in the cradle
She squeezed to death outright.
Across the Pyrenees she
With feet uncover’d ran;
Then for her size gigantic
Was shown at Perpignan.
She’s now the grandest dame in
The Faubourg Saint-Denis,
Where unto small Sir William
Some thousand pounds costs she.

3.

Often when I am with thee,
Much-beloved and noble lady,
The remembrance steals o’er me
Of Bologna’s market shady.{113}
There a massive fount doth stand—
’Tis the Giants’ Fountain pretty—
With a Neptune, by the hand
Of Giovanni of that city.

4. HORTENSE.

1.

Once I thought each kiss a woman
Gives us, or receives instead,
By some influence superhuman
Was from old predestinèd.
I both took and gave back willing
Kisses then as earnestly
As if I were but fulfilling
Actions of necessity.
Kisses are superfluous,—this I
Have discover’d on life’s stage,
And with small concern now kiss I,
Heedless of the surplusage.

2.

Beside the corner of the street
We stood in fond communion
For full an hour, and talked about
Our spirits’ loving union.
We loved each other—this we said
A hundred times repeating;
Beside the corner of the street
We stood, and went on greeting.
The Goddess of Occasion, brisk
As waiting maids, and sprightly,
Pass’d by that way and saw us stand
And smiled, and went on lightly.

3.

In all my dreams by daytime,
In all my watchings nightly,
Thy sweet delicious laughter
Rings through my spirit lightly.{114}
Remember’st Montmorency,
Where, on the donkey riding,
Thou fell’st among the thistles,
From off the saddle gliding?
The ass stood still, the thistles
Demurely looking after,—
I never shall forget, love,
Thy sweet delicious laughter.

4.

(She speaks.)

In the garden fair a tree stands,
And an apple hangeth there,
And around the trunk a serpent
Coils himself, and I can ne’er
From the serpent’s eyes enchanting
Turn away my troubled sight,
And he whispers words alluring,
And enthrals me with delight.
(The other one speaks.)
’Tis the fruit of life thou spyest,—
Its delicious flavour taste,
That thy life until thou diest
May not be for ever waste!
Darling dove, sweet child, no sighing!
Quickly taste, and never fear;
Follow my advice, relying
On thy aunt’s sage counsel, dear.

5.

On my newly-tuned guitar I
Play new tunes that seem much fitter
Old the text is, for the words are
Solomon’s: A woman’s bitter.
To her husband she is faithless,
And she treats her friend with malice;
Wormwood are the last remaining
Drops in love’s once-golden chalice.{115}
Tell me, is the ancient legend
Of the curse of sin no libel?
Did the serpent bring it on thee,
As recorded in the Bible?
Creeping on the earth, the serpent
Lurks in every bush around thee,
Still, as formerly, caresses,
And her hisses still confound thee.
Ah, how cold and dark ’tis growing!
Round the sun the ravens hover
Croakingly, and love and rapture
Now for evermore are over.

6.

The bliss that thou didst falsely pledge
For but a short time cheated;
Thine image, like a vision false,
Soon from my bosom fleeted.
The morning came, the mist soon fled
Before the sun’s rays splendid;
And wellnigh ere it had commenced,
Our passing fondness ended.

5. CLARISSA.

1.

All my charming loving offers
Thou art eagerly declining;
If I say: “Is this refusal?”
Thou at once beginnest whining.
Seldom pray I, but now hear me,
Gracious God! O help this maiden!
Dry her sweet tears, and enlighten
Her poor brains so sorrow-laden!

2.

Wheresoever thou mayst wander,
Thou dost every hour behold me,
And I love thee all the fonder,
When thou dost rebuke and scold me.{116}
Charming malice will ensnare me,
While I hate a kindly action;
And the surest way to scare me,
Is to love me to distraction.

3.

May the devil take thy mother
And thy father, for their cruel
Conduct at the play, in hiding
Thee from me, my precious jewel!
There they sat, their spreading dresses
Leaving but few spaces only
Through the which to spy thee sitting
In the box’s rear, all lonely.
There they sat, and saw two lovers
Both destroy’d, with eyes admiring;
And they clapp’d a loud approval
When they saw them both expiring.

4.

Go not through the naughty quarters
Where the pretty eyes are living;
Ah, they fain would spare their lightnings
With a semblance of forgiving.
From the high bow-window looking
In a loving way they greet thee,
Smiling kindly (death and devil!)
Sisterlike their glances meet thee.
But thou’rt on thy way already,
And in vain is all thy striving;
Thou wilt have a very breastful
Of distress, when home arriving.

5.

It comes too late, thy present smiling,
It comes too late, thy present sigh!
The feelings all long since have perish’d
That thou didst spurn so cruelly.{117}
Too late has come thy love responsive,
My heart thou vainly seek’st to stir
With burning looks of love, all falling
Like sunbeams on a sepulchre.
* * *
This would I learn: when life is ended,
O whither doth our spirit go?
Where is the flame when once extinguish’d?
The wind, when it hath ceased to blow?

6.

Wounded, in distress, and sickly,
On a lovely summer’s morrow
Men I fly, and bury quickly
In the wood my bitter sorrow.
As I move, in mute compassion
All the noisy birds are vying;
At my grief in wondrous fashion
Each dark linden-tree is sighing.
In the vale I sadly sit on
Some green bank, sweet balm exhaling:
“Kitten! O my pretty kitten!”
And the hills repeat my wailing.
Kitten! O my pretty kitten!
Why delightest thou to do ill?
Sadly is my poor heart smitten
By thy tiger-talons cruel.
For my heart, grown stern and sadden’d,
Long had been to joy a stranger,
Till by new love I was gladden’d
At thy sight, and fear’d no danger.
Thou in secret seem’dst to mew thus:
“Have no fear of being bitten;
“Prythee trust me when I sue thus,
“I’m a very gentle kitten.”
* * *

7.

Whilst sweet Philomel in airy
Woods at random sings and wildly,
Thou preferrest the canary
Doubtless, as it flutters mildly.{118}
In the cage I see thee feeding
This small bird, so tame and yellow,
And it picks thy fingers, pleading
For some sugar, pretty fellow!
Charming is the scene and moving!
Angels must enjoy the notion!
I myself, with look approving,
Drop a tear of deep emotion.

8.

With Wedding Gifts the Spring Has Arrived,
With music and exultation;
It brings the bridegroom and the bride
Its hearty congratulation.
It brings its violets, rosebuds fair,
And jasmine and herbs sweet-scented,
And for the bride asparagus too,—
The bridegroom’s with salad contented.

9.

God protect thee from o’erheating,
And thy heart from palpitation,
Keep thee from excessive eating,
And excessive perspiration.
As upon thy day of marriage
May thy love be ever blessèd!
Ne’er the bridal yoke disparage!
Be thy frame with health possessèd!

10.

Pretty maid, if so inclined,
Thou mayst now thus think anent me
This man’s conduct is unkind,
For he’s seeking to torment me;—
Me, who never said a word
That could possibly offend him;
Who, when others’ blame I heard,
Did my utmost to befriend him.
Me, who had resolved in fact
By-and-by to love him dearly,
Had he not begun to act
As if he were frantic nearly!

{119}

11.

How thou snarlest, laughest, broodest.
How thou in ill humour twistest,
When thou, to all love a stranger,
Yet on jealousy existest!
’Tis not red and fragrant roses
Thou dost smell and love so dearly;
No, amongst the thorns thou sniffest,
Till they scratch thy nose severely.

6. YOLANTE AND MARY.

1.

Both these ladies know by instinct
How a poet well to treat,
For they ask’d me and my genius
Luncheon with them once to eat.
Ah! the soup was quite delicious,
And the wine was old and rare,
And the game was really heavenly,
And well-larded was the hare.
They of poetry kept talking,
Till I had enough at last,
And I thank’d them for the honour
Of this very kind repast.

2.

With which shall I become enamour’d,
Since both are loveable and mild?
The mother’s still a pretty woman,
The daughter is a pretty child.
The white and inexperienced members
Are very pleasant to the view,
And yet the genial eyes that answer
Our tenderness are charming too.
My heart the jackass grey resembles,
Who when twixt two hay bundles placed,
Eyes them with hesitation, doubting
Which of the two the best will taste.

{120}

3.

The bottles are empty, the breakfast was good,
The ladies are gay and impassion’d;
They open their corsets in right merry mood,
Methinks they with point lace are fashion’d.
Their bosoms how fair! Their shoulders how white!
My heart is soon trembling all over;
They presently jump on the bed with delight,
And hide themselves under the cover.
The curtains around them before long they pull,
And snore away, free from intrusion;
I stand in the chamber alone, like a fool,
And stare at the bed in confusion.

4.

Now that I’m fast growing older,
Youth’s by keener fire replaced,
And my arm, becoming bolder,
Circles many a loving waist.
Though at first they were affrighted,
Yet they soon were reconcil’d;
Modest doubts and wrath united
Were o’ercome by flattery mild.
Yet the best of all is wanting
When I taste my victory;
Can it be my youth’s enchanting
Bashful weak stupidity?

5.

This tricolour’d flow’r now worn is
In my breast, to show I’m free,
Proving that my heart freeborn is,
And a foe to slavery.
Sweet Queen Mary, who thy quarters
In my heart hast fix’d, pray list:
Many of earth’s fairest daughters
There have reign’d, then been dismiss’d.

{121}

7. EMMA.

1.

He stands as firm as a tree stem,
In heat and tempest and frost;
His toes in the ground are planted,
His arms are heavenward toss’d.
Thus long is Bagíratha tortured,
And Brama his torments would end;
He makes the mighty Ganges
Down from the heavens descend.
But I, my loved one, am vainly
Tormented and stricken with woe;
From out of thine heavenly eyelids
No drops of pity e’er flow.

2.

Four-and-twenty hours I still must
Wait, to see my bliss complete,
As her sidelong glances tell me,
Glances, O how dazzling sweet!
Language is but inexpressive,
Words are awkward and in vain;
Soon as they are said, the pretty
Butterfly flies off again.
But a look may last for ever,
And with joy may fill thy breast,
Making it like some wide heaven,
Full of starry rapture blest.

3.

Not one solitary kiss
After months of loving passion,
So my mouth must still continue
Dry, in very wretched fashion.
Happiness seem’d once at hand,
And her breath I e’en felt nigh me
But without my lips e’er touching,
She, alas! soon fleeted by me.

{122}

4.

Emma, for my satisfaction
Say if I’m distracted driven,
By my love, or is love only
The result of my distraction?
Ah! I’m tortured, charming Emma,
Not alone by my mad loving,
Not alone by loving madness,
But besides by this dilemma.

5.

When I’m with thee, strife and need!
So I on my travels started;
Yet my life, when from thee parted,
Is no life, but death indeed.
Pondering all the livelong night,
I ’twixt death and hell lay choosing—
Ah, methinks this strife confusing
Now has driv’n me mad outright!

6.

Fast is creeping on us dreary
Night with many a ghostly shape,
And our souls are growing weary,
And we at each other gape.
Thou art old and I still older,
And our spring has ceased to bloom;
Thou art cold, and I still colder,
At th’ approach of winter’s gloom.
At the end, how all is sadden’d!
After love’s sweet cares are past,
Cares draw nigh, by love ungladden’d,
After life comes death at last.

8. FREDERICA.

1.

O leave Berlin, with its thick-lying sand,
Weak tea, and men who seem so much to know
That they both God, themselves, and all below
With Hegel’s reason only understand.{123}
O come to India, to the sunny land
Where flowers ambrosial their sweet fragrance throw
Where pilgrim troops on tow’rd the Ganges go
With reverence, in white robes, a festal band.
There, where the palm-trees wave, the billows smile,
And on the sacred bank the lotos-tree
Soars up to Indra’s castle blue,—yes there,
There will I kneel to thee in trusting style,
And press against thy foot, and say to thee:
“Madam, thou art the fairest of the fair!”

2.

The Ganges roars; amid the foliage see
The sharp eyes of the antelope, who springs
Disdainfully along; their colour’d wings
The peacocks as they move, show haughtily.
Deep from the bosom of the sunny lea
Rises a newborn race of flowers, sweet things;
With yearning-madden’d voice Cocila sings—
Yes, thou art fair, no woman’s like to thee!
God Cama[9] lurks in all thy features fair,
He dwells within thy bosom’s tents so white,
And breathes to thee the sweetest songs he knows.
Upon thy lips Vassant[10] has made his lair,
I find within thine eyes new worlds of light,
In my own world no more I find repose.

3.

The Ganges roars; the mighty Ganges swells,
The Himalaya glows in evening’s light,
And from the banyan-forest’s gloomy night
The elephantine herd breaks forth and yells.
O for a type to show how she excels!
A typo of thee, so lovely to the sight,
Thee the incomparable, good and bright,
So that sweet rapture in my bosom dwells.{124}
In vain thou see’st me seek for types, and prate,—
See’st me with feelings struggle, and with rhyme,
And, ah, thou smilest at my pangs of love!
But smile! For when thou smil’st, Gandarvas straight
Seize on the sweet guitar, and all the time
Sing in the golden sunny halls above.

9. CATHERINE.

1.

A beauteous star arises o’er my night,
A star which smiles down on me comfort bright,
And new life pledges to supply,—
O do not lie!
As leaps to the moon the sea with sullen roar,
So gladly, wildly, doth my spirit soar
Up to thy blissful light on high,—
O do not lie!

2.

“Will you not be presented to her?”
The duchess whisper’d once to me.
“On no account! for I to woo her
“Methinks have too much modesty.”
How gracefully she stands before me!
I fancy, when I near her go,
A newborn life is stealing o’er me,
With newborn joy and newborn woe.
I’m from her kept as though by anguish,
While yearning drives me to draw near;
Her eyes, as they so sweetly languish,
The wild stars of my fate appear.
Her brow is clear, yet in the distance
The future lightning gathers there,
The storm which, spite of all resistance,
My spirit’s deepest seat will tear.
Her mouth is lovely, but with terror
I see beneath the roses hiss
The serpents which will prove my error,
With honied scorn and treach’rous kiss.{125}
Impell’d by yearning, still more near I
Draw to the dear but dangerous place;
Her darling voice already hear I—
Bright flames her every sentence grace.
“Sir, what’s the name”—I hear her utter
These words—“Of her whose voice I heard?”
I only answer with a stutter:
“Madam, I did not hear one word!”

3.

Yes, I now, a poor magician,
Like sage Merlin, am held fast
In my magic ring at last,
In disconsolate condition.
At her feet imprison’d sweetly
I am lying all the while,
Gazing on her eyes’ sweet smile,
And the hours are passing fleetly.
Thus, for hours, days, weeks behold me!
Like a vision time has fled,
Scarcely know I what I said,
And I know not what she told me.
Just as if her lips were dearly
Press’d to mine, beyond control
I am stirr’d, till in my soul
I can trace the flames full clearly.

4.

Thou lie’st in my arms so gladly.
So gladly thou lie’st on my heart!
I am thy one sole heaven,
My dearest star thou art.
The foolish race of mortals
Is swarming far below;
They’re shouting and storming and scolding,
(And each one is right, I well know)
Their cap and bells they jingle,
And quarrel without a cause,
And with their heavy club-sticks
They break each other’s jaws.{126}
How happy are we, my darling,
That we so far away are;
Thou hidest in thy heaven
Thy head, my dearest star!

5.

I love such white and snowy members,
The thin veil of a spirit tender,
Wild and large eyes, a brow encompass’d
With flowing locks of swarthy splendour.
Thou art indeed the very person
Whom I in every land have sought for,
While girls like thee a man of honour
Like me have always cared and thought for.
The very man thou stand’st in need of
Is found in me. At first thou’lt pay me
Richly with sentiments and kisses,
And then, as usual, wilt betray me.

6.

The spring’s already at the gate
With looks my care beguiling;
The country round appeareth straight
A flower-garden smiling.
My darling sitteth by my side,
In carriage onward fleeting;
She looks on me with tender pride,
Her heart, I feel it beating.
What warbling, what fragrance the sun’s light awakes!
Like jewels the verdure is gleaming,
His snowy-blossoming head soon shakes
The sapling with joyous seeming.
The flowers peep forth from the earth to see,
With longing in every feature,
The lovely woman won by me,
And me, the happy creature.
O transient bliss! Across the corn
To-morrow will pass the sickle,
The beauteous spring wither, and I all forlorn
Be left by the woman fickle.

{127}

7.

Lately dreamt I I was walking
In the happy realms of heaven,
Walking with thee, for without thee,
Heaven itself would be a hell.
There I saw th’ Elect together,
All the righteous and the godly,
Who had for their souls’ salvation
Mortified on earth their bodies.
Fathers of the Church, apostles,
Capuchins and holy hermits,
Strange old fellows, some strange young ones—
’Twas the latter look’d the ugliest!
Very long and saintly faces,
Ample bald pates, also grey beards
(Various Jews were of the number)
Pass’d us, looking stern and solemn.
Not one look upon thee throwing,
Although thou, my pretty darling,
On my arm wert hanging, toying,
Toying, smiling, and coquetting.
One alone upon thee look’d,
And he was the only handsome,
Handsome man of all the number;
And majestic were his features.
Round his lips was human kindness,
In his eyes divine repose,
And he mildly gazed upon thee
As upon the Magdalene.
Ah! I know, he meant it kindly,
None was e’er so pure and noble,
But I, I was notwithstanding
Moved as by an envious feeling;
And, I must confess, I found it
Far from pleasant up in heaven—
May God pardon me! Our Saviour
Jesus Christ I deem’d intrusive.

{128}

8.

Each person to this feast enchanting
His mistress takes, and with delight
Roams in the blooming summer night.
I wander alone, for my loved one is wanting.
Like some sick man, I wander all lonely,
And far from the mirth and dancing go,
The music sweet and the lamps’ bright glow
My thoughts are away, and in England only.
I pluck the pinks and I pluck the roses,
Distractedly and full of woe,
And know not on whom the flow’rs to bestow;
My heart soon withers along with the posies.

9.

Long songless and oppress’d with sadness,
I now compose again with yearning!
Like tears that from us burst with madness
My songs are suddenly returning.
Again I chant, with voice melodious,
Of great love and still greater sorrow;
Of hearts which, to each other odious
To-day, when parted break to-morrow.
I ofttimes think I feel the greeting
Of German oak trees waving o’er me,
With whispers of a glad re-meeting—
A dream! they vanish from before me.
I ofttimes think I hear the singing
Of German nightingales once cherish’d;
Sweetly their notes are round me clinging—
A dream! the vision soon has perish’d.
Where are the roses whose delicious
Perfume once bless’d me? Every blossom
Long since has died! With taint pernicious
Their ghostly scent still haunts my bosom.

{129}

10. SONGS OF CREATION.

1.

God at first the sun created,
Then each nightly constellation;
From the sweat of his own forehead
Oxen were his next creation.
Wild beasts he created later,
Lions with their paws so furious;
In the image of the lion
Made he kittens small and curious.
Afterwards, the wilds to people,
Man to spring to being bade he,
And in man’s attractive image
Interesting monkeys made he.
Satan saw it, full of laughter:
“Copies from himself he’s taking!
“In the image of his oxen
“Calves he finally is making.”

2.

To the devil spake the Lord thus:
Copies of myself I’m taking;
After sun come constellations,
After oxen, calves I’m making.
After lions with their furious
Paws, I’m making kittens curious,
After men come monkeys clever:
Thou canst nothing make, however.

3.

I made for my glory and edification
Men, lions, and oxen, and sunlight splendid;
But calves, cats, monkeys, and each constellation
For nought but my own delight I intended.

4.

With one short week of preparation
The whole of the world was made by me
And yet I work’d out the plan of creation
For thousands of years full thoughtfully.{130}
Creation itself is a mere act of motion
That’s easily done in a very short time;
And yet the plan, the primary notion,—
’Tis that that proves the artist sublime.
Three hundred long years have I been taking
In solving the question by slow degrees
As to which was the proper manner of making
Both Doctors of Law and little fleas.

5.

On the sixth day spake the Lord thus:
I have finish’d finally
All this vast and fair creation,
And that all is good, I see.
How the sun’s rays, golden-roselike,
O’er the ocean brightly gleam!
Every tree is green and glittering,
And enamell’d all things seem.
On the plain yon lambkins sporting
Are like alabaster white;
O how natural and perfect
Nature seemeth to the sight!
Earth and heaven alike are teeming
With my glorious majesty,
And through long and endless ages
Man will praise and worship me.

6.

The stuff out of which a poem is wrought
Is not to be suck’d from the finger;
No God created the world from nought
Any more than an earthly singer.
’Twas mud primeval that form’d the source
Whence the body of man I created,
And from the ribs of man in due course
Fair woman I separated.
The heavens I form’d from out of the earth,
And angels from women completed;
The raw material first gets its worth
From being artist’cally treated.

{131}

7.

The chiefest reason why I made
The earth, I will confess with gladness:
Within my soul, like fiery madness,
A burning call to do so play’d.
Illness was the especial ground
Of my creative inclination;
I might recover by creation,
Creation made me once more sound.

11. ABROAD.

1.

From place to place thou’rt wandering still,
Thou scarcely knowest why;
A gentle word the wind doth fill,—
Thou look’st round wond’ringly.
My loved one, who was left behind,
Is calling softly now:
“Return, I love thee, O be kind,
My only joy art thou!”
But on, still on, no peace, no rest,
Thou never still mayst be;
What thou of yore didst love the best,
Thou ne’er again shalt see.

2.

Thou art to-day of sadder seeming
Than thou hast been for long before;
Mute tears upon thy cheeks are gleaming,
Thy sighs wax louder more and more.
Of thy far home long vanish’d is it
That thou art thinking, full of pain?
Wouldst thou not joyfully revisit
Thy much-loved fatherland again?
Art thinking now of her who sweetly
With tiny rage enchanted thee?
Vex’d by her oft, ye soon completely
Were reconciled, and laugh’d with glee.{132}
Art thinking of the friends whom yearning
Impell’d to fall upon thy breast?
Within the heart the thoughts were burning,
And yet the lips remain’d at rest.
Or of the sister and the mother
Art thinking, who approved thy suit?
Methinks within thy breast, good brother,
Wild passions fast are growing mute.
Of the fair garden art thou thinking,
Its birds and trees, where love’s young dream
Ofttimes sustain’d thy spirits sinking,
And hope shone forth with trembling beam?
’Tis late. The snow has fallen thickly,
Bright night illumes the humid mass;
I now must go, and hasten quickly
To dress for company,—Alas!

3.

Of my fair fatherland I once was proud;
Beside the stream
The oak soar’d high, the violets gently bow’d;
It was a dream.
German the kisses were, in German too
(Sweet then did seem
The sound) they spake the words: “Yes, I love you!”—
It was a dream.

12. TRAGEDY

1.

O fly with me, and be my wife,
And to my heart for comfort come!
Far, far away hence be my heart,
Thy fatherland and father’s home.
If thou’lt not go, I here will die,
And all alone abandon thee;
And if thou in thy father’s home
Dost stay, thou’lt seem abroad to be.

2.

A genuine national song, heard by Heine on the Rhine.

There fell a frost in a night of spring,
It fell on the tender flowerets blue,
They all soon wither’d and faded.{133}
A youth once loved a maiden full well,
They secretly fled away from the house,
Unknown to father and mother.
They wander’d here and they wander’d there,
And neither joy nor star could they find,
And so they droop’d and they perish’d.

3.

Upon her grave a linden is springing,
Where birds and the evening breeze are singing,
And on the green sward under it
The miller’s boy and his sweetheart sit.
The winds are blowing so softly and fleetly,
The birds are singing so sadly and sweetly,
The prattling lovers are mute by-and-by,
They weep and they know not the reason why.

13. THE TANNHAUSER.

A Legend.

(Written in 1836.)

1.

O all good Christians, be on your guard,
Lest Satan’s wiles ensnare you!
I’ll sing you the song of the Tannhauser bold,
That ye may duly beware you.
The noble Tannhauser, a valiant knight,
For love and pleasure yearning,
To the Venus’ mount travell’d, and there he dwelt
Seven years without returning.
“Dear Venus, lovely mistress, farewell!
“Though much thou mayst enchant me,
“No longer will I tarry with thee,
“Permission to leave now grant me.”
“Tannhauser, dear and noble knight,
“To-day you have kept from kissing;
“So kiss me quickly and tell me true,
“What is there in me you find missing?
“Have I each day the sweetest wine
“Not pour’d out for you gaily?
“And have I not always crown’d your head
“With fragrant roses daily?”{134}
“Dear Venus, lovely mistress, in truth
“My soul no longer finds pleasing
“These endless kisses and luscious wine,—
“I long for something that’s teasing.
“Too much have we jested, too much have we laugh’d,
“My heart for tears has long panted;
“Each rose on my head I fain would see
“By pointed thorns supplanted.”—
“Tannhauser, dear and noble knight,
“You fain would vex and grieve me;
“An oath you have sworn a thousand times
“That you would never leave me.
“Come, let us into the chamber go,
“To taste of love’s rapture and gladness,
“And there my fair and lily-white form
“Shall drive away thy sadness.”—
“Dear Venus, lovely mistress, thy charms
“Will bloom for ever and ever;
“As many already have glow’d for thee,
“So men will forget thee never!
“But when I think of the heroes and gods
“Who erst have taken their pleasure
“In clasping thy fair and lily-white form
“My anger knows no measure.
“Thy fair and lily-white figure with dread
“Is filling me even this minute,
“When thinking how many in after times
“Will still take pleasure in it!”—
“Tannhauser, dear and noble knight,
“You should not utter such treason;
T’were better to beat me, as you have before
“Oft done for many a season.
T’were better to beat me, than such harsh words
“Of insult thus to have spoken,
“Whereby, O Christian ungrateful and cold,
“The pride in my bosom is broken.
“Because I love you so much, I forgive
“Your evil words, thankless mortal;
“Farewell, I grant you permission to leave,
“I’ll open myself the portal.”{135}

2.

In Rome, in the holy city of Rome,
With singing and ringing and blowing
A grand procession is moving on,
The Pope in the middle is going.
The pious Pope Urban is his name,
The triple crown he is wearing,
He wears a red and purple robe,
And Barons his train are bearing.
“O holy Father, Pope Urban, stay!
“I will not move from my station,
“Until thou hast saved my soul from hell,
“And heard my supplication!”—
The ghostly songs are suddenly mute,
The people fall backwards dumbly;
O who is the pilgrim pale and wild
Who bends to the Pope so humbly?
“O holy Father, Pope Urban, to whom
“To bind and to loose not too much is,
“O save me from the pangs of hell,
“And out of the Evil One’s clutches!
“By name, I’m the noble Tannhauser call’d;
“For love and pleasure yearning,
“To the Venus’ mount I travell’d and dwelt
“Seven years there without returning.
“This Venus is a woman fair
“With charms of dazzling splendour;
Like light of sun and flowers’ sweet scent
“Her voice is gentle and tender.
“As a butterfly flutters around a flower
“And from its calyx sips too,
So flutters my soul for evermore
“Around her rosy lips too.
“Around her noble features entwine
“Her blooming black locks wildly;
Thy breath would be gone if once her great eyes
“Were fix’d upon thee mildly.
“If her great eyes upon thee were fix’d
“They surely would harass thee greatly;
’Twas with the greatest trouble that I
“Escaped from the mountain lately.{136}
“From out of the mountain I made my escape
“And yet for ever pursue me
“The looks of the beautiful woman, which seem
“To say ‘O hasten back to me!’
“A wretched spectre by day I’ve become,
“At night I vainly would hide me
“In sleep, for I dream that my mistress dear
“Is sitting and laughing beside me.
“How clearly, how sweetly, how madly she laughs
“Her white teeth all the while showing!
“Whenever I think of that laugh, in streams
“The tears from my eyes begin flowing.
“I love her indeed with a boundless love
“That scorches me up to a cinder;
Tis like a wild waterfall, whose fierce flood
“No barrier ever can hinder.
“It nimbly leaps from rock to rock
“With noisy foaming and boiling;
“Its neck it may break a thousand times,
“Yet on, still on, it keeps toiling.
“If all the expanse of the heavens were mine,
“To Venus the whole I’d surrender;
“I’d give her the sun, I’d give her the moon,
“I’d give her the stars in their splendour.
“I love her indeed with a boundless love,
“Whose flame within me rages;
“O say can this be the fire of hell,
“The glow that will last through all ages?
“O holy Father, Pope Urban, to whom
“To bind and to loose not too much is,
“O save me from the pangs of hell,
“And out of the Evil One’s clutches!—”
His hands the Pope raised sadly on high,
And sigh’d till these words he had spoken:
“Tannhauser, most unhappy knight,
“The charm can never be broken.
“The Devil whom they Venus call
“Is mighty for hurting and harming;
“I’m powerless quite to rescue thee
“From out of his talons so charming.{137}
“And so thy soul must expiate now
Thy fleshly lusts infernal;
Yes, thou art rejected, yes, thou art condemn’d
To suffer hell’s torments eternal.”

3.

The knight Tannhauser roam’d on till his feet
Were sore with his wanderings dreary.
At midnight’s hour he came at length
To the Venus’ mountain, full weary.
Fair Venus awoke from out of her sleep,
And out of her bed sprang lightly,
And clasp’d her fair and lily-white arms
Around her beloved one tightly.
From out of her nose the blood fell fast,
The tears from her eyes descended;
She cover’d the face of her darling knight
With blood and tears closely blended.
The knight lay quietly down in the bed,
And not one word has he spoken;
While Venus went to the kitchen, to make
Some soup, that his fast might be broken.
She gave him soup, and she gave him bread,
She wash’d his wounded feet, too;
She comb’d his rough and matted hair,
And laugh’d with a laugh full sweet, too.
“Tannhauser, dear and noble knight,
“Full long hast thou been wandering;
“O say in what lands hast thou thy time
“So far from hence been squandering?”
“Dear Venus, lovely mistress, in truth
“In Italy I have been staying;
“I’ve had some bus’ness in Rome, and now
“Return without further delaying.
“Rome stands on the Tiber, just at the spot
“Where seven hills are meeting;
“In Rome I also beheld the Pope,—
“The Pope he sends thee his greeting.{138}
“And Florence I saw, when on my return,
“And then through Milan I hasted,
“And next through Switzerland scrambled fast,
“And not one moment wasted.
“And when I travell’d over the Alps,
“The snow already was falling;
“The blue lakes sweetly on me smiled,
“The eagles were circling and calling.
“And when on the Mount St. Gothard I stood,
“Below me snored Germany loudly;
“Beneath the mild sway of thirty-six kings
“It slumber’d calmly and proudly.
“In Swabia I saw the poetical school
“Of dear little simpleton creatures;
“They sat together all ranged in a row,
“With very diminutive features.
“In Dresden I saw a certain dog,
“A sprig of the aristocracy;
“His teeth he had lost, and bark’d and yell’d
“Like one of the vulgar democracy.
“At Weimar, the Muses’ widow’d seat,
“I heard them their sentiments giving;
“They wept and lamented that Goethe was dead,
“And Eckermann still ’mongst the living!
“At Potsdam I heard a very loud cry,—
“I said in amaze: ‘What’s the matter?’—
Tis Gans[11] at Berlin, who last century’s tale
“Is reading and making this clatter.’
“At Göttingen knowledge was blossoming still,
“But bringing no fruit to perfection;
Twas dark as pitch when I got there at night,
“No light was in any direction.
“In the bridewell at Zell Hanoverians alone
“Were confined; at our next Reformation
“A national bridewell and one common lash
“We must have for the whole German nation.{139}
“At Hamburg, in that excellent town,
“Many terrible rascals dwell still;
“And when I wander’d about the Exchange,
“I fancied myself in Zell still!
“At Hamburg I Altona saw; ’tis a spot
“In a charming situation;
“And all my adventures that there I met
“I’ll tell on another occasion.”[12]

14. ROMANCES.

1. A WOMAN.

They loved each other beyond belief,
The woman a rogue was, the man was a thief;
At each piece of knavery, daily
She fell on the bed, laughing gaily.
In joy and pleasure they pass’d the day,
Upon his bosom all night she lay;
When they carried him off to Old Bailey,
At the window she stood, laughing gaily.
He sent her this message: O come to me,
I yearn, my love, so greatly for thee;
I want thee, I pine, and look palely,—
Her head she but shook, laughing gaily.
At six in the morning they hang’d the knave,
At seven they laid him down in his grave;
At eight on her ears this fell stalely,
And a bumper she drank, laughing gaily.

2. CELEBRATION OF SPRING.

O list to this spring time’s terrible jest!
In savage troops the maidens fair
Are rushing along with fluttering hair,
And howls of anguish and naked breast:—
Adonis! Adonis!
The night falls fast. By torchlight clear
They sadly explore each forest track,
Which mournful answers is echoing back
Of laughter, sobs, sighs, and cries of fear:—
Adonis! Adonis!{140}
That youthful figure, so wondrous fair,
Now lies on the ground all pale and dead;
His blood has dyed each floweret red,
And mournful sighs resound through the air:—
Adonis! Adonis!

3. CHILDE HAROLD.

Slow and weary, moves a dreary
Stout black bark the stream along;
Visors wearing, all-uncaring,
Funeral mutes the benches throng.
’Mongst them dumbly, with his comely
Face upturn’d, the dead bard lies;
Living seeming, toward the beaming
Light of heaven still turn his eyes.
From the water, like a daughter
Of the stream’s voice, comes a sigh,
And with wailing unavailing
’Gainst the bark the waves dash high.

4. THE EXORCISM.

The young Franciscan friar sits
In his cloister silent and lonely;
He reads a magical book, which speaks
Of exorcisms only.
And when the hour of midnight knell’d,
An impulse resistless came o’er him;
The underground spirits with pallid lips
He summon’d to rise up before him:
“Ye spirits! Go, fetch me from out of the grave
The corpse of my mistress cherish’d;
For this one night restore her to life,
Rekindling joys long perish’d.”
The fearful exorcising word
He breathes, and his wish is granted;
The poor dead beauty in grave-clothes white
Appears to his vision enchanted.
Her look is mournful; her ice-cold breast
Her sighs of grief cannot smother;
The dead one sits herself down by the monk,
In silence they gaze on each other.

{141}

5. EXTRACT FROM A LETTER.

(The Sun speaks.)
What matter all my looks to thee?
It is the well-known right of the sun
To shed down his rays on ev’ry one;
I beam because ’tis proper for me.
What matter all my looks to thee?
Thy duties bear in mind, poor elf;
Quick, marry, and get a son to thyself,
And so a German worthy be!
I beam because ’tis proper for me.
I wander up and down in the sky,
From mere ennui I peep from on high—
What matter all my looks to thee?
(The Poet speaks.)
It is in truth my special merit
That I can bear thy radiant light,
Pledge of an endless youthful spirit,
Thou dazzling beauty, blest and bright.
But now mine eyes are growing weary,
On my poor eyelids fast are falling,
Like a black covering, the dreary
Dark shades of night with gloom appalling.
(Chorus of Monkeys.)
We monkeys, we monkeys,
Like impudent flunkies,
Stare at the sun,
Who can’t prevent its being done.
(Chorus of Frogs.)
The water is better,
But also much wetter
Than ’tis in the air,
And merrily there
We love to gaze
On the sun’s bright rays.{142}
(Chorus of Moles.)
How foolish people are to chatter
Of beams and sunny rays bewitching
With us, they but produce an itching
We scratch it and so end the matter.
(A Glow-worm speaks.)
How boastingly the sun displays
His very fleeting daily rays!
But I’m not so immodest quite,
And yet I’m an important light,—
I mean by night, I mean by night!

6. THE EVIL STAR.

The star, after beaming so brightly,
From the sky fell, a vision unsightly,
What is the love by poets sung?
A star amid a heap of dung.
Like a poor mangy dog, when he’s dying,
Beneath all this filth it is lying;
Shrill crows the cock, loud grunts the sow,
And wallows in the fearful slough.
In the garden O had I descended,
By fair flowerets lovingly tended,
Where I oft yearn’d to find my doom,
A virgin death, a fragrant tomb!

7. ANNO 1829.

Give me a wide and noble field
Where I may perish decently!
O let me in this narrow world
Of shops be not condemned to die!
They eat full well, they drink full well,
And revel in their mole-like bliss;
Their magnanimity’s as great
As any poor-box opening is.
Cigars they carry in their mouths,
Their hands we in their breeches view,
And their digestive powers are great,—
O could we but digest them too!{143}
They trade in every spice that grows
Upon the earth, yet we can trace,
Despite their spices, in the air
The odour of a grovelling race.
Could I some great transgressions, yes,
Colossal bloody crimes but see,—
Aught but this virtue flat and tame,
This solvent strict morality!
Ye clouds on high, O bear me hence,
To some far spot without delay!
To Lapland or to Africa,
To Pomerania e’en—away!
O bear me hence!—They hearken not—
The clouds on high so prudent are!
They fly above this town, to seek
With trembling haste some region far.

8. ANNO 1839.

Dear distant Germany, how often
I weep when I remember thee!
Gay France my sorrow cannot soften,
Her merry race gives pain to me.
In Paris, in this witty region,
’Tis cold dry reason that now reigns;
O bells of folly and religion,
How sweetly sound at home your strains!
Courteous the men! Their salutation
I yet return with feelings sad;
The rudeness shown in every station
In my own country made me glad!
Smiling the women! but their clatter,
Like millwheels, never seems to cease;
The Germans (not to mince the matter)
Prefer I, who lie down in peace.
And all things here with restless passion
Keep whirling, like some madden’d dream;
With us, they move in jog-trot fashion,
And well-nigh void of motion seem.{144}
Methinks I hear the distant ringing
Of the soft bugle’s notes serene;
The watchman’s songs I hear them singing,
With Philomel’s sweet strains between.
At home the bard, a happy vagrant
In Schilda’s oak woods loved to rove;
From moonbeams fair and violets fragrant
My tender verses there I wove.

9. AT DAWN.

On the Faubourg Saint Marçeau
Lay the mist this very morning,
Mist of autumn, heavy, thick,
And a white-hued night resembling.
Wandering through this white-hued night,
I beheld before me gliding
An enchanting female form
Which the moon’s sweet light resembled.
Yes, she was, like moonlight sweet,
Lightly floating, tender, graceful;
Such a slender shape of limbs
I had here in France ne’er witness’d.
Was it Luna’s self perchance,
Who with some young dear and handsome
Fond Endymion had to-day
In th’ Quartier Latin been ling’ring?
On my way home thus I thought:
Wherefore fled she when she saw me?
Did the Goddess think that I
Was perchance the Sun-God Phœbus?

10. SIR OLAVE.

I.

At the door of the cathedral
Stand two men, both wearing red coats,
And the first one is the monarch,
And the headsman is the other.
To the headsman spake the monarch:
“By the priest’s song I can gather
“That the wedding is now finish’d—
“Keep thy trusty hatchet ready!”{145}
To the sound of bells and organ
From the church the people issue
In a motley throng, and ’mongst them
Move the gay-dress’d bridal couple.
Pale as death and sad and mournful
Looks the monarch’s lovely daughter;
Bold and joyous looks Sir Olave,
And his ruddy lips are smiling.
And with smiling ruddy lips he
Thus the gloomy king addresses:
“Father of my wife, good morning!
“Forfeited to-day my head is.
“I to-day must die,—O suffer,
“Suffer me to live till midnight,
“That I may with feast and torch-dance
“Celebrate my happy wedding!
“Let me live, O let me live, sire,
“Till I’ve drain’d the final goblet,
“Till the final dance is finish’d—
“Suffer me to live till midnight!”
To the headsman spake the monarch:
“To our son-in-law a respite
“Of his life we grant till midnight—
“Keep thy trusty hatchet ready!”

II.

Sir Olave he sits at his wedding repast,
And every goblet is drained at last;
Upon his shoulder reclines
His wife and pines—
At the door the headsman is standing.
The dance begins, and Sir Olave takes hold
Of his youthful wife, and with haste uncontroll’d
They dance by the torches’ glow
Their last dance below—
At the door the headsman is standing.
The fiddles strike up, so merry and glad,
The flutes they sound so mournful and sad;
Whoever their dancing then saw
Was filled with awe—
At the door the headsman is standing.{146}
And as they dance in the echoing hall,
To his wife speaks Sir Olave, unheard by them all:
“My love will be ne’er known to thee—
“The grave yawns for me—”
At the door the headsman is standing.

III.

Sir Olave, ’tis the midnight hour,
Thy days of life are number’d;
In a king’s daughter’s arms instead
Thou thoughtest to have slumber’d.
The monks they mutter the prayers for the dead,
The man the red coat wearing
Already before the black block stands,
His polish’d hatchet bearing.
Sir Olave descends to the court below,
Where the swords and the lights are gleaming;
The ruddy lips of the Knight they smile,
And he speaks with a countenance beaming:
“I bless the sun, and I bless the moon,
“And the stars in the heavens before me;
“I bless too the little birds that sing
“In the air so merrily o’er me.
“I bless the sea and I bless the land,
“And the flow’rs that the meadow’s life are;
“I bless the violets, which are as soft
“As the eyes of my own dear wife are.
“Ye violet eyes of my own dear wife,
“My life for your sakes I surrender!
“I bless the elder-tree, under whose shade
“We plighted our vows of love tender.”

11. THE WATER NYMPHS.

The waves were plashing against the lone strand,
The moon had risen lately,
The knight was lying upon the white sand,
In vision musing greatly.
The beauteous nymphs arose from the deep,
Their veils around them floated;
They softly approach’d, and fancied that sleep
The youth’s repose denoted.{147}
The plume of his helmet the first one felt,
To see if perchance it would harm her;
The second took hold of his shoulder belt,
And handled his heavy chain armour.
The third one laugh’d, and her eyes gleam’d bright,
As the sword from the scabbard drew she;
On the bare sword leaning, she gazed on the knight,
And heartfelt pleasure knew she.
The fourth one danced both here and there,
And breath’d from her inmost bosom:
“O would that I thy mistress were,
“Thou lovely mortal blossom!”
The fifth her kisses with passionate strength
On the hand of the knight kept planting;
The sixth one tarried, and kissed at length
His lips and his cheeks enchanting.
The knight was wise, and far too discreet
To open his eyes midst such blisses;
He let the fair nymphs in the moonlight sweet
Continue their loving kisses.

12. BERTRAND DE BORN.

A noble pride on every feature,
His forehead stamp’d with thought mature,
He could subdue each mortal creature,
Bertrand de Born, the troubadour.
How wondrously his sweet notes caught her,
Plantagenet the Lion’s queen!
Both sons as well as lovely daughter
He sang into his net, I ween.
The father too he fool’d discreetly!
Hush’d was the monarch’s wrath and scorn
On hearing him discourse so sweetly,
The troubadour, Bertrand de Born.

13. SPRING.

The waters glisten and merrily glide,—
How lovely is love midst spring’s splendour!
The shepherdess sits by the streamlet’s side,
And twines her garlands so tender.{148}
All nature is budding with fragrant perfume,
How lovely is love midst spring’s splendour!
The shepherdess sighs from her heart: “O to whom
“Shall I my garlands surrender?”
A horseman is riding beside the clear brook,
A kindly greeting he utters;
The shepherdess views him with sorrowful look,
The plume in his hat gaily flutters.
She weeps and into the gliding waves flings
Her flowery garlands so tender;
Of kisses and love the nightingale sings—
How lovely is love midst spring’s splendour!

14. ALI BEY.

Ali Bey, the true Faith’s hero,
Happy lies in maids’ embraces;
Allah granteth him a foretaste
Here on earth of heavenly rapture.
Odalisques, as fair as houris,
Like gazelles in every motion—
While the first his beard is curling,
See, the second smoothes his forehead.
And the third the lute is playing,
Singing, dancing, and with laughter
Kissing him upon his bosom,
Where the flames of bliss are glowing.
But the trumpets of a sudden
Sound outside, the swords are rattling,
Calls to arms, and shots of muskets—
Lord, the Franks are marching on us!
And the hero mounts his war-steed,
Joins the fight, but seems still dreaming;
For he fancies he is lying
As before in maids’ embraces.
Whilst the heads of the invaders
He is cutting off by dozens,
He is smiling like a lover,
Yes, he softly smiles and gently.

{149}

15. PSYCHE.

In her hand the little lamp, and
Mighty passion in her breast,
Psyche creepeth to the couch where
Her dear sleeper takes his rest.
How she blushes, how she trembles,
When his beauty she descries!
He, the God of love, unveil’d thus,
Soon awakes and quickly flies.
Eighteen hundred years’ repentance!
And the poor thing nearly died!
Psyche fasts and whips herself still,
For she Amor naked spied.

16. THE UNKNOWN ONE.

Every day I have a meeting
With my golden-tressèd beauty
In the Tuileries’ fair garden
Underneath the chesnuts’ shadow.
Every day she goes to walk there
With two old and ugly women—
Are they aunts? or else two soldiers
Muffled up in women’s garments?
Overawed by the mustachios
Of her masculine attendants,
And still farther overawed too
By the feelings in my bosom,
I ne’er ventured e’en one sighing
Word to whisper as I pass’d her,
And with looks I scarcely ventured
Ever to proclaim my passion.
For the first time I to-day have
Learnt her name. Her name is Laura,
Like the Provençal fair maiden
Whom the famous poet loved so.
Laura is her name! I’ve gone now
Just as far as Master Petrarch,
Who the fair one celebrated
In canzonas and in sonnets.{150}
Laura is her name! like Petrarch
I can now platonically
Revel in this name euphonious—
He himself no further ventured.

17. THE CHANGE.

With brunettes I now have finish’d,
And this year am once more fond
Of the eyes whose colour blue is,
Of the hair whose colour’s blond.
Mild the blond one, whom I love now,
And in meekness quite a gem!
She would be some blest saint’s image,
Held her hand a lily stem.
Slender limbs of wondrous beauty,
Little flesh, much sympathy;
All her soul is glowing but for
Faith and hope and charity.
She maintains she understands not
German,—but it can’t be so;
Hast ne’er read the heavenly poem
Klopstock wrote some time ago?

18. FORTUNE.

Madam Fortune, thou in vain
Act’st the coy one! I can gain
By my own exertions merely
All thy favours prized so dearly.
Thou art overcome by me,
To the yoke I fasten thee;
Thou art mine beyond escaping—
But my bleeding wounds are gaping.
All my red blood gushes out,
My life’s courage to the rout
Soon is put; I’m vanquish’d lying,
And in victory’s hour am dying.

19. LAMENTATION OF AN OLD-GERMAN YOUTH.

The man on whom virtue smiles is blest,
He is lost who neglects her instructions;
Poor youth that I am, I am ruin’d
By evil companions’ seductions.{151}
For cards and dice soon dispossess’d
My pockets of all their money;
At first the maidens consoled me
With smiles as luscious as honey.
But when they had fuddled with wine their guest,
And torn my garments, straightway
(Poor youth that I am) they seized me,
And bundled me out at the gateway.
On waking after a bad night’s rest,—
Sad end to all my ambition!—
Poor youth that I am, I was filling
At Cassel a sentry’s position.

20. AWAY!

The day’s enamour’d of the night,
The springtime loves the winter,
And life’s in love with death,—
And thou, thou lovest me!
Thou lov’st me—thou’rt already seized
By fear-inspiring shadows,
And all thy blossoms fade,
To death thy soul is bleeding.
Away from me, and only love
The butterflies, gay triflers,
Who in the sunlight sport—
Away from me and sorrow!

21. MADAM METTE.

(From the Danish.)

Says Bender to Peter over their wine:
“I’ll wager (though doubtless you’re clever)
“That though your fine singing may conquer the world,
“My wife ’twill conquer never.”
Then Peter replied: “I’ll wager my horse
“To your dog, or the devil is in it,
“I’ll sing Madam Mette into my house
“This evening, at twelve to a minute.”
And when the hour of midnight drew near,
Friend Peter commenced his sweet singing;
Right over the forest, right over the flood
His charming notes were ringing.{152}
The fir-trees listen’d in silence deep,
The flood stood still and listen’d,
The pale moon trembled high up in the sky,
The wise stars joyously glisten’d.
Madam Mette awoke from out of her sleep:
“What singing! How sweet the seduction!”
She put on her dress, and left the house—
Alas, it proved her destruction!
Right through the forest, right through the flood,
She speeded onward straightway;
While Peter, with the might of his song,
Allured her inside his own gateway.
And when she at morning return’d back home,
At the door her husband caught her:
“Pray tell me, good wife, where you spent the night!
“Your garments are dripping with water.”
“I spent the night at the water-nymphs’ stream,
“And heard the Future told by them;
“The mocking fairies wetted me through
“With their splashes, for going too nigh them.”
“You have not been to the water-nymphs’ stream,
“The sand there could ne’er make you muddy;
“Your feet, good wife, are bleeding and torn,
“Your cheeks are also bloody.”
“I spent the night in the elfin wood,
“To see the elfin dances;
“I wounded my feet and face with the thorns
“And fir-boughs cutting like lances.”
“The elfins dance in the sweet month of May
“On flowery plains, but the chilly
“Bleak days of autumn now reign on the earth,
“The wind in the forests howls shrilly.”
“At Peter Nielsen’s I spent the night,
“He sang so mightily to me,
“That through the forest, and through the flood
“He irresistibly drew me.
“His song is mighty as death itself,
“To-night and perdition alluring;
“Its tuneful glow still burns in my heart,
“ A speedy death insuring.”{153}
The door of the church is hung with black,
The funeral bells are ringing,
Poor Madam Mette’s terrible death
To public notice bringing.
Poor Bender sighs, as he stands at the bier,—
’Twas sad to hear him call so!—
“I now have lost my beautiful wife,
“And lost my true dog also.”

22. THE MEETING.

The music under the linden-tree sounds,
The boys and the maidens dance lightly;
Amongst them two dance, whom nobody knows,
Of figures noble and sightly.
They float about here, they float about there,
In a way that strange habits expresses;
They smile at each other, they shake their heads,
The maiden the youth thus addresses:
“My handsome youth, upon thy hat
There nods a lily splendid,
That only grows in the depths of the sea,—
From Adam thou art not descended.
“The Kelpie art thou, who the fair village maids
Would’st allure with thy arts of seduction;
I knew thee at once, at the very first sight,
By thy teeth of fish-like construction.”
They float about here, they float about there,
In a way that strange habits expresses;
They smile at each other, they shake their heads,
The youth the maid thus addresses:
“My handsome maiden, tell me why
“Thy hand so icy cold is?
“And tell me why thy snow-white dress
“So moist in every fold is?
“I knew thee at once, at the very first sight,
“By thy bantering salutation;
“Thou art no mortal child of man,
“But the water-nymph, my relation.”{154}
The fiddles are silent, and finish’d the dance,
They part like sister and brother,
They know each other only too well,
And shun now the sight of each other.

23. KING HAROLD HARFAGAR.

The great King Harold Harfagar
In ocean’s depths is sitting,
Beside his lovely water-fay;
The years are over him flitting.
By water-sprite’s magical arts chain’d down,
He is neither living nor dead now,
And while in this state of baneful bliss
Two hundred years have sped now.
The head of the king is laid on the lap
Of the beautiful woman, and ever
He yearningly gazes up tow’rd her eyes,
And looks away from her never.
His golden hair is silver grey,
His cheekbones (of time’s march a token)
Project like a ghost’s from his yellow face,
His body is wither’d and broken.
And many a time from his sweet dream of love
He suddenly is waking,
For over him wildly rages the flood,
The castle of glass rudely shaking.
He oftentimes fancies he hears in the wind
The Northmen shouting out gladly;
He raises his arms with joyous haste,
Then lets them fall again sadly.
He oftentimes fancies he hears far above
The seamen their voices raising,
The great King Harold Harfagar
In songs heroical praising.
And then the king from the depth of his heart
Begins sobbing and wailing and sighing,
When quickly the water-fay over him bends,
With loving kisses replying.

{155}

24. THE LOWER WORLD.

I.

Many a time poor Pluto sigh’d thus:
“Were I but a single man!
“Since my married life began,
“Hell, I’ve learnt, was not a hell
“Till I to a wife was tied thus!
“Would that I remain’d still single!
“Since I Proserpine did wed,
“Each day wish I I was dead!
“With the bark of Cerberus
“Her loud scoldings ever mingle.
“Each attempt I make is fruitless
“After peace. There’s not a ghost
“Half so sad in all my host,
“And I envy Sisyphus,
“And the Danaid’s labour bootless.”

II.

On golden chair in the regions infernal,
Beside her spouse, the monarch eternal,
Queen Proserpine’s sitting
With mien ill befitting
Her station, and sadly she’s sighing:
“For roses I yearn, and the rapturous blisses
“Of Philomel’s song, and the sun’s sweet kisses;
“And here ’mongst the pallid
“Lemures and squalid
“Dead bodies, my youth’s days are flying.
“I’m firmly bound in the hard yoke of marriage
“In this hole, which I’m sure e’en a rat would disparage
“And the spectres unsightly
“Through my window peep nightly,
“Their wails with the Styx’s groans vying.
“This very day I’ve invited to dinner
“Old Charon, the bald-pated spindle-shank’d sinner,—
“And also the Judges,
“Those wearisome drudges—
“Such company’s really too trying!”{156}

III.

Whilst these murmurs unavailing
In the lower world found vent,
Ceres on the earth was wailing,
And the crazy goddess went,
With no cap on, with no collar,
And with loose dishevell’d hair,
Uttering, in a voice of dolour,
That lament known everywhere:[13]
“Is’t the beauteous spring I see?
“Hath the earth grown young again?
“Sunlit hills glow verdantly,
“Bursting through their icy chain.
“From the streamlet’s mirror blue
“Smiles the now-unclouded sky,
“Zephyr’s wings wave milder too,
“Youthful blossoms ope their eye.
“In the grove sweet songs resound,
“While the Oread thus doth speak:
Once again thy flow’rs are found,
“Vain thy daughter ’tis to seek.’
“Ah, how long ’tis since I went
“First in search o’er earth’s wide face!
“Titan, all thy rays I sent,
“Seeking for the loved one’s trace!
“Of that form so dear, no ray
“Hath as yet brought news to me,
“And the all-discerning Day
“Cannot yet the lost one see.
“Hast thou, Zeus, her from me torn?
“Or to Orcus’ gloomy stream,
“Hath she been by Pluto borne,
“Smitten by her beauty’s beams?
“Who will to yon dreary strand
“Be the herald of my woe?
“Ever leaves the bark the land,
“Yet but shadows in it go.
“To each blest eye evermore
“Closed those night-like fields remain;{157}
“Styx no living form e’er bore,
“Since his stream first wash’d the plain.
“Thousand paths lead downward there,
“None lead up again to light;
“And her tears no witness e’er
“Brings to her sad mother’s sight.”

IV.

“Ceres! my good wife’s relation!
“Prythee cease to weep and call so!
“I now grant your application—
“I have suffer’d greatly also!
“Comfort take! we’ll share your daughter’s
“Sweet society, and let her
“Have on earth six months her quarters
“Yearly, if you like it better.
“She, when men in summer swelter,
“Can assist your rural labours,
Neath a straw hat taking shelter,
“Flow’r-bedizen’d, like her neighbours’.
“She can rant, when colours glowing
“Robe the evening sky in splendour,
“When beside the stream is blowing
“On his flute a bumpkin tender.
“She’ll rejoice with lads and lasses
“At the harvest-home’s gay dances,
“And amongst the sheep and asses
“Be a lioness, the chance is.
“I’ll recruit my spirits sinking
“Here in Orcus in a canter,
“Mingled punch and Lethe drinking,
“And forget my wife instanter!”

V.

“Methinks at times thy brow is shaded
“With yearnings that in secret dwell;
“Thy hapless lot I know full well;
“Lost love, a life untimely faded!
“Thou nodd’st a sad assent! I never
“Can give thee back thy youthful prime;
“Thy heart’s woes cannot heal with time:
“A faded life, love lost for ever!”{158}

15. MISCELLANIES.

1. MULEDOM.

Thy father, as is known to all,
A donkey was, beyond denial;
Thy mother on the other hand
A noble brood-mare proved on trial.
Thy mulish nature, worthy friend,
Though little liked, a thing of course is;
Yet thou canst say, with perfect truth,
That thou belongest to the horses.
Thou spring’st from proud Bucephalus;
Thy fathers were with the invaders
Who to the Holy Sepulchre
Of old time went, the famed Crusaders.
Thou countest ’mongst thy relatives
The charger ridden by the glorious
Sir Godfrey of Bouillon the day
He took God’s town with arm victorious.
Thou canst aver that Bayard’s steed
Thy cousin was, and say (andante)
Thine aunt the knight Don Quixote bore,
The most heroic Rosinante.
But Sancho’s donkey thou’lt not own
As kin, he being much too lowly;
Thou’lt e’en disown the ass’s foal
That whilome bore the Saviour holy.
And thou art not obliged to stick
A long-ear surely in thy scutcheon;
Of thine own value be the judge,
And thou wilt never lay too much on.

2. THE SYMBOL OF MADNESS.

We’ll now begin to sing the song
Of a Number of much reputation,
Known by the name of Number Three:
To joy succeeds vexation.
Though sprung from an old Arabian stock,
In Christian estimation
Nothing in Europe higher stood
Than this Number of proud reputation.{159}
A very pattern of modesty,
How great was her indignation
At finding the man in bed with the maid!
She gave them a sound castigation.
In summer her coffee at seven A.M.
She drank with much gratification,
In winter at nine, and slept all night
Without the least molestation.
But now ’tis time to alter our rhyme,
To-day is changed to to-morrow,
And, sad to say, poor Number Three
Must suffer pain and sorrow.
There came a cobbler who said: “The head
“Of Number Three at present
“Is like a small Seven that’s placed on the top
“Of the moon when she’s shaped like a crescent.
“The Seven the mystical number is
“Of the ancient Pythagoreans;
“The crescent Diana’s worship denotes,
“And also recals the Sabeans.
“The Three herself the famed Shibboleth is
“Of the senior bonze of Babel,
“Intriguing with whom she at length gave birth
“To the Holy Trinity’s fable.”
A tailor came next, with a smile on his face;
Poor Number Three, he insisted,
Was nought but a name, and nowhere else
Except upon paper existed.
When poor Three heard these cruel words,
Like a duck in a state of distraction
She waddled here and waddled there,
Lamenting with vehement action:
“I’m just as old as the sea and the wold,
“As the stars that in heaven are blinking;
“I’ve seen kingdoms ascend, and presently end,
“And nations rising and sinking.
“I’ve stood on the ceaselessly whirling loom
“Of time for many long ages;
“I’ve peep’d into Nature’s fashioning womb,
“Where everything rushes and rages.{160}
“And nevertheless I withstood all assaults
“Of darkness and sensuality,
“And safely preserved my virgin charms,
“Despite their cruel brutality.
“What use is my virtue now? By the wise
“And the fools I am evil entreated;
“The world is wicked, and ne’er content
“Till every one is cheated.
“But cheer up, my heart! thou still hast left
“Thy faith and hope and charity,
“With excellent coffee and glasses of rum
“Above the reach of vulgarity.”

3. PRIDE.

O Countess Gudel of Gudelfeld town,
Because you are wealthy, you’re held in renown
With not less than four horses contented,
At court you are duly presented;
In carriage of gold you go lightly
To the castle, where waxlights gleam brightly;
Up the marble stairs rustle
Your clothes with their bustle,
And then at the top, on the landing
The servants in gay dresses standing
Shout: Madame la Comtesse de Gudelfeld!
Your fan in your hand, talking loudly,
Through the chamber you wander on proudly;
With diamonds gaily bedizen’d,
In pearls and Brussels lace prison’d,
Your snowy bosom with madness
Is heaving in uncontroll’d gladness.
What smiles, nods, polite interjections!
What curtsies and deep genuflexions!
The Duchess of Pavia
Calls you her cara mia;
The nobles and courtiers advancing
Invite you to join in the dancing;
And the heir to the crown (who’s thought witty)
Says loudly: How graceful and pretty
Are all the stern movements of Gudelfeld!{161}
But if, poor creature, you money did lack,
The world would straightway show you its back;
The very lackeys with loathing
Would spit on your clothing;
’Stead of bows and civility,
Nought but vulgar scurrility;
The Duchess would cross herself rudely,
And the Crown Prince take snuff, and say shrewdly:
She smells of garlic—this Gudelfeld!

4. AWAY!

If by one woman thou’rt jilted, love
Another, and so forget her;
To pack up thy knapsack, and straight remove
From the town will be still better.
Thou’lt soon discover a blue lake fair,
By weeping willows surrounded;
Thy trifling grief thou’lt weep away there,
Thy pangs so little founded.
Whilst climbing up the hillside fast,
Thou’lt pant and groan full loudly;
But when on the rocky summit at last,
Thou’lt hear the eagle scream proudly.
An eagle thyself thou’lt seem to be,
New life the change will bestow thee;
Thou’lt feel thou hast lost, when thus set free,
Not much in the world below thee.

5. WINTER.

The cold may burn us sadly
Like fire, and mortals hurry
Amidst the snowdrift madly,
With still-increasing flurry.
O winter stern and chilly,
When frozen are our noses,
And piano-strumming silly
Our ears so discomposes!
I like the summer only
When in the wood I’m roving
With my own griefs all-lonely,
And scanning verses loving.

{162}

6. THE OLD CHIMNEYPIECE.

Outside fall the snowflakes lightly
Through the night, loud raves the storm
In my room the fire glows brightly,
And ’tis cosy, silent, warm.
Musing sit I on the settle
By the firelight’s cheerful blaze,
Listening to the busy kettle
Humming long-forgotten lays.
And beside me sits a kitten,
Warming at the blaze her feet;
Strangely are my senses smitten
As the flickering flames they meet.
Many a dim long-buried story
O’er me soon begins to rise,
But with dead and faded glory,
And in strange and mask’d disguise.
Lovely women with shrewd faces
Greet me with a secret smile,
Then the harlequins run races,
Laughing merrily the while.
Distant marble-gods nod kindly,
Dreamily beside them grow
Fable-flow’rs, whose leaves wave blindly
In the moonlight to and fro.
Magic castles, once resplendent,
Ruin’d now, in sight appear;
Knights in armour, squires attendant
Quickly follow in their rear.
All these visions I discover
As with shadowy haste they pass,—
Ah, the kettle’s boiling over,
And the kitten’s burnt, alas!

7. LONGING.

Thou beholdest in thy vision
Fable’s silent flow’rs before thee,
And a yearning wild steals o’er thee
At their fragrant scent elysian.{163}
But thou from those flow’rs art parted
By a gulf both deep and fearful;
Thou becomest sad and tearful,
And at last art broken-hearted.
How they glitter! how they lure me!
Could I but the gulf pass over!
How the secret to discover,
And a bridge across procure me?

8. HELENA.

Thou hast call’d me forth from out of the grave
By means of thy magic will now,
And fill’d me full of love’s fierce glow—
This glow thou never canst still now.
O press thy mouth against my mouth,
Man’s breath with heaven is scented;
Thy very soul I’ll drain to the dregs,
The dead are never contented.

9. THE WISE STARS.

The flowerets sweet are crush’d by the feet
Full soon, and perish despairing;
One passes by, and they must die,
The modest as well as the daring.
The pearls all sleep in the caves of the deep,
Where one finds them, despite wind and weather
A hole is soon bored and they’re strung on a cord,
And there fast yoked together.
The stars are more wise, and keep in the skies,
And hold the earth at a distance;
They shed their light in the heavens so bright,
In safe and endless existence.

10. THE ANGELS.

Faithless as Saint Thomas, never
Could I in the heaven believe
Which both Jew and Priest endeavour
To compel men to receive.
That the angels, though, are real
I have never held in doubt;
Spotless, and of grace ideal,
On this earth they move about.{164}
Still I doubt if such a being
Wing’d is, it must be confess’d;
I have recently been seeing
Wingless angels, I protest.
With their dear and loving glances
With their loving hands so white
Men they guard, and all advances
Of misfortune put to flight.
Every one can comfort borrow
From their favour and regard;
Most of all that child of sorrow
Whom the people call a bard.

16. POEMS FOR THE TIMES.

1. SOUND DOCTRINE.

Quick, beat the drum, and be not afraid,
The suttler-maiden lovingly kiss;
This is the whole of knowledge, in truth,
The deepest book-learning lies in this.
Quick, drum the people out of their sleep,
And drum the réveille with the ardour of youth,
And as you march, continue to drum—
This is the whole of knowledge, in truth.
All Hegel’s philosophy here is found,
The deepest book-learning lies in this;
I’ve found it out, because I’m no fool,
And also because I drum not amiss.

2. ADAM THE FIRST.

Gendarmes of heaven with flaming swords
Thou sent’st in cruel fashion,
And drov’st me out of Paradise
Without the least compassion.
In search of another country, I
And my wife from Eden hasted;
Thou canst not alter the fact that there
The tree of knowledge I tasted.{165}
Thou canst not alter the fact that I know
Thy weakness and many blunders,
However mighty thou seemest to be
When wielding death and thunders.
O heavens, how pitiful is this
Consilium abeundi!
I call it a Magnificus
Of earth, a Lumen Mundi.
I shall not miss the spacious realms
Of Paradise one minute.
It is no genuine Paradise
When trees forbidden are in it.
I claim my full unfetter’d rights!
The slightest limitation
Changes my Paradise at once
To hell and desolation.

3. WARNING.

Worthy friend, ’twill be perdition
Books like this to think of printing!
Wouldst thou money earn or honour
Thou must bend in meek submission.
Never in this manner flighty
Shouldest thou before the public
Thus have spoken of the parsons
And of monarchs high and mighty!
Friend, thou’lt be by all forsaken!
Princes have long arms, the parsons
Have long tongues, and then the public
Have long ears, or I’m mistaken!

4. TO A QUONDAM FOLLOWER OF GOETHE.

(1832.)

Hast thou, then, superior risen
To the chilly dream of glory
Which great Weimar’s poet hoary
Wove around thee, like a prison?
Are thy old friends bores now voted?—
Clara, Gretchen,—names familiar,—
Serlo’s chaste maid, and Ottilia
In the “Wahlverwandschaft” noted?{166}
Thou’rt with Germany enchanted,
Art become a Mignon-hater,
And thou seek’st for freedom greater
Than Philina ever granted.
Like a Luneburgomaster,
Thou dost battle for the nation,
Holding up to execration
Kings, as causing all disaster.
And I hear with pleasure hearty,
What a pitch thy praises grow to,
And how thou’rt a Mirabeau, too,
At each Luneburg tea-party!

5. THE SECRET.

We sigh not, and the eye’s not moisten’d,
We laugh at times, we often smile;
In not a look, in not a gesture
The secret comes to light the while.
Deep in our bleeding spirit hidden,
It lies in silent misery;
If in our wild heart it finds language,
The mouth’s still closed convulsively.
Ask of the suckling in the cradle,
Ask of the dead man in the grave;
They may perchance disclose the secret
To which I never utt’rance gave.

6. ON THE WATCHMAN’S ARRIVAL IN PARIS.

“Good watchman with face so sad and despairing,
“Why runnest thou hither with headlong speed?
“My dear fellow-countrymen, how are they faring?
“My fatherland, is it from tyranny freed?”
All’s going on well, and liberty’s blessing
Is showering silently on us its stores,
And Germany, calmly and safely progressing,
Unfolds and develops herself within doors.
Unlike France, superficial are none of her blossoms,—
There freedom but touches the outside of life;
’Tis but in the depths of their innermost bosoms
That freedom with Germans is found to be rife.{167}
They’ll finish Cologne’s great cathedral, they tell us,
The Hohenzollerns[A] have brought this to pass;
A Hapsburg[A] has shown himself equally zealous,
A Wittelsbach[14] gives it some fine painted glass.
That true Magna Charta, a free constitution,
They’ve promised, and surely their promise they’ll keep;
A king’s word’s a prize, without circumlocution,—
Like the Nibelung stone in the Rhine it lies deep.
The Brutus of rivers, the free Rhine, they surely
Can never remove him from out of his bed;
The Dutchman his feet have fasten’d securely,
The Switzers securely are holding his head.
God will grant us a fleet, if we prove persevering;
Our patriotic exuberant strength
Will find a vent in sailing and steering,
The pain of imprisonment ending at length.
The seeds cast their shells and the spring’s blooming sweetly,
We draw a free breath at this time of the year;
If permission to print is denied us completely,
The censorship will of itself disappear.

7. THE DRUM-MAJOR.[15]

The old drum-major it is that we see;
Poor fellow, he’s pull’d down sadly!
In the Emperor’s time a youngster was he,
And merrily lived and gladly.
He used to balance his ponderous stick,
While a smile on his face play’d lightly;
The silver-lace on his tunic so thick
In the rays of the sun gleam’d brightly.
Whene’er with a mighty roll of the drum
He enter’d a village or city,
He caused an echo responsive to come
In the heart of each girl, plain or pretty.{168}
He came and saw and conquer’d too
Each fair one welcomed him in;
His black moustache was wetted through
With tears of German women.
Resistance was vain! In every land
That the foreign invaders came to,
The Emperor vanquished the gentlemen, and
The drum-major each maiden and dame too.
Our sorrows full long we patiently bore
Like oaks, with no one to heed ’em,
Until the Authorities gave us once more
The signal to battle for freedom.
Like buffaloes rushing on to the fray,
We toss’d our horns up proudly,
The yoke of France we cast away,
The songs of Körner sang loudly.
O terrible verses! the tyrant’s ear
At their awful sound revolted;
The Emperor and the drum-major in fear
Precipitately bolted.
They both of them reap’d the wages of sin,
And came to an end inglorious;
The Emperor Napoleon tumbled in
The hands of the Britons victorious.
In Saint Helena his time he now pass’d
In martyrdom, banish’d from France, Sir,
And, after long suff’ring, died at last
Of that terrible ailment cancer.
The poor drum-major, too, fell in disgrace,
And lost his situation;
In our hotel he took the place
Of boots,—what degradation!
He warms the oven, he scours the pots,
And wood and water fetches;
His grey head wags as he wheezingly trots
Up the stairs, so weak the poor wretch is.
When Fritz comes to see me, he finds himself
Inclined to jeer and rally
The comical lanky poor old elf
And his motions shilly-shally.{169}
O Fritz, a truce to raillery, please!
The sons of Germany never
Should fallen greatness love to tease,
Or to torment endeavour.
Such people you ought to regard with pride
And filial piety rather;
Perchance upon the mother’s side
The old man is your father!

8. DEGENERACY.

Has Nature’s self been going backward,
And human faults assuming, then?
The very plants and beasts, I fancy,
Now lie as much as mortal men.
I trust not in the lily’s chasteness;
The colour’d fop, the butterfly,
Toys with her, kisses, round her flutters,
Till lost is all her purity.
The violet’s modesty moreover
I hold full cheap. The little flower
With the coquettish breezes trifles,
In secret pants for fame and power.
I doubt if Philomel appreciates
The time she sings with pompous mien;
She overdoes it, sobs, and warbles
Methinks from nought but pure routine.
Truth from the earth is fast departing,
The days of Faith are also o’er;
The dogs still wag their tails, smell bully
And yet are faithful now no more.

9. HENRY.

In Canossa’s castle courtyard
Stands the German Cæsar Henry,
Barefoot, clad in penitential
Shirt—the night is cold and rainy.
From the window high above him
Peep two figures, and the moonlight
Gregory’s bald head illumines
And the bosom of Mathilda.{170}
Henry, with his lips all pallid,
Murmurs pious paternosters;
Yet in his imperial heart he
Secretly revolts and speaks thus:
“In my distant German country
“Upward rise the sturdy mountains;
“In the mountain-pits in silence
“Grows the iron for the war-axe.
“In my distant German country
“Upward rise the fine oak-forests;
“In the loftiest oak-stem ’mongst them
“Grows the handle for the war-axe.
“Thou, my dear and faithful country,
“Wilt beget the hero also
“Who in time will crush the serpent
“Of my sorrows with his war-axe.”

10. LIFE’S JOURNEY.

What laughter and singing! The sun’s rays crossing
Each other gleam brightly; the billows are tossing
The joyous bark, and there I reclined
With friends beloved and lightsome mind.
The bark was presently wreck’d and shatter’d,
My friends were poor swimmers, and soon were scatter’d,
And all were drown’d, in our fatherland;
I was thrown by the storm on the Seine’s far strand.
Another ship I now ascended,
My journey by new companions attended;
By strange waves toss’d and rock’d, I depart—
How far my home! how heavy my heart!
Once more arises that singing and laughter!
The wind pipes loud, the planks crack soon after—
In heaven is quench’d the last last star—
How heavy my heart! My home how far!

11. THE NEW JEWISH HOSPITAL AT HAMBURG.

A hospital for Jews who’re sick and needy,
For those unhappy threefold sons of sorrow,
Afflicted by the three most dire misfortunes
Of poverty, disease, and Judaism.{171}
The worst by far of all the three the last is,
That family misfortune, thousand years old,
That plague which had its birth in Nile’s far valley,
The old Egyptian and unsound religion.
Incurable deep pain! ’gainst which avail not
Nor douche nor vapour-bath, the apparatus
Of surgery, nor all the means of healing
Which this house offers to its sickly inmates.
Will Time, eternal goddess, e’er extinguish
This glowing ill, descending from the father
Upon the son,—and will the grandson ever
Be cured, and rational become and happy?
I cannot tell! Yet in the meantime let us
Extol that heart which lovingly and wisely
Sought to alleviate pain as far as may be,
Into the wounds a timely balsam pouring.
Dear worthy man! He here has built a refuge
For sorrows which by the physician’s science
(Or else by death’s!) are curable, providing
Cushions, refreshing drinks, and food, and nurses.
A man of deeds, he did his very utmost,
Devoted to good works his hard-earned savings
In his life’s evening, kindly and humanely,
Recruiting from his toils by acts of mercy.
He gave with open hand—but gifts still richer,
His tears, full often from his eyes were rolling,
Tears fair and precious, which he wept deploring
His brethren’s great, incurable misfortune.

12. GEORGE HERWEGH.[16]

When Germany first drank her fill,
You then were her obedient vassal,
Believing in each pipe-bowl still,
And in its black-red-golden tassel.
But when the fond delirium ceased,
Good friend, how great your consternation!
The public seem’d a very beast,
After its sweet intoxication!{172}
Pelted by vile abusive swarms
With rotten apples, in disorder,
Under an escort of gendarmes
You reach’d at length the German border.
There you stood still. A tear you wiped
Away, the well-known posts on spying
Which like the zebra’s back are striped,
With heavy heart as follows sighing:—
“Aranjuez, in lightsome mood
“Once stay’d I in thy halls so splendid,
“When I before King Philip stood,
“By all his proud grandees attended.
“He gave me an approving smile
“When I the Marquis Posa acted;
“My prose he could not relish, while
“My verses his applause attracted.”[17]

13. THE TENDENCY.

German bard! extol our glorious
German freedom, that thy lay
May possess our souls, and fire us,
And to mighty deeds inspire us,
Like the Marseillaise notorious.
Be no more, like Werther, tender,
Who for Lotte sigh’d all day;
Thou shouldst tell the people proudly
What the bells proclaim so loudly,—
Speak of dirks, swords, no surrender.
Gentle flutes no more resemble,
Be not so idyllic, pray!
Fire the mortars, beat to quarters,
Crash, kill, thunder, make them tremble.
Crash, kill, thunder like a devil
Till the last foe flies away;
To this cause devote thy singing,
Thy poetic efforts bringing
To the common public’s level.

{173}

14. THE CHILD.

The good their gifts in dream enjoy,
How did it fare with thee?
Scarce feeling it, you’ve got a boy,
Poor virgin Germany!
This boy an urchin frolicsome
Ere long shall we behold;
A first-rate archer he’ll become,
As Cupid was of old.
He’ll pierce the soaring eagle through;
And, proudly though he fly,
The double-headed eagle too
Struck by his bolt, shall die.
But that blind heathen God of love
Will he resemble not
In wearing neither clothes nor glove,
Nor be a sans-culotte.
The seasons in our land combine
With morals and police
To make both old and young incline
To wear their clothes in peace.

15. THE PROMISE.

You no more shall barefoot crawl so
Through the dirt, poor German freedom!
Stockings (as you find you need ’em)
You shall have, and stout boots also.
As respects your head, upon it
To protect your ears from freezin’
In the chilly winter-season
You shall have a nice warm bonnet.
You shall have, too, savoury messes—
Grand the future that’s before you!
Let no Satyr, I implore you,
Lure you onward to excesses!
Do not haste on fast and faster!
Render, as becomes inferiors,
Due respect to your superiors
And the worthy burgomaster.

{174}

16. THE CHANGELING.

A child with monstrous pumpkin head,
Grey pigtail, and moustache light red,
With lanky arms and yet stupendous,
No bowels, yet with maw tremendous,—
A changeling which a Corporal
Into our cradle had let fall
On stealing from it our own baby—
This monster, falsehood’s child, (or may be
’Twas in reality the son
Of his own favourite dog alone)—
What need to say how much we spurn it?
For heaven’s sake, drown it or else burn it!

17. THE EMPEROR OF CHINA.[18]

My father was a dreadful bore,
A good-for-nothing dandy;
But I’m a mighty Emperor,
And love a bumper of brandy.
These glorious draughts all others surpass
In this, their magical power:
As soon as I have drain’d my glass,
All China bursts into flower.
The Middle Kingdom bursts into life,
A blossoming meadow seeming;
A man I wellnigh become, and my wife
Soon gives me signs of teeming.
On every side abundance reigns,
The sick no longer need potions;
Confucius, Court-philosopher, gains
Distinct and positive notions.
The ryebread the soldiers used to eat
Of almond cakes is made now;
The very vagabonds in the street
In silk and satin parade now.
The knightly Order of Mandarins,
Those weak old invalids, daily
Are gaining strength and filling their skins,
And shaking their pigtails gaily.{175}
The great pagoda, faith’s symbol prized,
Is ready for those who’re believing;
The last of the Jews are here baptized,
The Dragon’s order receiving.
The noble Manchoos exclaim, when freed
From the presence of revolution:
“The bastinado is all that we need,
“We want no constitution!”
The pupils of Æsculapius perhaps
May tell me that drink’s dissipation;
But I continue to drink my Schnaps,
To benefit the nation.
And so in drinking I persevere;
It tastes like very manna!
My people are happy, and drink their beer
And join in shouting Hosanna!

18. CHURCH-COUNSELLOR PROMETHEUS.

Good Sir Paulus,[19] noble robber,
All the gods are on thee gazing
With their brows in anger knitted,
Furious at the theft amazing
Thou hast practised in Olympus—
Sorry for it they will make thee!
Fear the fate of poor Prometheus
If Jove’s bailiffs overtake thee!
Worse indeed his theft, because he
Stole the light in heaven dwelling
To enlighten us weak mortals—
Thou didst steal the works of Schelling,
Just the opposite of light,—nay,
Darkness we can feel and handle
Like the old Egyptian darkness,—
Not one solitary candle!

{176}

19. TO THE WATCHMAN.

(On a recent occasion.)

If heart and style remain still true,
I’ll not object, whatever you do.
My friend, I never will mistake you,
E’en though a Counsellor they make you.
They now are raising a terrible din
Because you’ve been sworn as a Counsellor in;
From the Seine to the Elbe, regardless of reason,
For months they’ve declaim’d thus against your sad treason:
His progress onward is changed of late
To progress backward; O, answer us straight—
On Swabian crabs are you really riding?
Is’t only court-ladies you now take pride in?
Perchance you are tired, and long for rest;
All night on your horn you’ve been blowing your best
And now on a nail you quietly stow it;
No longer for Germany’s hobby you’ll blow it.
You lie down in bed, and straightway close
Your eyes, but vainly you seek for repose;
Before the window the mockers salute us:
Awake, Liberator! What! sleeping, Brutus?
Ah, bawlers like these can never know why
The best of watchmen ceases to cry;
These young braggadocios cannot discover
Why man his exertions at length gives over.
You ask me how matters are going on here?
No breeze is stirring, the atmosphere’s clear;
The weathercocks all are perplex’d, not discerning
The proper direction in which to be turning.

20. CONSOLING THOUGHTS.

We sleep as Brutus slept of yore,—
And yet he awoke, and ventured to bore
In Cæsar’s bosom his chilly dagger!
The Romans their tyrants loved to stagger.—
No Romans are we, tobacco we smoke,
Each nation its favourite taste can invoke;
Each nation its special merit possesses—
The finest dumplings Swabia dresses.{177}
But Germans are we, kindhearted and brave,
We sleep as soundly as though in the grave;
And when we awake, our thirst is excessive,
But not for the blood of tyrants oppressive.
’Tis our great pride to be as true
As heart of oak and linden too;
The land which oaks and lindens gives birth to
Can never produce a Brutus of worth too.
And e’en if amongst us a Brutus were found,
No Cæsar exists in the country round;
Despite all his search, he would find him never,—
We make good gingerbread however.
We’ve six-and-thirty masters and lords,
(Not one too many!) who wear their swords
And stars on their regal breasts to protect them;
The Ides of March can never affect them.
We call them Father, and Fatherland
We call the country they command
By right of descent, and love to call so—
We love sour-crout and sausages also.
And when our Father walks in the street
We take off our hats with reverence meet;
Our guileless Germany, injuring no man,
Is not a den of murderers Roman.

21. THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN.

The world is topsy-turvy turn’d,
We walk feet-upwards in it;
The woodcocks shoot the sportsmen down,
A dozen in a minute.
The calves are seen to roast the cook,
On men are riding the horses;
On freedom of teaching and laws of light
The Catholic owl discourses.
The herring is a sans-culotte,
The truth is told by Bettina,
And puss-in-boots brings Sophocles
On the stage, with learned demeanour.{178}
An ape for German heroes has built
A Pantheon, for glory zealous;[20]
And Massmann has lately been using a comb,
As German papers tell us.
The German bears, I grieve to say,
Are atheists unbelieving,
And in their place the parrots of France
The Christian faith are receiving.
The Moniteur of Uckermark
With equal frenzy seems smitten;
The dead have on the living there
The vilest epitaph written.[21]
Then let us not swim against the stream,
Good friends! ’twould serve us but badly;
But let us ascend the Templehof hill,[22]
“Long life to the king!” shouting gladly.

22. ENLIGHTENMENT.

Have the scales that dimm’d thy vision
Fallen, Michael? Canst thou see
How they’re stealing in derision
All the choicest food from thee?
In return, divine enjoyment
Promise they in realms above,
Where the angels’ sole employment
Is to cook us fleshless love.
Michael, hath thy faith grown weaker,
Or thy appetite more strong?
Thou dost grasp life’s sparkling beaker,
And thou sing’st a hero-song.
Fear not, Michael! take thy pleasure
While on earth, and eat what’s good;
When thou’rt dead, thou’lt have full leisure
To digest in peace thy food.

{179}

23. WAIT AWHILE!

Because my lightnings are so striking,
You think that I can’t thunder too!
You’re wrong, for I’ve a special liking
For thunder, as I’ll prove to you.
This will be seen with awful clearness
When the right moment is at hand;
You’ll hear my voice in startling nearness,—
The word of thunder and command.
The raging storm will surely shiver
Full many an oak upon that day;
Each palace to its base shall quiver,
And many a steeple proud give way.

24. NIGHT THOUGHTS.

When, Germany, I think of thee
At night, all slumber flies from me;
I cannot close mine eyes for yearning,
And down my cheeks run tears all burning.
How swiftly speeds each rolling year!
Since I have seen my mother dear
Twelve years have pass’d away; the longer
I wait, my yearning grows the stronger.
My yearning’s growing evermore;
That woman has bewitch’d me sore!
Dear, dear old woman! with what fervour
I think of her! may God preserve her!
The dear old thing in me delights,
And in the letters that she writes
I see how much her hand is shaking,—
Her mother’s heart, how nearly breaking!
My mother’s ever in my mind;
Twelve long long years are left behind,
Twelve years have follow’d on each other
Since to my heart I clasp’d my mother.
For ages Germany will stand;
Sound to the core is that dear land!
Its oaks and lindens I shall ever
Find just the same, they alter never.{180}
For Germany I less should care
If my dear mother were not there;
My fatherland will never perish
But she may die, whom most I cherish.
Since I my native land saw last,
Into the tomb have many pass’d
Whom I so loved—When of them thinking
How sadly bleeds my spirit sinking!
I needs must count them,—as I count
My sorrows higher, higher mount;
I feel as though each corpse were lying
Upon my breast—Thank God, they’re flying!
Thank God! for through the window-pane
France’s clear daylight breaks again;
My fair wife enters, sweetly smiling,
And all my German cares beguiling!

NEW SPRING.

PROLOGUE.

Sometimes when o’er pictures turning
You have seen the man perchance,
Who is for the battle yearning,
Well-equipp’d with shield and lance.
Yet young loves are hov’ring round him,
Stealing lance and sword away;
They with flow’ry chains have bound him
Though he struggle in dismay.
I, too, in such charming fetters,
Bind myself with sad delight,
And I leave it to my betters
In time’s mighty fight to fight.

1.

’Neath the white tree sitting sadly,
Thou dost hear the far winds wailing,
Seëst how the mute clouds o’er thee
Are their forms in mist fast veiling;{181}
See’st how all beneath seems perish’d,
Wood and plain, how shorn and dreary;
Round thee winter, in thee winter,
Frozen is thy heart and weary.
Sudden downward fall upon thee
Flakes all white, and with vexation
Thou dost think the tree is show’ring
Snow-dust from that elevation.
Soon with joyful start thou findest
’Tis no snow-dust cold and freezing;
Fragrant blossoms ’tis of springtime
Cov’ring thee and fondly teasing.
What a shudd’ring-sweet enchantment!
Into May is winter turning,
Snow hath changed itself to blossoms,
And thy heart with love is yearning.

2.

In the wood, the verdure’s shooting,
Joy-oppress’d, like some fair maiden;
Yet the sun laughs sweetly downward:
“Welcome, young spring, rapture-laden!”
Nightingale! I hear thee also,
Piping, blissful-sad and lonely,
Sobbing tones and long-protracted,
And thy song of love is only!

3.

The beauteous eyes of the spring’s fair night
With comfort are downward gazing:
If love hath made thee so small in our sight,
Yet love hath the power of raising.
Sweet Philomel sits on the linden green,
Her notes melodiously blending;
And as to my soul her song pierceth e’en,
My soul once more is distending.

4.

Which flower I love, I cannot discover;
This grief doth impart.
In every calix I search like a lover,
And seek a heart.{182}
The flowers smell sweet in the sun’s setting splendour,
The nightingale sings.
I seek for a heart that like my heart is tender,
And like it springs.
The nightingale sings; his sweet song, void of gladness,
Comes home to my breast;
We’re both so oppress’d and heavy with sadness,
So sad and oppress’d.

5.

Sweet May hath come to love us,
Flowers, trees, their blossoms don;
And through the blue heavens above us
The rosy clouds move on.
The nightingales are singing
On leafy perch aloft;
The snowy lambs are springing
In clover green and soft.
I cannot be singing and springing,
Ill in the grass I lie;
I hear a distant ringing,
And dream of days gone by.

6.

Softly through my spirit ring
Blissful tones loved dearly;
Sound, thou little song of spring,
Echoing far and clearly.
Sound, till thou the home com’st nigh
Of the violet tender;
And when thou a rose dost spy,
Say, my love I send her.

7.

With the rose the butterfly’s deep in love,
A thousand times hovering round;
But round himself, all tender like gold,
The sun’s sweet ray is hovering found.
With whom is the rose herself in love?
An answer I’d fain receive.
Is it the singing nightingale?
Is it the silent star of eve?{183}
I know not with whom the rose is in love,
But every one love I:
The rose, the nightingale, sun’s sweet ray,
The star of eve and butterfly.

8.

All the trees with joy are shouting,
All the birds are singing o’er us—
Tell me, who can be the leader
In this green and forest chorus?
Can it be the grey old plover,
Wise nods evermore renewing?
Or yon pedant, who is ever
In such measured time coo-coo-ing?
Can it be yon stork, the grave one,
His director’s airs betraying,
And his long leg rattling loudly,
Whilst the music’s round him playing?
No, the forest concert’s leader
In my own heart hath his station,
All the while he’s beating time there,—
Amor is his appellation.

9.

“The nightingale appear’d the first,
“And as her melody she sang,
“The apple into blossom burst,
“To life the grass and violets sprang.
“She her own bosom then did bite,
“Her red blood flow’d, and from the blood
“A beauteous rose-tree came to light,
“To whom she sings in loving mood.
“That blood atones for, to this day,
“Us birds within the forest here;
“Yet when the rose-song dies away,
“Will all the wood too disappear.”
Thus to his youthful brood doth speak
The sparrow in his oaken nest;
His mate pips, while she trims her beak,
And proudly sits and looks her best.{184}
She is a homely wife and kind,
Broods well, and ne’er is seen to pout;
The father makes his children find
Pastime in studying things devout.

10.

The warm and balmy spring-night’s air
Hath waken’d every flower,
And take I not the greatest care,
My heart must succumb to love’s power.
But which of all the flowery throng
Is likely most to snare me?
The nightingales say, in their blissful song
Of the lily I ought to beware me.

11.

I’m sore perplex’d, the bells are ringing,
And by my senses I feel forsaken;
The spring and two fair eyes together
Against my heart an oath have taken.
The spring and two fair eyes together
Lure on my heart to a new illusion;
Methinks the nightingales and roses
Have much to do with all my confusion.

12.

Ah! I yearn for tears all-burning,
Tears of love and gentle woe,
And I tremble lest this yearning
At the last should overflow.
Ah! love’s pangs, that sweetly languish,
And love’s bitter joy, so blest,
Creep again, with heavenly anguish,
Into my scarce healèd breast.

13.

The eyes of spring, so azure,
Are peeping from the ground;
They are the darling violets,
That I in nosegays bound.{185}
I pluck them, thinking deeply,
And all the thoughts so dear,
That in my heart are sighing,
The nightingale sings clear.
Yes, all my thoughts she singeth
And warbleth, echoing far;
So that my tender secrets
Known to the whole wood are.

14.

When thy dress doth gently touch me,
As thou pass’st before my face,
How my heart exults, how wildly
Follows it thy lovely trace!
Then thou turnest round and gazest
With thy large bright eyes on me,
And my heart doth feel so startled,
That it scarce can follow thee.

15.

The slender water-lily
Peeps dreamingly out of the lake;
The moon, oppress’d with love’s sorrow,
Looks tenderly down for her sake.
With blushes she bends to the water
Once more her head so sweet—
Then sees she the poor pale fellow
Lying before her feet.

16.

If thou hast good eyes, and look’st
In my songs, when thou hast tried them,
Thou wilt see a fair young maiden
Wandering up and down inside them.
If thou hast good ears as well,
Thou canst hear her voice quite clearly,
And her sighing, laughing, singing
Thy poor heart will madden nearly.
For she will, with look and word,
Thee, like me, make wellnigh crazy:
An enamour’d springtime-dreamer
Thou wilt tread the forest mazy.

{186}

17.

What drives thee on, in the spring’s clear night?
Thou hast driven the flowers all mad with fright,
The violets tremble and shiver;
The roses are all with shame so red,
The lilies are death-pale, and hang their head,
They mourn, and falter, and quiver.
O darling moon, what an innocent race
Those sweet flowers are! They are right in this case,
I really have acted badly;
Yet how could I tell that in wait she would lie,
When I was addressing the stars on high,
With fierce love raving so madly?

18.

Thou sweetly lookest on me
With eyes so blue and meek;
My senses feel all-dreamy,
And not a word can I speak.
I everywhere am thinking
Of thy blue eyes’ sweet smile;
A sea of blue thoughts is spreading
Over my heart the while.

19.

Once again my heart is vanquish’d,
And my rancour is subsiding;
Once again hath May breath’d on me
Feelings tender and confiding.
Once more late and early haste I
Through the walks the most frequented,
Under every bonnet seek I
For my fair one’s face lamented.
Once more at the verdant river
On the bridge I take my station;
Peradventure she will come there,
And will see my desolation.
In the waterfall’s loud music
Hear I once again soft sighing,
And my gentle heart well knoweth
What the white waves are replying.{187}
Once again in mazy pathways
am lost in dreamy vision,
And the birds in every thicket
Hold the fond fool in derision.

20.

The rose is fragrant—yet if she divineth
Her own sweet fragrance, if the nightingale
Herself feels what round man’s soul softly twineth,
When echoes her sweet song across the vale,—
I cannot tell. Yet man is with vexation
Oft fill’d by truth. If nightingale and rose
The feeling only feign’d, the fabrication
Would still be useful, we may well suppose.

21.

Because I love thee, be not scornful,
If, flying, I avoid thy face;
How ill accords my visage mournful
With thine, so fair and full of grace!
Because I love thee, every feature
Grows pale and thinner day by day;
Thou’lt find me but a hideous creature,—
I’ll shun thee,—be not scornful, pray.

22.

I wander ’mid the flowers,
And blossom with them too;
I wander as in vision,
And at each step totter anew.
O hold me fast, my loved one,
Or at thy feet I’ll fall,
With love intoxicated,
In the garden, in presence of all!

23.

As the moon’s fair image quaketh
In the raging waves of ocean,
Whilst she, in the vault of heaven,
Moves with silent peaceful motion,{188}
Thus, beloved one, thou art moving,
Still and peaceful, and nought quaketh
In my heart save thy dear image,
While my own heart ’tis that shaketh.

24.

The hearts of us two, my loved one,
A Holy Alliance have made;
They well understood each other,
When close together laid.
Alas! the rose so youthful
That decks thy gentle breast,
Our poor ally and associate,
To death was wellnigh press’d.

25.

Tell me who first taught clocks to chime,
Made minutes, hours, divisions of time?
It was a cold and sorrowful elf;
He sat in the winter-night, wrapp’d in himself,
And counted the mouse’s squeakings mysterious,
And the wood-worm’s regular tick so serious.
Tell me who first did kisses suggest?
It was a mouth all glowing and blest;
It kiss’d and it thought of nothing beside.
The fair month of May was then in its pride,
The flowers were all from the earth fast springing,
The sun was laughing, the birds were singing.

26.

How the pinks are breathing fragrance!
How the thronging stars so tender,
Golden bee like, sadly glimmer
’Mid the heaven’s blue-violet splendour!
Through the gloom of yonder chestnuts
Gleams the manse, so white and stately,
And I hear the glass door rattling
While the dear voice thrills me greatly.
Sweet alarm and blissful tremor,
Soft embraces, terror-bringing—
And the youthful rose is list’ning,
And the nightingales are singing.

{189}

27.

Have I not the self-same vision
Dreamt before of all these blisses?
Were there not these same elysian
Looks of love, and flowers, and kisses?
By the stream the moon was peeping
Through the foliage of our bower;
Marble-gods still watch were keeping
At the entrance in that hour.
Ah! I know how soon is over
Every sweet and blissful vision,
How the snow’s cold dress doth cover
Heart and tree in sad derision.
How e’en we are fast congealing,
Careless, and no love possessing,
We, who’re now so softly feeling,
Heart to heart so softly pressing!

28.

Kisses that one steals in darkness,
And in darkness then returns—
How such kisses fire the spirit,
If with honest love it burns!
Pensive, and with fond remembrance,
Then the spirit loves to dwell
Much on days that long have vanish’d,
Much on future days as well.
Yet methinks that too much thinking
Dang’rous is, if kiss we will;—
Weep, then, rather, darling spirit,
For to weep is easier still.

29.

There was an aged monarch,
His heart was sad, his head was grey;
This poor and aged monarch
A young wife married one day.
There was a handsome page, too,
Fair was his hair, and light his mien;
The silken train he carried
Of the aforesaid young Queen.{190}
Dost know the ancient ballad?
It sounds so sweet, it sounds so sad
They both of them must perish,
For too much affection they had.

30.

In my remembrance blossom
The images long forsaken—
Within thy voice what is there
By which so deeply I’m shaken?
Say not that thou dost love me!
I know that earth’s fairest treasure,
Sweet love and happy spring time,
’Twould shame beyond all measure.
Say not that thou dost love me!
A silent kiss I’ll bestow thee;
Then smile, when I to-morrow
The withered roses show thee.

31.

“Linden blossoms drunk with moonlight
“Fly about in fragrant showers,
“And the nightingale’s sweet music
“Fills the air and leafy bowers.
“Ah! how sweet it is, my loved one,
Neath these lindens to be sitting,
“When the glimm’ring golden moonbeams
“Through the fragrant leaves are flitting.
“If thou lookest on the lime-leaf,
“Thou a heart’s form wilt discover;
“Therefore are the lindens ever
“Chosen seats of each fond lover.
“Yet thou smilest, as though buried
“In far distant visions yearning—
“Speak, belovèd, all the wishes
“That in thy dear heart are burning.”
Ah, my darling! I will tell thee
Whence my thoughts proceed, and whither:
Fain I’d see the chilly north-wind
Sudden bring white snowstorms hither.{191}
So that we, with furs well cover’d,
And in gaudy sledges riding,
Cracking whips, with bells loud ringing,
Might o’er stream and plain be gliding.

32.

Through the forest, in the moonlight,
I the elves saw riding proudly;
And I heard their trumpets sounding,
And I hear their bells ring loudly.
Their white horses had upon them
Golden staghorns, whilst proceeding
Swiftly on—like flights of wild swans
Through the air the train was speeding.
Smilingly the queen bent tow’rds me,
Smiling, as the band rode by me;
Is’t a sign that new love’s coming,
Or a sign that death is nigh me?

33.

In the morning send I violets,
Early in the wood discover’d,
And at evening bring I roses
Pluck’d while twilight’s hour still hover’d.
Knowest thou the hidden language
By these lovely flowerets spoken?
Truth by day-time, love at night-time—
’Tis of this that they’re the token!

34.

Thy letter, sent to prove me,
Inflicts no sense of wrong;
No longer wilt thou love me,—
Thy letter, though, is long.
Twelve sides, to tell thy views all!
A manuscript, in fact!
In giving a refusal
Far otherwise we act.

35.

Care not, if my love I’m telling
Unto all the world around,
When my mouth, thy beauty praising,
Full of metaphor is found.{192}
Underneath a wood of flowers,
Lies in shelter safe below,
All that deep and glowing secret,
All that deep and secret glow.
If suspicious sparks should issue
From the roses,—fearless be!
This dull world in flames believes not,
But believes them poetry.

36.

Day and night alike the springtime
Makes with sounding life all-teeming;
Like a verdant echo can it
Enter even in my dreaming.
Then the birds sing yet more sweetly
Than before, and softer breezes
Fill the air, the violet’s fragrance
With still wilder yearning pleases.
E’en the roses blossom redder,
And a child-like golden glory
Bear they, like the heads of angels
In the pictures of old story.
And myself I almost fancy
Some sweet nightingale, when singing
Of my love to those fair roses,
Wondrous songs my vision bringing—
Till I’m waken’d by the sunlight,
Or by that delicious bustle
Of the nightingales of springtime
That before my window rustle.

37.

Stars with golden feet are wand’ring
Yonder, and they gently weep
That they cannot earth awaken,
Who in night’s arms is asleep.
List’ning stand the silent forests,
Every leaf an ear doth seem!
How its shadowy arm the mountain
Stretcheth out, as though in dream.{193}
What call’d yonder? In my bosom
Rings the echo of the tone.
Was it my beloved one speaking,
Or the nightingale alone?

38.

The spring is solemn, mournful only
Are all its dreams, each flower appears
Weigh’d down by grief, the song all-lonely
Of Philomel wakes secret tears.
O smile thou not, my darling beauty,
O smile not, full of charming grace!
But weep, that it may be my duty
To kiss a tear from off thy face.

39.

Once more from that fond heart I’m driven
Which I so dearly love, so madly;
Once more from that fond heart I’m driven—
Beside it would I linger gladly.
The chariot rolls, the bridge is quaking,
The stream beneath it flows so sadly;
Once more the joys am I forsaking
Of that fond heart I love so madly.
In heav’n rush on the starry legions,
As though before my sorrow flying—
Sweet one, farewell! in distant regions
My heart for thee will still be sighing.

40.

My cherish’d wishes blossom,
And wither again at a breath,
And blossom again and wither,
And so on until death.
This know I, and it saddens
All love and joy, once so blest;
My heart is so wise and witty,
And bleeds away in my breast.

41.

Like an old man’s face confounded
Is the sky so broad and airy,
Red, one-eyed, and close surrounded
By the grey clouds’ locks all hairy{194}
When upon the earth it gazes,
Flower and bud grow pale and sickly;
Love and song in all their phases
Fade away from men’s minds quickly.

42.

With sullen thoughts in chilly bosom cherish’d,
I travel sullen through the world so cold;
The autumn’s end hath come, a humid mist doth hold
Deep veil’d from sight the country drear and perish’d.
The winds are piping, hither, thither bending
The red-tinged leaves, that from the trees fall fast,
The bare plain steams, the wood sighs ’neath the blast,
The worst of all comes next—the rain’s descending!

43.

Late autumnal mists all-dripping
Spread o’er hill and valley fair;
Storms the trees of leaves are stripping,
And they ghostly look, and bare.
But one single sad tree only
Silent and unstripp’d is seen;
Moist with tears of woe, and lonely,
Shaketh he his head still green.
Ah! this waste my heart displayeth,
And the tree, still full of life,
Summer-green, thy form portrayeth,
Much beloved and beauteous wife!

44.

Grey’s the sky and every-day like,
And the town still looks afflicted;
Ever weak and castaway like,
In the Elbe its form’s depicted.
Long each nose is, and its blowing
Tedious an affair as ever;
All with pride are overflowing,
Both at pomp and cringing clever.
Beauteous South! O, how adore I
All thy gods, thy sky’s sweet blisses,
Since these human dregs once more I
See, and weather foul as this is!

{195}

PICTURES OF TRAVEL

THE RETURN HOME.

1823-4.

1.

On my life, a life of darkness,
Once a vision sweet shone bright;
Now that vision sweet hath faded,
And I’m veil’d in utter night.
When in darkness children wander,
Soon their spirits die away,
And to overcome their terror,
Some loud song straight carol they.
I, a foolish child, am singing
In the darkness spread around;
Though my song may give no pleasure,
Yet mine anguish it hath drown’d.

2.

In vain would I seek to discover
Why sad and mournful am I;
My thoughts without ceasing brood over
A tale of the times gone by.
The air is cool, and it darkleth,
And calmly flows the Rhine;
The peak of the mountain sparkleth,
While evening’s sun doth shine.
Yon sits a wondrous maiden
On high, a maiden fair;
With bright golden jewels all-laden,
She combs her golden hair.{196}
She combs it with comb all-golden,
And sings the while a song;
How strange is that melody olden,
As loudly it echoes along!
It fills with wild terror the sailor
At sea in his tiny skiff;
He looks but on high, and grows paler,
Nor sees the rock-girded cliff.
The waves will the bark and its master
At length swallow up, then methought
’Tis Lore-ley who this disaster
With her false singing hath wrought.

3.

My heart, my heart is mournful,
Yet May is gleaming like gold;
I stand, ’gainst the linden reclining,
High over the bastion old.
Beneath, the moat’s blue water
Flows peacefully along;
A boy his bark is steering,
And fishes, and pipes his song.
Beyond, in pleasing confusion,
In distant and chequer’d array,
Are men, and villas, and gardens,
And cattle, woods, meadows so gay.
The maidens are bleaching the linen,
And spring on the grass, like deer
The mill-wheel’s powd’ring diamonds,
Its distant murmur I hear.
Beside the old grey tower
A sentry-box is set;
A red-accoutred fellow
Walks up and down there yet.
He’s playing with his musket,
While gleameth the sun o’erhead;
He first presents and shoulders—
I would that he’d shoot me dead!

{197}

4.

With tears through the forest I wander,
The throstle’s sitting on high;
She, springing, sings softly yonder:
O wherefore dost thou sigh?
“Sweet bird, thy sister the swallow
“Can tell thee the cause of my gloom;
“She dwells in a nest all hollow,
“Beside my sweetheart’s room.”

5.

The night is damp and stormy,
No star is in the sky;
In the wood, ’neath the rustling branches
In silence wander I.
A distant light is twinkling
From the hunter’s lonely cot;
But within, the scene is but saddening,
And the light can allure me not.
The blind old grandmother’s sitting
In her leather elbow-chair,
All-gloomily fix’d like a statue,
Not a word escapeth her there.
With curses to and fro paces
The forester’s red-headed son;
With fury and scorn he’s laughing,
As he throws ’gainst the wall his gun.
The fair spinning-maiden’s weeping,
And moistens the flax with her tears;
The father’s terrier, whining,
Curl’d up at her feet appears.

6.

When I, on my travels, by hazard,
My sweetheart’s family found,
Her sister and father and mother,—
They gave me a welcome all round.
When they for my health had inquired,
They added, all of a breath,
That they thought me quite unalter’d,
Though my face was pale as death.{198}
I ask’d for their aunts and their cousins,
And many a tiresome friend;
I ask’d for the little puppy
Whose soft bark knew no end.
And then for my married sweetheart
I ask’d, as if just call’d to mind,
And they answer’d, in friendly fashion,
That she had but just been confin’d.
I gave them my very best wishes,
And lovingly begg’d them apart
That they’d give her a thousand greetings
From the bottom of my heart.
Then cried the little sister:
“The small and gentle hound
Grew to be big and savage,
And in the Rhine was drown’d.”
That little one’s like my sweetheart,
So like when she wears a smile!
Her eyes are the same as her sister’s
Which caus’d all my mis’ry the while.

7.

We sat by the fisherman’s cottage,
O’er ocean cast our eye;
Then came the mists of evening,
And slowly rose on high.
The lamps within the light-house
Were kindled, light by light,
And in the farthest distance
A ship was still in sight.
We spoke of storm and shipwreck,
And of the sailor’s strange life,
’Twixt sky and water, ’twixt terror
And joy in endless strife.
We spoke of distant regions,
Of North and South spoke we,
The many strange races yonder,
And customs, strange to see.{199}
The air on the Ganges is balmy,
And giant-trees extend,
And fair and silent mortals
Before the lotos bend.
In Lapland, the people are dirty,
Flat-headed, broad-mouthèd, and small;
They squat round the fire, bake fishes,
And squeak, and speak shrilly, and squall.
The maidens earnestly listen’d,
At length not a word was said;
The ship from sight had vanish’d,
For darkness o’er all things was spread.

8.

Thou pretty fisher-maiden,
Quick, push thy bark to land;
Come hither, and sit beside me,
And toy with me, hand in hand.
Recline thy head on my bosom,
Nor be so fearful of me;
Thou trustest thyself, void of terror,
Each day to the raging sea.
My heart is like the ocean,
Hath tempest, ebb, and flow,
And many pearls full precious
Lie in its depths below.

9.

The moon hath softly risen,
And o’er the waves doth smile;
Mine arms hold my sweetheart in prison,
Our hearts both swelling the while.
Blest in her sweet embraces
I calmly repose on the strand:
Hear’st thou aught in the wind as it races?
Why shrinks thy snow-white hand?
“O, ’tis not the tempest’s commotion,
Tis the song of the mermaids below;
Tis the voice of my sisters, whom Ocean
“Swallow’d up in its depths long ago.”{200}

10.

On the clouds doth rest the moon,
Like a giant-orange gleaming;
Broad her streaks, with golden rays
O’er the dusky ocean beaming.
Lonely roam I by the strand
While the billows white are breaking;
Many sweet words hear I there,
From the water’s depths awaking.
Ah! the night is long, full long,
And my heart must break its slumbers;
Beauteous nymphs, come forth to light,
Dance! and sing your magic numbers!
To your bosom take my head,
Soul and body I surrender!
Sing me dead, caress me dead,
Drain my life with kisses tender.

11.

In their grey-hued clouds envelop’d,
Now the mighty gods are sleeping;
And I listen to their snoring,
Stormy weather o’er us creeping.
Stormy weather! Raging tempests
On the poor ship bring disaster;
On these winds who’ll place a bridle,—
On these waves that own no master?
I the storm can never hinder,
Nor the mast and planks from creaking,
So I wrap me in my mantle,
Like the gods for slumber seeking.

12.

The wind puts on its breeches again,
Its white and watery breeches;
It flogs each billow with might and main,
Till it howls and rushes and pitches.
From the darksome height, with furious might
Pours the rain in wild commotion;
It seems as though the ancient Night
Would drown the ancient Ocean.{201}
To the ship’s high mast the sea-mew clings,
With hoarse and shrill shrieking and yelling;
In anxious-wise she flutters her wings,
Approaching disasters foretelling.

13.

The storm strikes up for dancing,
It blusters, pipes, roars with delight;
Hurrah, how the bark is springing!
How merry and wild is the night!
A living watery mountain
The raging sea builds tow’rd the sky;
A gloomy abyss here is gaping,
There, mounts a white tower on high.
A vomiting, cursing, and praying
From the cabin bursts forth ’mid the roar;
I cling to the mast for protection,
And wish I was safely on shore.

14.

’Tis evening, darker ’tis getting,
Mist veils the sea from the eye;
The waves are mysteriously fretting,
White shadows are rising on high.
From the billows the mermaid arises,
And sits herself near me on shore;
The veil which her figure disguises
Her snow-white bosom peeps o’er.
She warmly doth caress me,
And takes my breath away:
Too closely dost thou press me,
Thou lovely water-fay!
“My arms thus closely caress thee,
“I clasp thee with all my might;
“In hope of warmth do I press thee,
“For cold indeed is the night.”
The moon from her dusky cloister
Of clouds, sheds a paler ray;
Thine eye grows sadder and moister
Thou lovely water-fay!{202}
“No sadder nor moister ’tis growing,
“Mine eye is moist and wet,
“For when from the wave I was going,
“A drop remain’d in it yet.”
The sea-mew mourns shrilly, while ocean
Is growling and heaving its spray;
Thy heart throbs with raging emotion,
Thou lovely water-fay!
“My heart throbs with raging emotion,
“Emotion raging and wild;
“For I love thee with speechless devotion,
“Thou darling human child!”

15.

When I before thy dwelling
At morning happen to be,
I rejoice, my little sweet one,
When thee at thy window I see.
With thy dark-brown eyes so piercing
My figure thou dost scan:
Who art thou, and what ails thee,
Thou strange and sickly man?
“I am a German poet,
“Well known in the German land;
“When the best names in it are reckon’d,
“My name amongst them will stand.
“My little one, that which ails me
“Ails crowds in the German land;
“When the fiercest sorrows are reckon’d,
“My sorrows amongst them will stand.”

16.

The gleam o’er the ocean had faded not,
While the eve’s last rays were flitting;
We sat by the lonely fisherman’s cot,
Alone and in silence sitting.
The waters swell’d, while the mist rose above,
The restless sea-mew was screaming;
From out thine eyes, so full of love,
The tears were quickly streaming.{203}
I saw them falling on thy fair hand,
And on my knees soon sank I,
And then from off thy snow-white hand
The tears with rapture drank I.
Since that hour, my body hath fast decay’d,
My soul is dying with yearning;
I was poison’d, alas! by the hapless maid
With her falling tears so burning.

17.

Up high on yonder mountain
Stands a stately castle alone,
Where dwell three beauteous maidens,
Whose love in turns I have known.
On Saturday Harriet kiss’d me,
While Sunday was Julia’s right;
On Monday Cunigund follow’d,
Who well nigh stifled me quite.
To hold a fête in the castle
On Tuesday my maidens agreed;
The neighbouring lords and ladies
All came with carriage or steed.
But I was never invited,
To your great wonder, no doubt;
The whispering aunts and cousins
Observ’d it, and laugh’d right out.

18.

On the dim and far horizon
Appeareth, misty and pale,
The city, with all its towers,
In evening twilight’s veil.
A humid gust is ruffling
The path o’er the waters dark;
With mournful measure, the sailor
Is rowing my tiny bark.
The sun once more ariseth,
And over the earth gleams he,
And shows me the spot out yonder
Where my loved one was lost to me.

{204}

19.

All hail to thee, thou stately
Mysterious town, all hail,
Who erst within thy bosom
My loved one’s form didst veil!
O say, ye towers and gateways,
O where can my loved one be?
To your keeping of yore was she trusted,
And ye must her bail be to me.
The towers, in truth, are guiltless,
From their places they could not come down,
When she, with her trunks and boxes,
So hastily went from the town.
The gates, however, they suffer’d
My darling to slip through them straight;
A gate is ever found willing
To let a fool “gang her ain gait.”[23]

20.

Once more my steps through the olden path
And the well-known streets are taken,
Until I come to my loved one’s house,
So empty now and forsaken.
How narrow and close the streets appear!
How nauseous the smell of the plaster!
The houses seem tumbling down on my head,
So I haste away, fearing disaster.

21.

Once more through the halls I pass’d
Where her troth to me was plighted;
On the spot where her tears fell fast
A serpent’s brood had alighted.

22.

The night is still, and the streets are deserted,
In this house my love had her dwelling of yore;
’Tis long since she from the city departed,
Yet her house still stands on the spot as before.{205}
There stands, too, a man, who stares up at her casement,
And wrings his hands with the weight of his woes;
I look on his face with shudd’ring amazement,—
The moon doth the form of myself disclose.
Thou pallid fellow, thou worthless double!
Why dare to mimic my love’s hard lot,
Which many a night gave me grief and trouble
In former days, on this very spot?

23.

How canst thou sleep in quiet,
And know that I’m still alive?
I burst the yoke that’s upon me,
When my olden wrath doth revive.
Dost know the ancient ballad:
How of yore a dead stripling brave
At midnight came to his loved one,
And carried her down to his grave.
Believe me, thou wondrous beauty,
Thou wondrously lovely maid,
I’m alive still, and feel far stronger
Than the whole of the dead’s brigade!

24.

“The maiden’s asleep in her chamber,
“In peeps the quivering moon;
“Outside is a singing and jingling,
“As though to a waltz’s tune.
“I needs must look through my window,
“To see who’s disturbing my rest;
“There stands a skeleton ghastly
“Who’s fiddling and singing his best:
“Thy hand for the dance thou didst pledge me,
“And then thy promise didst break;
“To-night there’s a ball in the churchyard,
“Come with me, the dance to partake.
“He forcibly seizes the maiden,
“And lures her from out her abode;
“She follows the skeleton wildly,
“Who fiddles and sings on the road.{206}
“He hops and he skips and he fiddles,
“His bones they rattle away;
“With his skull he keeps nidding and nodding,
“By the moonlight’s glimmering ray.”

25.

I stood, while sadly mused I,
And her likeness closely did scan,
And her belovèd features
To glow with life began.
Around her lips there gather’d
A sweet and wondrous smile,
And as through tears of sorrow
Her clear eyes shone the while.
And then my tears responsive
Adown my cheeks did pour—
And ah! I scarce can believe it,
That I’ve lost thee evermore.

26.

Unhappy Atlas that I am! I’m doom’d
To bear a world, a very world of sorrows;
Unbearable’s the load I bear, and e’en
The heart within me’s breaking.
O thou proud heart! thy doing ’twas indeed,
Thou wouldst be happy, utterly be happy,
Or utterly be wretched, O proud heart,
And now in truth thou’rt wretched!

27.

The years are coming and going,
To the grave whole races descend,
And yet the love in my bosom
Shall never wax fainter or end.
O could I but once more behold thee,
Before thee sink down on my knee,
And die, as these words I utter:
Dear Madam, I love but thee!

28.

I dreamt: the quivering moon gleam’d above,
And the stars cast a mournful ray;
I was borne to the town where dwelleth my love,
Many hundred miles away{207}
And when I arrived at her dwelling so blest,
I kiss’d the stones of the stair,
Which her little foot so often had press’d,
And the train of her garment fair.
The night was long, the night was chill,
And cold were the stones that night;
Her pallid form from the window-sill
Look’d down in the moonbeam’s light.

29.

What means this tear all-lonely
That troubles now my gaze?
Of olden times the offspring
Still in mine eye it stays.
It had its shining sisters,
Who all have faded from sight,
With all my joys and sorrows,
Yea, faded in storm and night.
Like clouds have also fleeted
The stars so blue and mild,
Which into my yearning bosom
Those joys and sorrows once smiled.
Ah! even my love’s devotion
Like idle breath did decay;
Thou old, old tear all-lonely,
Do thou, too, pass away!

30.

The pallid autumnal half-moon
Looks down from the clouds on high;
The parsonage, silent and lonely,
By the side of the churchyard doth lie.
The mother is reading her Bible,
The son on the light turns his eyes,
All-sleepy, the elder daughter
Doth stretch, while the younger thus cries:
“Good heavens, how dreadfully tedious
“The days are! I’m quite in despair!
Tis only when there’s a burial
“One sees aught of life, I declare!{208}
The mother then says, midst her reading:
“You’re mistaken, four only have died
“Since the time when they buried your father
“By the gate of the churchyard outside.”
The elder daughter says gaping:
“I’ll starve no longer with you;
“I’ll go to the Count to-morrow,
“He’s rich and he loves me too.”
The son bursts out into laughter:
“At the tavern drink huntsmen three;
“They’re making money, and gladly
“Would teach the secret to me.”
The mother then throws her Bible
Full hard in his lanky face:
“Wouldst thou dare, thou accursed of heaven,
“As a robber thy friends to disgrace?”
They hear a knock at the window,
And see a beckoning hand;
And behold, outside the dead father
In his black preaching-garment doth stand.

31.

The weather is bad and stormy,
With rain and tempest and snow;
I sit at the window, gazing
On the gloomy darkness below.
One single light I see glimm’ring
That slowly moves in the street;
’Tis a woman holding a lantern,
And walking with tottering feet.
I expect that she’s making a purchase
Of meal and butter and eggs;
’Tis to bake a cake for her daughter
That she is out now on her legs.
The daughter’s at home in the arm-chair
And sleepily looks at the light,
Her golden locks stray over
Her face so lovely and bright.

{209}

32.

’Tis thought that I am tormented,
By love’s bitter sorrow distress’d,
And at length I myself believe it
As well as all the rest.
Thou great-eyed little maiden,
I ever have whisper’d apart:
I love thee beyond expression,
While love is gnawing my heart.
’Twas but in my lonely chamber
That I dared my love to proclaim,
And, ah! I have ever been silent,
When into thy presence I came.
When there, the evil angels
Appear’d, and my lips they held;
And, ah! ’tis by evil angels
That my joy hath now been dispell’d.

33.

O thy tender lily-fingers,
Could I once again but kiss them,
Press them softly to my heart,
And then die in silent weeping!
O thy violet eyes so radiant
Hover near me day and night,
And I’m troubled: what forebodeth
All this sweet, this blue enigma?

34.

“Hath she then no word e’er spoken
“Of thy passion, hapless lover?
“In her sweet eyes couldst thou never
“Signs of answering love discover?
“Through her sweet eyes couldst thou never
“Reach her soul, and so get at her?
“Yet thou art not thought a blockhead,
“Worthy friend, in such a matter.”

35.

They loved each other, but neither
Would be the first to confess;
Like foes, they gaz’d at each other,
And would die of their love’s distress.{210}
They parted at length, and thereafter,
Except in vision, ne’er met;
From life they long have departed,
And scarcely know of it yet.

36.

And when I to you my grief did confide,
You only yawn’d, and nothing replied;
But when I reduced my sorrow to rhyme,
You praised me greatly, and call’d it sublime.

37.

I call’d the devil, and he came,
And with wonder his form did I closely scan;
He is not ugly, and is not lame,
But really a handsome and charming man.
A man in the prime of life is the devil,
Obliging, a man of the world, and civil;
A diplomatist too, well skill’d in debate,
He talks right glibly of church and state.
He’s rather pale, but it’s really not strange,
For his studies through Sanskrit and Hegel range.
Fouqué is still his favourite poet;
But criticism he’ll touch no more,
But has handed that subject entirely o’er
To his grandmother Hecate, that she may know it.
My juridical works did he kindly praise,
His favourite hobby in former days.
He said that my friendship was not too dear,
And then he nodded, and look’d severe,
And afterwards asked if it wasn’t the case
We had met at the Spanish ambassador’s rout?
And when I look’d him full in the face
I saw him to be an old friend without doubt.

38.

Man, revile not thou the devil,
For the path of life is short,
And damnation everlasting
Is too true, not mere report.
Man, pay all the debts thou owest,
For the path of life is long,
And thou’lt often have to borrow
Just as usual, right or wrong.

{211}

39.

The three holy kings from the Eastern land
Inquired in every city:
Where goeth the road to Bethlehem,
Ye boys and maidens pretty?
The young and the old, they could not tell,
The kings went onward discreetly;
They follow’d the track of a golden star,
That sparkled brightly and sweetly.
The star stood still over Joseph’s house,
And they enter’d the dwelling lowly;
The oxen bellow’d, the infant cried,
While sang the three kings holy.

40.

My child, we once were children,
Two children, little and gay;
We crawl’d inside the henhouse,
And hid in the straw in play.
We crow’d as the cocks are accustom’d,
And when the people came by,
“Cock-a-doodle-doo!”—and they fancied
’Twas really the cock’s shrill cry.
The chests within our courtyard
With paper we nicely lined,
And in them lived together,
In a dwelling quite to our mind.
The aged cat of our neighbour
Came oft to visit us there;
We made her our bows and our curtsies,
And plenty of compliments fair.
For her health we used to inquire
In language friendly and soft;
Since then we have ask’d the same question
Of many old cats full oft.
We used to sit, while we wisely
Discoursed, in the way of old men,
And lamented that all was better
In the olden days than then;{212}
How love and truth and religion
From out of the world had fled,
How very dear was the coffee,
How scarce was the gold, we said.
Those childish sports have vanish’d,
And all is fast rolling away;
The world, and the times, and religion,
And gold, love, and truth all decay.

41.

My heart is sore oppress’d, with sighing
I think upon the days of yore;
The world was then in calmness lying,
And men were peaceful evermore.
All now is changed, in mournful chorus
Want and confusion round us spread;
The Lord seems dead that erst rul’d o’er us
Beneath us, is the Devil dead.
All now appears so drear and sadden’d,
Decay’d and cold, of joy bereft,
That, were we not by love still gladden’d,
No single resting-place were left.

42.

As the gleaming moon is piercing
Through the darksome clouds above,
So from out time’s darksome mirror
Peeps a vision full of love.
All upon the deck were sitting,
Proudly sailing down the Rhine,
And the shores, in summer verdure,
In the setting sun did shine.
Thoughtfully was I reclining,
Bent before a lovely maid;
In her beauteous, pallid features
Lo, the golden sunlight play’d.
Lutes were sounding, youths were singing,
Wondrous was our joy that day;
And the heavens became still bluer,
And our souls soar’d high away.{213}
Hills and castles, woods and meadows,
Like a vision fleeted by,
And I saw them all reflected
In the lovely maiden’s eye.

43.

In vision saw I my loved one
A worn, sad woman one day;
Her once so-blooming figure
Had wither’d and fallen away.
A child in her arms she carried,
By the hand another she led,
And grief and poverty plainly
In her walk, looks, and garments I read.
Across the market she totter’d,
And then did I meet her eye;
She looked upon me, and gently
I spake to her thus, with a sigh:
“Come with me to my dwelling,
“For thou art pale and ill,
“And food and drink I’ll earn thee
“By industry and skill.
“I’ll also nourish and cherish
“The children that with thee I see;
“But, my child so poor and unhappy,
“I’ll care the most for thee.
“I never will remind thee
“That I loved thee so dearly of yore,
“And when at length thou diest,
“I’ll weep at thy grave full sore.”

44.

“Friend! why always thus endeavour
“To repeat the same old story?
“Wilt thou brooding sit for ever
“On love’s eggs grown old and hoary?
“Ah! ’tis but the usual custom,
“Chickens from the shells are crawling;
“In a book thou seek’st to thrust ’em,
“While they’re fluttering and calling!”{214}

45.

Prythee, be not thou impatient
If there still are loudly ringing
Many of my old sad numbers
In the newest songs I’m singing.
Wait awhile, and soon the echo
Will have died away of sorrow,
And a new-born song-spring softly
From the heal’d heart shoot to-morrow.

46.

’Tis now full time that my folly I drop,
And return to sober reason;
This comedy now ’twere better to stop
That we’ve played for so long a season.
In a gay and highly romantic style
The gorgeous coulisses were painted;
My knight’s cloak glitter’d, while I was the while
With the finest sensations acquainted.
And now that I, while more sober I grow,
Am against this toying inveighing,
I feel that I’m still as wretched as though
A comedy still I were playing.
Alas! unconsciously and in jest
Of my feelings was I the narrator;
And I’ve play’d, with my own death in my breast,
The dying gladiator.

47.

The monarch Wiswamitra,
Is restlessly striving now;
He must needs, by fighting and penance,
Obtain Wasischta’s cow.
O monarch Wiswamitra,
O what an ox art thou,
To have all this fighting and penance,
And all for nought but a cow!

48.

Let not grief, my heart, come o’er thee
Bear thy lot with faith unshaken,
For what winter may have taken
Will returning spring restore thee.{215}
And how much remaineth over!
And how fair the world is still!
And, my heart, if ’tis thy will,
Thou of All mayst be the lover!

49.

A flow’ret thou resemblest,
So pure and fair and blest;
But when I view thee, sorrow
Straight creepeth to my breast.
I feel as though inspired
My hands on thy head to lay,
And pray that God may keep thee
So blest, fair, pure, for aye.

50.

Child! it would be thy perdition,
And the greatest pains I’ve taken
Ne’er within thy fond heart tow’rd me
Loving feelings to awaken.
Now that I’ve so soon succeeded,
To my vow I’m wellnigh faithless,
And this thought steals o’er me often:
Would that thou could’st love me nathless.

51.

When on my couch I’m lying
In night and pillows conceal’d,
A sweet and charming image
Before me stands reveal’d.
As soon as silent slumber
Hath closed mine eyes in sleep,
Into my dream this image
Doth softly, gently creep.
Yet with the dream of morning
It ne’er doth melt away,
For in mine inmost bosom
I bear it all the day.

52.

Maiden with the mouth so rosy,
With the eyes so sweet and bright,
O my darling little maiden,
I of thee think day and night.{216}
Long is now the winter evening,
Fain would I disperse its gloom,
Sitting by thee, talking with thee
In thy trusty little room.
To my lips I’d fain be pressing
Thy dear little snowy hand,
With my falling tears caressing
Thy dear little snowy hand.

53.

Though outside snow-piles are forming,
Though ’tis hailing, though ’tis storming,
Rattling ’gainst the window-pane,
Nevermore will I complain,
For within my breast I bear
Spring-joys and love’s image fair.

54.

Some make prayers to the Madonna,
Others unto Paul and Peter;
Thee alone, of suns the fairest,
Thee alone will I e’er honour.
Let me be with kisses laden,
Be thou kindly, be thou gracious,
’Mongst all maidens sun the fairest,
’Neath the sun the fairest maiden!

55.

Did not my pallid face betray
My loving woe unto thee?
And wilt thou that my haughty mouth
With begging words shall woo thee?
Alas! this mouth is far too proud,
’Twas made but for kissing and sighing;
Perchance it may speak a scornful word,
While I with sorrow am dying.

56.

Worthy friend, thou’rt deep in love,
And beneath new pangs thou’rt fretting;
Darker grows it in thy head,
In thy heart ’tis lighter getting.{217}
Worthy friend, thou’rt deep in love,
And thou fain would’st hide thy yearning
Yet I see thy heart’s fierce glow
Through thy waistcoat hotly burning.

57.

I fain would linger by thee,
And rest beside thee too;
Away thou needs must hie thee,
Thou hast so much to do.
I said that I surrender’d
My very soul to thee;
An answering bow was tender’d,
Thou laughedst full of glee.
Thou cruelly didst use me,
And treat my love amiss;
At last thou didst refuse me
The usual parting kiss.
Don’t think that I deem it my duty
To shoot myself any the more;
For all of this, my beauty,
Has happen’d to me before.

58.

A pair of sapphires are thine eyes,
So clear, so sweetly roving;
O three times happy is the man
Whom those fair eyes are loving.
Thy heart, it is a diamond,
A sparkling radiance throwing;
O three times happy is the man
For whom with love ’tis glowing.
Thy lips are very rubies bright,
One never can see fairer;
O three times happy is the man
Who of their love is sharer.
O did I know the happy man!
O could I unattended
Within the green wood meet with him,—
His luck would soon be ended!

{218}

59.

While with loving words, but lying,
I have bound me to thy breast,
Now in my own fetters dying,
Into earnest turns my jest.
When thou jestingly dost fly me,
By a rightful impulse led,
Then the powers of hell draw nigh me,
And I really shoot me dead.

60.

Too fragmentary is World and Life;
I’ll go to the German professor, who’s rife
With schemes for putting Life’s pieces together,
Whereby a passable System’s unfurl’d;
Ragged nightcaps and dressing-gowns keep out the weather,
Stop the gaps in the edifice crack’d of the world.

61.

This evening they’ve a party,
The house is fill’d with light;
By yonder shining window
A shadowy form’s in sight.
Thou see’st me not, in darkness
I stand below and apart;
Still less canst thou see ever
Inside my darksome heart.
My darksome heart doth love thee,
It loves thee and it breaks,
And breaks, and bleeds, and quivers,
But thou see’st not how it aches.

62.

I would that my woes all their fulness
In one single word could convey;
To the merry winds straight would I give it,
Who would merrily bear it away.
That word so teeming with sadness
They would carry, my loved one, to thee
Thou wouldst hear it at every moment,
Wouldst hear it where’er thou mightst be.{219}
As soon as thine eyelids at nighttime
Are peacefully closèd in sleep,
My word would straightway pursue thee
Far into thy visions most deep.

63.

Thou hast pearls, thou hast diamonds also,
Hast all that mortals adore;
Thine eyes are among the fairest,—
My loved one, what wouldst thou have more?
Upon thine eyes so beauteous
I’ve written many a score
Of sweet immortal ballads,—
My loved one, what wouldst thou have more?
And with thine eyes so beauteous
Hast thou tormented me sore,
And brought me to utter perdition,—
My loved one, what wouldst thou have more?

64.

He who for the first time loveth,
Though ’tis hopeless, is a God;
But the man who hopeless loveth
For the second time’s—a fool.
I, a fool like this, am loving
Once more, with no love responsive;
Sun and moon and stars are laughing,
I, too, join the laugh and—die.

65.

Never match’d the timid coldness
Of thy spirit, from the first,
With my love’s untutor’d boldness,
Which through rocks delights to burst.
Thou in love dost love the highway,
And I see thee walk through life
With thy husband taking thy way,
As an honest teeming wife!

66.

Counsel they gave me, and good instruction,
Pour’d on me honours, by way of seduction
Said I had only to wait for a while,
And their protection upon me should smile.{220}
Spite the protection they bid me hold cherish’d,
I before long should of hunger have perish’d,
Had I not happen’d a good man to see,
Who took an interest kindly in me.
Good man indeed! for he gives me my food;
Never can I forget conduct so good.
Pity I cannot with kisses reply,
For the good man is no other than—I!

67.

This young man, so good and worthy,
Cannot be too much respected;
Oft he gives me wine and oysters,
Gives me liquors well selected.
Coat and trousers fit him neatly,
His cravat is still more sightly;
And so comes he every morning
For my health to ask politely.
Of my wide-spread glory speaks he,
Of my talents and my graces;
Eagerly at my disposal
All his services he places.
And in company at evening,
With a face as if inspired
He declaims before the ladies
All my poems so admired.
O it is indeed most pleasant
Such a young man to discover
In the present day, when surely
All things good will soon be over.

68.

I dreamt that I was Lord of all,
And sat in heaven proudly;
The angels, ranged around my throne,
All praised my verses loudly.
And cakes I ate, and comfits too,
In value many a florin;
And Cardinal I drank the while,
And had no need of scorin’{221}.
Plagued by ennui, I long’d to be
On earth, with all its evil;
And were I not the Lord of all,
I’d fain have been the devil.
Thou long-legg’d Angel, Gabriel, go,
And hasten downward thither,
And find my worthy friend Eugene,
And bring him to me hither.
Within the College seek him not,
But o’er a glass of brandy;
Seek for him not in Hedwig’s Church,
But at Miss Meyer’s so handy.
The Angel then spread out his wings,
And with his whole soul in it
Flew down, and seized my worthy friend,
And brought him in a minute.
Ay, youth, I am the Lord of all,
And rule o’er every nation;
I always told thee I should come
To power and reputation.
Each day I work such miracles
As greatly would delight thee;
The town of A—— I’ll happy make
To-day, and so excite thee.
The paving-stones upon the road
Shall all be now converted,
And, lo, an oyster, fresh and clear,
In each shall be inserted.
A constant shower of lemon-juice
Like dew, shall serve as pickle,
And in the gutters of the streets
The finest wine shall trickle.
How all the A—er’s straight rejoice,
And to the banquet hasten!
The judges from the gutter drink
As if it were a basin.
And how at this divine repast
Rejoice the poets needy!
Lieutenants lick the streets quite dry,
And ensigns poor and greedy.{222}
The ensigns and lieutenants are
Wise in their generation;
They always think the present time
The weightiest in creation.

69.

From beauteous lips compell’d to part, and carried
Away from beauteous arms fast clasp’d around me,
Yet one more day I gladly would have tarried,
When came the post-boy with his steeds, and found me.
Child, this is very life, an endless wailing,
An endless farewell-taking, endless parting;
Is then thy heart to clasp mine unavailing?
Could not thine eye retain me, e’en at starting?

70.

We travelled alone in the gloomy
Post-chaise the whole of the night;
Each lean’d on the other’s bosom,
And jested with hearts so light.
When morning dawn’d upon us,
My child, how we did stare,
For the blind passenger,[24] Amor,
Was sitting between us there!

71.

Heaven knows where the haughty hussy
May have will’d to pitch her tent;
Swearing, with the rain fast falling,
All the city through I went.
From one tavern to another
Ran I swiftly in the rain,
And to every surly waiter
Did I turn myself in vain.
Then I saw her at a window,
Nodding, tittering as well:
Could I tell that thou wouldst live in,
Maiden, such a grand hotel?

{223}

72.

Like darkling visions the houses
Are standing all in a row;
Deep hidden in my mantle,
In silence I onward go.
The high cathedral tower
The hour of twelve doth proclaim:
My love, with her charms and kisses,
Awaits me with rapturous flame.
The moon is my attendant,
And kindly gleams in the sky,
And when I arrive at her dwelling,
I joyfully call up on high:
I thank thee, my olden companion,
That thou hast thus lighted my way;
I now at length can release thee,
Light the rest of the world now, I pray
And find’st thou some mortal enamour’d,
In solitude mourning his fate,
As me thou of old time didst comfort,
Him also O comfort thou straight!

73.

O what falsehood lies in kisses!
In mere show what joy’s convey’d!
In betrayal, O what bliss is!
Sweeter still to be betray’d!
Though thou mayst resist me, fairest,
Yet I know what thou allowest;
I’ll avow whate’er thou swearest,
I will swear what thou avowest.

74.

Upon thy snowy bosom
My head all-softly I lay,
And secretly can listen
To what thy heart doth say.
The blue hussars are blowing,
And riding in at the gate;
To-morrow my heart-beloved one
Will surely desert me straight.{224}
If thou wilt desert me to-morrow,
At least to-day thou art mine,
And in thine arms so beauteous
With twofold bliss I’ll recline.

75.

The blue hussars are blowing,
And riding out at the gate;
I come then, my loved one, and bring thee
A nosegay of roses straight.
Those were indeed wild doings,
Much folk and warlike display!
By far too many were quarter’d
Within thy bosom that day.

76.

I in youthful years did languish,
Suffer’d many a bitter anguish
From love’s fiery glow.
Wood is now so dear, the fire
Will for lack of fuel expire—
Ma foi! ’tis better so.
Think of this, O youthful fair one!
Chase away the tears that wear one,
And all foolish love’s alarms;
If thy life may not have perish’d,
O forget thy love once cherish’d—
Ma foi! within my arms.

77.

The eunuchs controverted,
When I raised up my voice;
They grumbled and asserted
My singing was not choice.
And then they all raised sweetly
Their voicelets petty and shrill;
They sang so finely and neatly,
Like crystal sounded their trill.
They sang of love’s fierce yearning,
Of loving effusions and love,
To tears the ladies all turning,
With tunes so adapted to move.

{225}

78.

I left you at first in July at the warmest,
In January now I find you once more;
In the midst of the heat you then were complaining,
And now you are cool’d, and cold to the core.
I shall soon leave again, and when next I’m returning
Neither warm shall I find you, nor yet quite cold;
I shall walk o’er your grave with silent composure,
While my own heart within me is wretched and old.

79.

Art thou then indeed so hostile,
Art thou tow’rds me changed so sadly?
I by all means shall lament it,
Thou hast treated me so badly.
O ungrateful lips, how could ye
Speak with malice cruel-hearted
Of the man who ofttimes kiss’d you
Lovingly, in days departed?

80.

Ah! once more the eyes are on me,
Which did greet me once with gladness,
And the lips once more address me,
Which once sweeten’d life’s long sadness.
E’en the voice I hear, whose accents
Charm’d me, as they sweetly falter’d;
I alone am not the same one,
Having home return’d, all-alter’d.
By those arms so white and beauteous
Lovingly embraced and closely,
To her heart I now am clinging,
Dull of feeling and morosely.

81.

On the walls of Salamanca
Soft refreshing winds are playing;
There, with my belovèd Donna,
On a summer’s eve I’m straying.
Round the fair one’s slender body
Doth my arm with rapture linger,
And her bosom’s haughty motion
Feel I with a loving finger.{226}
Yet a whisper fraught with sorrow
Through the linden trees is moving,
And, beneath, the dusky millstream
Murmurs sad dreams, disapproving.
“Ah, Señora! a foreboding
“Tells me, I shall hence be driven
“On the walls of Salamanca
“Ne’er again to walk ’tis given.”

82.

Thy voice and thine eye, when we first saw each other,
Convinced me thou saw’st me with heart not estranged;
And had it not been for thy tyrant mother,
I think that we kisses should straight have exchanged.
To-morrow again I depart from the city,
And on, in my olden course, wander I;
At the window my fair one is lurking in pity,
And friendly greetings I throw up on high.

83.

Over the mountains the sun mounts in splendour,
Afar sound the bells of the lambs as they stray;
My loved one, my lamb, my sun bright and tender,
How gladly once more would I see thee to-day!
I gaze up on high, with looks fond and loving—
My child, fare thee well, I must wander from thee;
In vain! for her curtain is still and unmoving—
She slumbering lieth and dreameth of me.

84.

At Halle, in the market
Two mighty lions are standing.
Thou lion-scorn of Halle,
Methinks they’ve tamed thee finely!
At Halle, in the market,
A mighty giant’s standing.
He hath a sword, and moves not,
He’s turn’d to stone by terror.
At Halle, in the market,
A mighty church is standing.
The students of each faction
Have there a place for praying.

{227}

85.

Glimm’ring lies the summer even
Over wood and verdant meadows,
And the gold moon, fragrance shedding,
Gleameth from the azure heaven.
Crickets at the brook with shrillness
Chirp; there’s motion in the water,
And the wand’rer hears a splashing,
And a breathing in the stillness.
Yonder at the lone stream sparkling,
See, the beauteous elf is bathing;
Arm and neck, so white and lovely,
Glisten in the moonbeams darkling.

86.

On the strange roads night is lying,
Heart is sick and limbs are weary;
But the moonbeams, softly vying,
Shed their light like blessings cheery.
Ah, sweet moon! thy radiant splendour
Scares away each terror nightly;
All my woes dissolve, and tender
Dew o’erflows my eyelids lightly.

87.

Death nothing is but cooling night,
And life is nought but sultry day;
Darkness draws nigh, I slumber
Wearied by day’s bright light.
Over my bed ariseth a tree,
There sings the youthful nightingale;
She sings of love exulting,
In dreams ’tis heard by me.

88.

“Say, where is thy beauteous mistress,
“Whom thou sangest in the hour
“When thy heart was pierced so strangely
“By the flames of magic power?”
All those flames are now extinguish’d,
And my heart is cold and weary,
And this book’s the urn that holdeth
My love’s ashes sad and dreary.

{228}

89.

Full long have I my head tormented
With ceaseless thinking, day and night;
And yet thy darling eyes compel me
To love thee, in my own despite.
Now stand I, where thine eyes are gleaming,
Charm’d by their sweet expressive light;
That I should love again thus deeply
I scarcely can believe aright.

90.

When thou hast become my wedded wife
Thy joy shall know no measure;
Thou’lt live in happiness all thy life,
In uninterrupted pleasure.
And I will very patient be
E’en ’neath thy reviling and curses;
But we must part most certainly
If thou abusest my verses.

91.

Little by thee comprehended,
Little knew I thee, good brother;
When we in the mud descended
Soon we understood each other.

92.

Near me dwelleth Don Henriques,
As the “handsome” known and fêted;
Our apartments are adjoining,
By a thin wall separated.
Salamanca’s dames are blushing
As he in the streets is walking
Rattling spurs, mustachios twirling,
With his dogs behind him stalking.
But at evening’s silent hour he
All alone at home is sitting,
His guitar his fingers twanging,
Sweet dreams through his fancy flitting.
On the chords with vigour plays he,
His wild phantasies beginning—
O it drives me mad to hear him
Keeping up his wretched dinning.

{229}

THE HARTZ-JOURNEY.

1824.

PREFACE.

In black coats and silken stockings,
White and courtly frills they hide them,
Gentle speeches and embraces—
Had they only hearts inside them!
Hearts within the breast, and love, too,
In the heart, yea, love all-burning;
Ah! I’m sick of their false prating
Of love’s sorrows and love’s yearning.
I’ll ascend the distant mountains
Where the peaceful huts are standing,
Where the breezes free are blowing,
And the bosom free’s expanding.
I’ll ascend the distant mountains
Where the dusky firs are springing,
And the haughty clouds are roaming,
Brooks are murmuring, birds are singing.
Fare ye well, ye polish’d chambers,
Polish’d lords and dames beguiling;
To the mountains now ascending
I’ll look down upon you, smiling.

1.

On the mountain stands the cottage
Of the aged mountaineer;
There the dark-green fir is rustling,
And the golden moon shines clear.
In the cottage stands an arm-chair,
Richly carved and wondrously;
He that on it sits is happy,
And the happy one am I!
On the footstool sits the maiden,
On my knee her arms repose;
Eyes are like two stars all azure,
Mouth is like the purple rose.{230}
And the stars so sweet and azure,
Large as heaven, she on me throws,
And she puts her lily-finger
Mocking on the purple rose.
No, we’re seen not by the mother,
For with industry she spins;
The guitar the father playing,
Some old melody begins.
And the maiden whispers softly,
Softly, in a tone suppress’d;
Many a most important secret
She to me hath soon confess’d:
“Since the death of aunt, however,
“We can’t go to see the sight
“Of the shooting-match at Goslar,
“Which was such a great delight.
“Whereas here ’tis very lonely
“On the mountain-top, you know;
“All the winter we’re entirely
“As though buried in the snow.
“And I am a timid maiden,
“And as fearful as a child
“Of the wicked mountain spirits,
“Who at night roam fierce and wild”—
Sudden is the sweet one silent,
Terrified by what she said,
And her little eyes she covers
With her little hands in dread.
Louder roars outside the fir-tree,
And the spinning-wheel loud hums;
Meanwhile the guitar is tinkling,
And the olden tune it strums:
“Fear thee not, my little darling,
“At the wicked spirits’ might;
“Angels keep, my little darling,
“Safe watch o’er thee, day and night.”

2.

Fir-tree with green finger’s knocking
At the window small and low,
And the moon, the yellow list’ner,
Through it her sweet light doth throw.{231}
Father, mother, gently snoring,
In the neighbouring chamber sleep,
Yet we two are gaily talking,
So that wide awake we keep.
“That thou’rt wont to pray too often,
“Is a thing I’ll credit ne’er,
“For thy lips’ convulsive quiv’ring
“Ill accords with thoughts of prayer.
“Ay, that quiv’ring, cold and evil,
“Every time affrights me sore,
“Yet thine eyes’ mild lustre husheth
“Thy sad anguish evermore.
“I, too, doubt if thou believest
“All that is the Christian’s boast;
“Dost believe in God the Father,
“In the Son and Holy Ghost?”—
Ah, my child! when yet an infant
Sitting on my mother’s knee,
I believed in God the Father,
Ruling all things wondrously;
Who the beauteous earth created,
And the men that on it move;
Who to suns, moons, stars predestined
All their tracks wherein to rove.
When, my child, I grew still bigger
Many more things I conceived,
And my reason wax’d yet stronger,
And I in the Son believed.
In the Son beloved, who, loving,
Open’d to us love’s door wide,
And who in reward, as usual,
By the mob was crucified.
Now that I am grown, have read much,
Wander’d over many a coast,
Doth my heart swell, and in earnest
I believe the Holy Ghost.
He hath done the greatest marvels,
And still greater doeth he;
He hath burst the tyrants’ strongholds,
Servants from their yoke set free.{232}
Olden deadly wounds he healeth,
And renews the olden law:
All men equal are, and noble
From the earliest breath they draw.
Every evil cloud he chaseth,
Drives the brain’s dark weft away,
That corrupteth love and pleasure,
Grinning at us night and day.
Thousand knights well arm’d for battle
Hath the Holy Ghost ordain’d,
All his pleasure to accomplish,
All by mighty zeal sustain’d.
See, their trusty swords are gleaming!
See, their noble banners wave!
Ah, my child! hast thou seen ever
Knights like this, so proud and brave?
Now, my child, look on me boldly,
Kiss me, look upon me nigh!
Such a daring knight, my fair one,
Of the Holy Ghost am I!

3.

Silently the moon is hiding
In the dark green fir-tree’s rear,
And our lamp within the chamber
Flickers faint, with glimmer drear.
But my azure eyes are beaming
With a light that brighter plays,
And the purple rose is glowing,
And the darling maiden says:
“Little elves and little people
“Pilfer all our bread and bacon;
“In the drawer at night they’re lying,
“But by morning all is taken.
“Next our cream the little people
“From the milk are wont to sup,
“Leaving, too, the bowl uncover’d,
“And the cat the rest drinks up.{233}
“And the cat a witch indeed is,
“For she crawls, while night-storms lower,
“Up the spirit-mountain yonder
“To the ancient ruin’d tower.
“There a castle erst was standing,
“Full of joy and glittering arms;
“Knights and squires, in merry torch-dance,
“Mingled with the ladies’ charms.
“Then a wicked old enchantress
“Men and castle too bewitch’d;
“Nought remaineth but the ruins,
“Where the owls their nest have pitch’d.
“Yet my late aunt used to tell us:
“If the proper word is said
“At the proper hour at nighttime
“At the proper place o’erhead,
“Then the ruins will be changèd
“To a castle fair once more,
“Knights and squires and ladies gaily
“Will be dancing as of yore.
“Him by whom that word is spoken
“Men and castle will obey;
“Drums and trumpets will proclaim him,
“Heralding his sov’reign sway.”
Thus the charming legends issue
From the mouth so like a rose,
While an azure starry radiance
From her sweet eyes overflows.
Round my hand the little maiden
Twines her golden hair with glee,
Calls by pretty names my fingers,
Kisses, laughs, then mute is she.
All within that silent chamber
On me looks with trusting eye;
Table, cupboard,—I could fancy
I had seen them formerly.
Like a friend the house-clock prattles,
The guitar scarce audibly
Of itself begins to tinkle,
And as in a dream sit I.{234}
Now’s the proper place discover’d,
Now the proper hour hath sounded;
If the proper word I utter’d,
Maiden, thou wouldst be astounded.
If that word I straightway utter’d,
Midnight would grow dim and quake,
Fir and streamlet roar more loudly,
And the aged mountain wake.
Lute’s soft strains and pigmy music
From the mountain’s clefts would burst,
And a flowering wood shoot from them
As in joyous spring-time erst.
Flowers, all-hardy magic flowers,
Leaves of size so fabulous,
Fragrant, varied, hasty-quiv’ring,
As though passion stirr’d them thus.
Roses, wild as flames all-glowing,
Dart from out the mass like gems;
Lilies, like to crystal arrows,
Upward shoot tow’rd heaven their stems.
And the stars, like suns in greatness
Downward gaze with yearning glow;
In the lily’s giant-calix
They their gushing radiance throw.
Yet ourselves, my darling maiden,
Alter’d more than all we seem;
Gold and silk and torches’ lustre
Joyously around us gleam.
Thou, yea thou, becom’st a princess,
To a castle turns this cot;
Knights and squires and ladies gaily
Dance with rapture, tiring not.
Thee and all, both men and castle,
I, yea I, have gain’d to-day;
Drums and trumpets loud proclaim me,
Heralding my sov’reign sway!

4.

Shepherd boy’s a king,—on green hills
As a throne he sitteth down
O’er his head the sun all-radiant
Is his ever golden crown.{235}
At his feet the sheep are lying,
Gentle fawners, streak’d with red;
Calves as cavaliers attend him,
Proudly o’er the pastures spread.
Kids are all his court-performers,
With the birds and cows as well,
And he has his chamber-music
To the sound of flute and bell.
And it sounds and sings so sweetly,
And the time so sweetly keep
Waterfall and nodding fir-trees,
And the king then goes to sleep.
In the meantime acts as ruler
His prime minister, the hound,
While his loud and surly barking
Echoes all the country round.
Sleepily the young king murmurs:
Tis a heavy task to reign;
“Ah! right gladly would I find me
“With my queen at home again!
“In my queen’s arms soft and tender
“Calmly rests my kingly head,
“And my vast and boundless kingdom
“In her dear eyes lies outspread.”

5.

Brighter in the East ’tis growing
Through the sun’s soft glimm’ring motion;
Far and wide the mountain-summits
Float within the misty ocean.
With the speed of wind I’d hasten,
If I seven-league boots had only,
Over yonder mountain-summits
To my darling’s dwelling lonely.
Gently would I draw the curtain
From the bed wherein she’s lying,
Gently would I kiss her forehead,
And her mouth, with rubies vying,{236}
Still more gently would I whisper
In her lily-ear so tender:
“Think in dreams, we love each other,
“And our love will ne’er surrender.”

6.

I Am the princess Ilse,
And dwell in Ilsenstein;
Come with me to my castle,
And there ’midst pleasures be mine.
Thy head I’ll softly moisten
With my pellucid wave;
Thou shalt forget thine anguish,
Poor sorrow-stricken knave!
Within my arms so snowy,
Upon my snowy breast,
Shalt thou repose, and dream there
Of olden legends blest.
I’ll kiss thee and embrace thee,
As I embraced and kiss’d
The darling Kaiser Henry,
Who doth no longer exist.
None live except the living,
The dead are dead and gone;
And I am fair and blooming,
My laughing heart beats on.
And as my heart is beating,
My crystal castle doth ring;
The knights and maidens are dancing,
The squires all-joyfully spring.
The silken trains are rustling,
The spurs of iron are worn,
The dwarfs beat drum and trumpet,
And fiddle and play the horn.
But thee shall my arm hold warmly
As Kaiser Henry it held;
I held him fast imprison’d,
When loudly the trumpet’s note swell’d.

{237}

THE BALTIC.

PART I. 1825.

1. EVENING TWILIGHT.

By ocean’s pallid strand
Sat I, tormented in spirit and lonely.
The sun sank lower and lower, and threw
Red glowing streaks upon the water,
And the snowy, spreading billows,
By the flood hard-press’d,
Foam’d and roar’d still nearer and nearer—
A wonderful sound, a whisp’ring and piping,
A laughing and murmuring, sighing and rushing,
Between times a lullaby-home-sounding singing,—
Methinks I hear some olden tradition,
Primeval, favourite legend,
Which I erst as a stripling
Learnt from the neighbours’ children,
When we, on the summer evenings,
On the house-door’s steps all cower’d
Cosily for quiet talking,
With our little hearts all attentive,
And our eyes all wisely curious;—
Whilst the bigger maidens,
Close by their fragrant flowerpots
Sat at the opposite window
Rosy their faces,
Smiling, illumed by the moon.

2. SUNSET.

The glowing ruddy sun descends
Down to the far up-shuddering
Silvery-grey world-ocean;
Airy images, rosily breath’d upon,
After him roll, and over against him,
Out of the’ autumnal glimmering veil of clouds,
With face all mournful and pale as death,
Bursteth forth the moon,
And behind her, like sparks of light,
Misty-broad, glimmer the stars.{238}
Once in the heavens there glitter’d,
Join’d in fond union,
Luna the goddess and Sol the god,
And around them the stars all cluster’d,
Their little, innocent children.
But evil tongues then whisper’d disunion,
And they parted in anger,
That glorious, radiant pair.
Now, in the daytime, in splendour all lonely,
Wanders the Sun-god in realms on high,—
On account of his majesty
Greatly sung-to and worshipp’d
By haughty, bliss-harden’d mortals.
But in the night-time,
In heaven wanders Luna,
Unhappy mother,
With all her orphan’d starry children,
And she gleams in silent sorrow,
And loving maidens and gentle poets
Devote to her tears and songs.
The gentle Luna! womanly minded,
Still doth she love her beautiful spouse.
Towards the evening, trembling and pale,
Peeps she forth from the light clouds around,
And looks at the parting one mournfully,
And fain would cry in her anguish: “Come!
Come! the children all long for thee—”
But the disdainful Sun-god,
At the sight of his spouse, ’gins glowing
With still deeper purple,
In anger and grief,
And inflexibly hastens he
Down to his flood-chilly widow’d bed.
* * *
Evil and backbiting tongues
Thus brought grief and destruction
E’en ’mongst the godheads immortal.
And the poor godheads, yonder in heaven,
Wander in misery,
Comfortless over their endless tracks,
And death cannot reach them,{239}
And with them they trail
Their bright desolation.
But I, the mere man,
The lowly-planted, the blest-with-death one,
I sorrow no longer.

3. THE NIGHT ON THE STRAND.

Starless and cold is the night,
The ocean boils;
And over the sea, flat on its belly,
Lies the misshapen Northwind;
With groaning and stifled mysterious voice,
A sullen grumbler, good-humour’d for once,
Prates he away to the waves,
Telling many a wild tradition,
Giant-legends, murderous-humorous,
Primeval Sagas from Norway,
And the while, far echoing, laughs he and howls he
Exorcists’ songs of the Edda,
Grey old Runic proverbs,
So darkly-daring, and magic-forcible,
That the white sons of Ocean
Spring up on high, all exulting,
In madden’d excitement.
Meanwhile, along the flat shore,
Over the flood-moisten’d sand,
Paces a stranger, whose heart within him
Is wilder far than wind and waters;
There where he walks
Sparks fly out, and shells are crackling,
And he veils himself in his dark-grey mantle,
And quickly moves on through the blustering night;—
Guided in safety by yon little light,
That sweetly, invitingly glimmers,
From the lone fisherman’s cottage.
Father and brother are out on the sea,
And all all alone is staying
Within the hut the fisherman’s daughter,
The wondrously lovely fisherman’s daughter.
By the hearth she’s sitting,
And lists to the water-kettle’s{240}
Homely, sweet foreboding humming,
And shakes in the fire the crackling brushwood
And on it blows,
So that the lights, all ruddy and flickering,
Magic-sweetly are reflected
On her fair blooming features,
On her tender, snowy shoulder,
Which, moving gently, peeps
From out her coarse grey smock,
And on her little, anxious hand,
Which fastens firmer her under-garment,
Over her graceful hip.
But sudden, the door bursts open,
The nightly stranger entereth in;
Love-secure, his eye reposes
On the snowy, slender maiden,
Who, trembling, near him stands,
Like to a startled lily;
And he throws his mantle to earth,
And laughs and speaks:
“See now, my child, I’ve kept my word,
“And I come, and with me hath come
“The olden time, when the gods from the heavens
“Came down to earth, to the daughters of mortals,
“And the daughters of mortals embraced they,
“And from them there issued
“Sceptre-bearing races of monarchs,
“And heroes, wonders of earth.
“But start not, my child, any longer
“Because of my godhead,
“And I pray thee give me some tea mix’d with rum
“For ’tis cold out of doors,
“And amid such night breezes
“Freeze even we, we godheads immortal,
“And easily catch the divinest of colds,
“And a cough that proves quite eternal.”

4. POSEIDON.

The sun’s bright rays were playing
Over the wide-rolling breadth of the sea;
Far in the roadstead glitter’d the ship
Destined to home to convey me.{241}
But a propitious wind was yet wanting,
And I sat on the white downs all calmly
Hard by the lonely strand,
And I read the song of Odysseus,
The olden, ever-youthful song,
From out whose sea-beflutter’d leaves
Joyfully rose to meet me
The breath of the deities,
And the shining spring-time of mortals,
And the blooming heaven of Hellas.
My generous heart accompanied truly
The son of Laërtes in wanderings and troubles,
Placed itself with him, spirit-tormented,
At guestly hearths,
Where beauteous queens were spinning their purple,
And help’d him to lie, and succeed in escaping
From giants’ caverns and nymphs’ embraces,
Follow’d him down to Cimmerian night,
And in tempest and shipwreck,
And with him endured unspeakable torments.
Sighing spake I: “Thou wicked Poseidon,
“Thine anger is fearful;
“I myself am anxious
“As to my own return.”
Scarce breath’d I these words,
When the sea foam’d on high,
And out of the snowy billows arose
The sedge-becrowned head of the seagod,
And scornfully cried he:
“Fear not, little poet!
“I’ll not for one moment endanger
“Thy poor little vessel,
“And thy dear life shall not be tormented
“By any critical tossing.
“For thou, little poet, hast never annoy’d me,
“No single turret was injured by thee
“In Priam’s sacred fortress,
“No single hair didst thou e’er singe
“In the eye of my son Polyphemus,
“And thou hast ne’er been advised or protected
“By the goddess of wisdom, Pallas Athene!”{242}
Thus cried Poseidon,
And sank ’neath the ocean again;
And at the vulgar seaman’s wit
Laugh’d under the water
Amphitrite, the clumsy fishwoman,
And the silly daughters of Nereus.

5. HOMAGE.

Ye songs! O my trusty numbers!
Up, up! and on with your arms
Bid the trumpet to blow,
And raise high on my shield
The youthful maiden,
Who’s now to rule my heart,
My undivided heart, as queen.
Hail to thee, youthful queen!
From the sun on high
Tear I his sparkling ruddy gold,
And of it weave a diadem
For thine anointed head.
From the fluttering blue-silken heaven’s veil,
Wherein night’s diamonds are gleaming,
Cut I a costly piece,
And hang, as coronation mantle,
Upon thy regal shoulders.
I give to thee, as courtiers,
Some well-bedizen’d sonnets,
Haughty terzinas and courtly stanzas;
My wit shall serve thee as footman,
And as court-fool my phantasy,
As herald, the laughing tears on my scutcheon,
My humour shall serve thee.
But I, O my queen,
Before thee kneel down,
In homage, on red velvet cushion,
And to thee hand over
The small bit of reason,
Which, out of compassion, was left me
By her who last govern’d thy kingdom.

6. DECLARATION.

Onward glimmering came the evening,
Wilder tossèd the flood,{243}
And I sat on the strand, regarding
The snowy dance of the billows,
And soon my bosom swell’d like the sea;
A deep home-sickness yearningly seized me
For thee, thou darling form,
Who everywhere surround’st me,
And everywhere call’st me,
Everywhere, everywhere,
In the moan of the wind, in the roar of the ocean,
In the sigh within my own breast.
With brittle reed I wrote on the sand:
“Agnes, I love thee!”
But wicked billows soon pour’d themselves
Over the blissful confession,
Effacing it all.
Ah too fragile reed, all fast-scatter’d sand,
Ah fugitive billows, I’ll trust you no more!
The heavens grow darker, my heart grows wilder
And with vigorous hand from the forests of Norway
Tear I the highest fir-tree,
And plunge it deep
In Etna’s glowing abyss, and thereafter
With fire-imbued giant-pen
I write on the dark veil of heaven:
“Agnes, I love thee!”
Every night gleams thenceforward
On high that eternal fiery writing,
And all generations of farthest descendants
Read gladly the heavenly sentence:
“Agnes, I love thee!”

7. IN THE CABIN AT NIGHT.

The sea its pearls possesseth,
And heaven its stars containeth,
But, O my heart, my heart,
My heart its love hath also.
Vast is the sea and the heavens,
Yet vaster is my heart,
And fairer than pearls or the stars
Glitt’reth and beameth my love.{244}
Thou little youthful maiden,
Come to my heart so vast;
My heart and the sea and the heavens
For very love are dying.
* * *
’Gainst the azure veil of heaven,
Where the beauteous stars are twinkling,
Fain I’d press my lips with ardour,
Press them wildly, madly weeping.
Yonder stars the very eyes are
Of my loved one, thousand-changing
Glimmer they and greet me kindly
From the azure veil of heaven.
Tow’rd the azure veil of heaven,
Tow’rd the eyes of my beloved one,
Lift I up my arms in worship,
And I pray, and thus beseech them:
Beauteous eyes, ye lights of mercy,
O make happy my poor spirit,
Let me die, and as my guerdon,
Win both you and all your heaven!
* * *
From those heavenly eyes above me
Light and trembling sparks are falling
Through the night, and then my spirit
Loving-wide and wider stretcheth.
O ye heavenly eyes above me!
Weep yourselves into my spirit,
That my spirit may run over
With those tears so sweet and starry!
* * *
Cradled by the ocean billows,
And by thoughts that seem like visions,
Silent lie I in the cabin,
In the dark bed in the corner.
Through the open hatchway see I
There on high the stars all-radiant,
Those sweet eyes so dearly cherish’d
Of my sweet and dearly loved one.{245}
Those sweet eyes so dearly cherish’d
Far above my head are watching,
And they tinkle and they beckon
From the azure veil of heaven.
Tow’rd the azure veil of heaven
Gaze I many an hour with rapture,
Till a white and misty curtain
From me hides those eyes so cherish’d.
’Gainst the boarded side of the ship,
Where my dreaming head is lying,
Rave the billows, the furious billows.
They roar and they murmur
Thus soft in my ear:
“O foolish young fellow!
“Thine arm is short, and the heavens are wide,
“And yonder stars are firmly nailed there;
“In vain is thy yearning, in vain is thy sighing,
“The best thou can’st do is to sleep!”
* * *
I dreamt, and dreaming saw a spacious heath,
Far overspread with white, with whitest snow,
And ’neath that white snow buried I was lying,
And slept the lonesome, chilly sleep of death.
Yet from on high, from out the darkling heavens,
Look’d down upon my grave those eyes all-starry,
Those eyes so sweet! In triumph they were gleaming
In calm and radiant but excessive love.

8. STORM.

The tempest is raging,
It floggeth the billows,
And the billows, fierce-foaming and rearing,
Rise up on high, and with life are all heaving
The snowy watery mountains,
And the small bark climbs o’er them,
Labouring hastily,
And suddenly plungeth it down
In the black, wide-gaping abyss of the flood.—
O sea!
Mother of beauty, the foam-arisen one!
Grandmother of love! O spare me!
Already flutters, corpse-scenting,{246}
The snowy, spirit-like sea-mew,
And wetteth his beak ’gainst the mast,
And longs,—eager to taste,—for the heart
Which proclaimeth the fame of thy daughter,
And which thy grandson, the little rogue,
Chose for his plaything.
In vain my entreaties and prayers!
My cry dies away in the blustering storm,
In the wind’s battle-shout;
It roars and pipes and crackles and howls,
Like a madhouse of noises!
And, between times, I audibly hear
Harp-strains alluring,
Songs all wild and yearning,
Spirit-melting and spirit-rending,
And the voice I remember!
Far away, on the rock-coast of Scotland,
Where the old grey castle projecteth
Over the wild raging sea,
There at the lofty and archèd window,
Standeth a woman, beauteous but ill,
Softly-transparent and marble-pale,
And she’s playing her harp and she’s singing,
And the wind through her long locks forceth its way
And beareth her gloomy song
Over the wide and tempest-toss’d sea.

9. CALM AT SEA.

Calm at sea! His beams all radiant
Throws the sun across the water,
And amid the heaving jewels,
Furrows green the ship is tracing.
Near the steersman lies the boatswain
On his stomach, snoring gently;
Near the mast, the sails repairing,
Squats the cabin-boy, all-tarry.
But behind his cheeks so dirty
Red blood springs, a mournful quiv’ring
Round his wide mouth plays, and sadly
Stare his eyes, so large and handsome.{247}
For the captain stands before him,
Raving, cursing, “thief” exclaiming:
“Thief! a herring you have stolen
“From the barrel, O you rascal!”
Calm at sea! From out the waters
Lifts himself a clever fishkin;
In the sun his head he warmeth,
Splashing with his tail so gaily.
But the sea-mew, soaring over,
Shooteth down upon the fishkin,
And his sudden prize fast holding
In his bill, again mounts upward.

10. THE OCEAN SPECTRE.

But I upon the ship’s edge was lying,
And gazed with my eyes all dreamy
Down on the glassy pellucid water,
And gazed yet deeper and deeper—
Till, deep in the ocean’s abysses,
At first like a glimmering mist,
Then, bit by bit, with hues more decided,
Domes of churches and towers appeared,
And at last, clear as sunlight, a city,
Antiquarian Netherlandish,
And swarming with life.
Reverent men, in garments of black,
With snowy frills and chains of honour,
And lengthy swords and lengthy faces,
Over the crowded market are pacing
Tow’rd the high-stair’d council-chamber,
Where Emperors’ stony images
Keep guard with sceptre and sword:—
Hard by, in front of the long row of houses,
With mirror-like glistening windows,
Stand the lindens all trimm’d into pyramids,
And silken rustling maidens are wandering,
A golden band round their slender bodies,
Their blooming faces neatly surrounded
By head-dresses velvet and black,
From whence their abundant locks are escaping.
Gay young fellows, in Spanish costume,
Proudly are passing and nodding.{248}
Aged women,
In garments all brown and strange-looking,
Psalm-book and rosary in hand,
Hasten with tripping step
Tow’rd the cathedral church,
Impell’d by the sound of the bells,
And the rushing notes of the organ.
Mysterious awe seizeth me too,
Caused by the distant sound;
A ne’er-ending yearning and sadness deep
Steal o’er my heart,
My scarcely-heal’d heart;
It seems as though its bitter wounds
By dear lips were kiss’d open,
And once again were bleeding
With drops hot and ruddy,
Which long and slowly downward fall
Upon an ancient house below
In yon deep-ocean city,
Upon an ancient and high-gabled house,
Where sits in lonely melancholy
A maiden at the window,
Her head on her arm reclined,
Like to some poor, forgotten child,
And I know thee, thou poor, forgotten child.
Thus deep, thus deep, then
Thou hidd’st thyself from me
In some childish conceit,
And couldst not reascend,
And sattest strange, among strange people,
Five hundred years,
And I meanwhile, with soul full of grief,
Sought thee over all the earth,
And ever sought thee,
Thou ever-beloved one,
Thou long-time-lost one,
Thou finally-found one,—
I’ve found thee at last, and again behold
Thy countenance sweet,
Thine eyes so prudent and faithful,
Thy smile so dear—
And never again will I leave thee,{249}
And downward hasten I to thee,
And with wide-spreading arms
Throw myself down on thy heart.
But just in time
I was seized by the foot by the Captain,
And torn from the side of the ship,
While he cried, laughing bitterly:
“Why, Doctor, are you mad?”

11. PURIFICATION.

Remain thou in thy ocean-depths,
Delirious dream,
That erst so many a night
My heart with false joy hast tormented,
And now, an ocean-spectre,
E’en in bright daylight threaten’st me—
Remain below, eternally,
And I’ll throw down to thee there
All my sins and my sorrows,
And folly’s cap and bells
That round my head so long have rattled,
And the cold and glistening serpent-skin
Of hypocrisy,
Which so long hath twined round my spirit,
My sickly spirit,
My God-denying, angel-denying
Unhappy spirit—
Hoiho! hoiho! Here comes the wind!
Over the plain so destructive when smooth
Hastens the ship,
And my rescued spirit rejoices.

12. PEACE.

High in the heavens there stood the sun
Cradled in snowy clouds,
The sea was still,
And musing I lay at the helm of the ship,
Dreamily musing,—and half in waking
And half in slumber, I gazed upon Christ,
The Saviour of man.
In streaming and snowy garment
He wander’d, giant-great,
Over land and sea;{250}
His head reach’d high to the heavens,
His hands he stretch’d out in blessing
Over land and sea;
And as a heart in his bosom
Bore he the sun,
The sun all ruddy and flaming,
And the ruddy and flaming sunny-heart
Shed its beams of mercy
And its beauteous, bliss-giving light,
Lighting and warming
Over land and sea.
Sounds of bells were solemnly drawing
Here and there, like swans were drawing
By rosy bands the gliding ship,
And drew it sportively tow’rd the green shore,
Where men were dwelling, in high and turreted
O’erhanging town.
O blessings of peace! how still the town!
Hush’d was the hollow sound
Of busy and sweltering trade,
And through the clean and echoing streets
Were passing men in white attire,
Palm-branches bearing,
And when two chanced to meet,
They view’d each other with inward intelligence,
And trembling, in love and sweet denial,
Kiss’d on the forehead each other,
And gazed up on high
At the Saviour’s sunny-heart,
Which, glad and atoningly
Beam’d down its ruddy blood,
And three times blest, thus spake they:
“Praisèd be Jesus Christ!”
* * *
Couldst thou this vision have only imagined,
What wouldst thou not give for it,
My dearest friend!
Thou who in head and loins art so weak,
And so strong in thy faith,
And the Trinity worship’st in Unity,
And the dog and the cross and the paw
Of thy lofty patroness daily kissest,{251}
And hast work’d thy way upward by canting
As an Aulic Counsellor, Magistrate,
And at last as a Government Counsellor
In the pious town[25]
Where flourish both sand and religion,
And the patient water of sacred Spree
Washes souls and dilutes the tea—
Couldst thou this vision have only imagined,
My dearest friend!
Thou hadst borne it up high, to the market-place,
Thy countenance pallid and blinking
Had been dissolved in devotion and lowliness,
And her Serene Highness,
Enchanted and trembling with rapture,
Had with thee sunk in prayer on the knee,
And her eyes, beaming brightly,
Had promised, by way of increase of salary,
A hundred Prussian dollars sterling,
And thou, with folded hands, wouldst have stammer’d:
“Praisèd be Jesus Christ!”

PART II. 1826.

1. SEA SALUTATION.

Thalatta! Thalatta!
Hail to thee, O thou Ocean eterne!
Hail to thee ten thousand times
From hearts all exulting,
As formerly hail’d thee
Ten thousand Grecian hearts,
Misfortune-contending, homeward-aspiring,
World-renown’d Grecian hearts.
The billows were heaving,
They heaved and they bluster’d,
The sun shed hastily downwards
His light so sportive and rosy-hued;
The sudden-startled flocks of sea-mews
Flutter’d along, loud screaming,
The horses were stamping, the bucklers were ringing,
And afar there resounded triumphantly:
Thalatta! Thalatta!{252}
Hail to thee, O thou Ocean eterne!
Like voices of home thy waters are rushing,
Like visions of childhood saw I a glimmering
Over thy heaving billowy-realm,
And olden remembrance again tells me stories
Of all the darling, beautiful playthings,
Of all the glittering Christmas presents,
Of all the ruddy coral branches,
The gold fish, pearls and colour’d shells
Which thou mysteriously dost keep
Down yonder in bright crystal house.
O how have I languish’d in drear foreign lands!
Like to a wither’d flower
In the tin case of a botanist,
Lay in my bosom my heart;
Methought whole winters long I sat
An invalid, in darksome sick-room,
And now I suddenly leave it,
And with dazzling rays am I greeted
By emerald springtime, the sunny-awaken’d,
And the snowy blossoming trees are all rustling,
And the youthful flowers upon me gaze
With eyes all chequer’d and fragrant;
There’s a perfume and humming and breathing and laughing,
And the birds in the azure heavens are singing—
Thalatta! Thalatta!
Thou valiant retreating heart!
How oft, how bitter-oft, wast thou
Hard press’d by the Northern barbarian women
From large victorious eyes
Shot they their burning arrows;
With words both crooked and polish’d
They threatened to cleave my breast,
With cuniform billets-doux harass’d they
My poor distracted brain—
In vain I held my shield to resist them,
The arrows whizz’d and the blows crash’d heavily,
And by the Northern barbarian women
Back to the sea was I driven,
And freely breathing I hailèd the sea,
The darling life-saving sea,
Thalatta! Thalatta!

{253}

2. THUNDERSTORM.

Heavily lies on the ocean the storm,
And through the darksome wall of clouds
Quivers the forkèd lightning flash,
Suddenly gleaming and suddenly vanishing,
Like a thought from the head of Cronion.
Over the desert, far-heaving water
Afar the thunders are rolling,
The snowy billowy horses are springing,
Which Boreas’ self did engender
Out of the beautiful mares of Erichton,
And the seafowl are mournfully fluttering,
Like shadowy corpses by Styx,
By Charon repulsed from his desolate bark.
Poor, but merry little ship,
Yonder dancing the strangest dance!
Æolus sends it his briskest attendants,
Who wildly strike up for the frolicsome dance;
The one is piping, another is blowing,
The third is beating the hollow double-bass—
And the staggering sailor stands at the rudder,
And on the compass is steadily looking,
That trembling soul of the vessel,
And raises his hands in entreaty to heaven;
“O rescue me, Castor, thou hero gigantic,
And thou, knight of the ring, Polydeuces!”

3. THE SHIPWRECKED ONE.

Hope and love! All crumbled to atoms,
And I myself, like to a corpse
Thrown up by the growling sea,
Lie on the strand,
The dreary, naked strand.
Before me, the watery waste is heaving
Behind me lie but sorrow and misery,
And over me high are passing the clouds,
The formless grey-hued daughters of air,
Who out of the sea, in misty buckets,
Draw up the water,
And wearily drag it and drag it,
Then spill it again in the sea,
A mournful and tedious business,
And useless as e’en my own life.{254}
The billows murmur, the sea-mews are screaming,
Olden remembrances over me drift,
Dreams long forgotten and images perish’d,
Painfully sweet come to light.
In the North a woman is living,
A beauteous woman, royally fair.
Her slender figure, like a tall cypress,
By an alluring white robe is embraced;
Her dark and flowing tresses,
Like to a blissful night, are streaming
Down from her lofty, braid-crownèd head,
And dreamily-sweetly form ringlets
Over her sweet pale face;
And out of her sweet pale face,
Large and o’erpowering, beams an eye
Like a black sun in radiance.
O thou black sun, how often,
Enchantingly often, I drank from thee
Wild flames of inspiration,
And stood and reel’d, all drunk with fire,—
Then hover’d a mild and dovelike smile
Round the high-contracted haughty lips,
And the high-contracted haughty lips
Breath’d forth words as sweet as moonlight,
And tender as the rose’s fragrance—
And then my spirit ascended,
And flew, like an eagle, straight up into heaven!
Peace, ye billows and sea-mews!
All is now over, happiness, hope,
Hope, ay, and love! I lie on the shore,
A lonely and shipwreckèd man,
And press my countenance glowing
Deep in the humid sand.

4. SUNSET.

The beauteous sun
Hath calmly descended down to the sea;
The heaving waters already are dyed
By dusky night;
Nought but the evening’s red
With golden light still spreadeth o’er them,
And the rushing force of the flood{255}
’Gainst the shore presseth the snowy billows
Which merrily, hastily skip,
Like wool-cover’d flocks of lambkins
Whom the singing sheep-boy at even
Homeward doth drive.
“How fair is the sun!”—
So spake, after long silence, my friend,
Who with me wander’d along the strand,
And half in sport and half in sad earnest
Assured he me that the sun was only
A lovely woman,[26] whom the old sea-god
Out of convenience married;
All the day long she joyously wander’d
In the high heavens, deck’d out with purple,
And glitt’ring with diamonds,
And all-beloved and all-admired
By every mortal creature,
And every mortal creature rejoicing
With her sweet glances’ light and warmth;
But in the evening, impell’d all-disconsolate.
Once more returneth she home
To the moist house and desert arms
Of her grey-headed spouse.
“Believe me”—here added my friend,
With laughter and sighing and laughter again:
“They’re living below in the tenderest union!
“Either they’re sleeping or quarrelling fiercely,
“So that up here e’en the ocean is roaring,
“And the fisherman hears in the rush of the waves
“How the old man’s abusing his wife:
Thou round wench of the universe!
“Beaming coquettish one!
All the day long thou art glowing for others,
At night for me thou art frosty and tired.’
“After this curtain lecture
“As a matter of course the proud sun
“Bursts into tears, lamenting her misery,
“And cries so sadly and long, that the sea-god
“Suddenly springs from his bed all distracted,
“And hastily swims to the surface of ocean,
“To recover his breath and his senses.{256}
“I saw him myself, in the night just past,
“Rising out of the sea as high as his bosom;
“A jacket of yellow flannel he wore,
“And a lily-white nightcap,
“And a face all wither’d and dry.”

5. THE SONG OF THE OCEANIDES.

Shadows of evening o’er ocean are falling,
And lonely, with none but his lonely soul with him,
Sits there a man on the dreary strand,
And looks, with death-chilly look, up on high
Tow’rd the spacious, death-chilly vault of heaven,
And looks on the spacious billowy main,
And over the spacious billowy main
Like airy sailors, his signs are floating,
Returning again despondingly,
For they have found fast closèd the heart
Wherein they fain would anchor—
And he groans so loud, that the snowy sea-mews,
Startled away from their sandy nests,
Flutter around him in flocks,
And he speaks unto them these laughing words:
“Ye black-leggèd birds,
“With snowy pinions o’er the sea fluttering,
“With crooked beaks the sea-water sucking up,
“And train-oily seal’s flesh devouring,
“Your life is bitter as is your food!
“But I, the happy one, taste nought but sweetness!
“I taste the rose’s sweet exhalation,
“The moonlight-nourished bride of the nightingale;
“I taste, too, the sweetness of all things:
“Loving and being loved!
“She loves me! she loves me! the beauteous maiden!
“Now stands she at home in her house’s high balcony,
“And looks in the twilight abroad, o’er the highway,
“And darkens, and for me doth yearn—I assure you!
“In vain she looketh around and she sigheth,
“And sighing descends she down to the garden,
“And wanders in fragrance and moonlight,
“And speaks to the flowers and telleth them
“How I, the beloved one, so precious am,
“So worthy of love—I assure you!{257}
“And then in bed, in slumber, in dream,
“My darling form around her sports blissfully,
“And then at morning at breakfast
“Upon her glistening bread and butter
“Sees she my countenance smiling,
“And she eats it for love—I assure you!”
Thus is he boasting and boasting,
And betweentimes the sea-mews are screaming,
Like old ironical chuckling;
The mists of twilight rise up on high;
Out of the violet clouds, all-gloomily,
Peepeth the grass-yellow moon;
High are roaring the billows of ocean,
And from the depths of the high-roaring sea,
Mournful as whispering gales of wind,
Soundeth the song of the Oceanides,
The beauteous compassionate sea-nymphs,
And loudest of all the voice so enthralling
Of Peleus’ spouse, the silvery-footed one,
And they’re sighing and singing:
“O fool, thou fool! thou hectoring fool!
“Thou sorrow-tormented one!
“Cruelly murder’d are all thy bright hopes,
“Thy bosom’s frolicsome children,
“And ah! thy heart, thy Niobe-heart
“Through grief turn’d to stone!
“Within thy head ’tis now night,
“And through it are flashing the lightnings of frenzy
“And thou boastest of sorrow!
“O fool, thou fool! thou hectoring fool!
“Headstrong art thou as thy forefather,
“The lofty Titan, who heavenly fire
“Stole from the gods and gave unto mortals,
“And, vulture-tormented, chain’d to the rock,
“Defied e’en Olympus, defied, groaning loudly,
“So that in ocean’s far depths did we hear it,
“And to him came with a comforting song.
“O fool, thou fool! thou hectoring fool!
“But thou art more powerless even than he,
“And thou would’st do well to honour the deities,
“And patiently bear the burden of sorrow,
“And patiently bear with it, long, ay, full long,{258}
“Till Atlas himself his patience hath lost,
“And the heavy world from his shoulders throws off
“Into eternal night.”
Thus sounded the song of the Oceanides,
The beauteous compassionate water-nymphs,
Till still louder billows at last overpower’d it—
Then went the moon in the rear of the clouds,
And night ’gan to yawn,
And long I sat in the darkness, with weeping.

6. THE GODS OF GREECE.

Full-blossoming moon! In thy fair light
Like liquid gold, the ocean gleams:
Like daylight’s clearness, yet charm’d into twilight,
Over the strand’s wide plain all is lying;
In the starless clear azure heavens
Hover the snowy clouds,
Like colossal figures of deities
Of glittering marble.
No, ’tis not so, no clouds can they be!
’Tis they themselves, the Gods of old Hellas,
Who once so joyously ruled o’er the world,
But now, tormented and perish’d,
Like monster spectres are moving along
Over the midnight heaven.
Wond’ring and strangely blinded, observed I
The airy pantheon,
The solemnly mute and fearfully moving
Figures gigantic.
He yonder’s Cronion, the monarch of heaven;
Snow-white are the locks of his head,
Locks so famous for shaking Olympus;
He holds in his hand his extinguishèd bolt,
And in his face lie misfortune and grief,
And yet without change his olden pride.
Those times indeed were better, O Zeus,
When thou didst take pleasure divinely
In youths and in nymphs and in hecatombs!
But even the Gods can reign not for ever,
The younger press hard on their elders,
As thou didst once on thy grey-headed father{259}
And all thy Titan uncles hard press,
Jupiter Parricida!
Thee, too, I recognise, haughty Here!
Spite of all thy jealous anxiety,
Hath another thy sceptre obtain’d,
And thou art no longer the queen of the heavens,
And fixed is now thy beaming eye,
And powerless lie thy lily-white arms,
And never more thy vengeance can reach
The God-impregnated virgin,
And the wonder-working son of the deity.
Thee, too, I recognise, Pallas Athene!
With shield and wisdom couldest thou not
Avert the destruction of deities?
Thee, too, I recognise, thee, Aphrodite!
Erst the golden one! now the silver one!
True thou’rt still deck’d with the charms of thy girdle,
Yet I secretly tremble at thought of thy beauty,
And would I enjoy thy bountiful charms,
Like heroes before me, of fear I should die;
To me thou appearest the goddess of corpses,
Venus Libitina!
No longer with love is tow’rd thee looking,
Yonder, the terrible Ares;
And sadly is looking Phœbus Apollo,
The stripling. His lyre is silent
That sounded so joyous at feasts of the Gods.
Still sadder appeareth Hephaestus,
And truly, the lame one! no longer
Fills he the office of Hebe,
And busily pours, in the Gods’ congregation,
The nectar delicious—And long is extinguish’d
The inextinguishable laughter of deities.
O ye Gods, I never could love you,
For ever distasteful I’ve found the Grecians,
And e’en the Romans I greatly hate.
Yet holy compassion and shuddering pity
Stream through my heart,
When I now behold you on high,
Godheads deserted,
Dead and night-wandering shadows,
Misty and weak, scared by the very wind—{260}
And when I bethink me how airy and cowardly
The godheads are, who overcame you,
The new, now-ruling, mournful godheads.
The mischievous ones in the sheepskin of meekness,
Then over me steals a glorious resentment,
And fain would I break the new-born temples,
And fight on your side, ye ancient deities,
For you, and your good ambrosial rights,
And before your lofty altars,
The once-more-restored, the sacrifice steaming,
Fain would I kneel down and pray,
And, praying, raise tow’rd you my arms.—
For evermore, ye ancient deities,
Have ye been wont, in the combats of mortals,
To join yourselves to the side of the victor,
And therefore is man more high-minded than ye,
And in combats of deities deem I it right
To take the part of the vanquish’d deities.
* * *
Thus did I speak, and visibly redden’d
Yon pale cloudy figures on high,
And on me they gazed like dying ones,
Sorrow-illumined, and suddenly vanish’d.
The moon, too, hid herself
Behind the clouds that darkly came over her;
High up roarèd the sea,
And then triumphantly stood in the heavens
The stars all-eternal.

7. QUESTIONS.

By the sea, by the desert night-cover’d sea
Standeth a youth,
His breast full of sadness, his head full of doubtings,
And with gloomy lips he asks of the billows:
“O answer me life’s hidden riddle,
“The riddle primeval and painful,
“Over which many a head has been poring,
“Heads in hieroglyphical nightcaps,
“Heads in turbans and swarthy bonnets,
“Heads in perukes, and a thousand other
“Poor and perspiring heads of us mortals—{261}
“Tell me what signifies man?
“From whence doth he come? And where doth he go?
“Who dwelleth amongst the golden stars yonder?”
The billows are murm’ring their murmur eternal,
The wind is blowing, the clouds are flying,
The stars are twinkling, all listless and cold,
And a fool is awaiting an answer.

8. THE PHŒNIX.

There comes a bird who hath flown from the westward,
He flies tow’rd the east,
Tow’rd the eastern garden-home,
Where the spices so fragrant are growing,
And palms are waving and wells are cooling—
And, flying, the wondrous bird thus singeth
She loves him, she loves him!
His image she bears in her little bosom,
And bears it sweetly and secretly hidden,
Nor knows it herself!
But in her vision, before her he stands,
She prays, and she weeps, and she kisses his hands,
And calls on his name,
And calling awakes she and lieth all-startled,
And rubbeth her beauteous eyes in amazement—
She loves him! she loves him!

9. ECHO.

’Gainst the mast reclining, and high on the lofty deck
Stood I and heard I the song of the bird.
Like black-green steeds, with silvery manes,
The white and curling billows were springing;
Like flocks of swans were sailing past us,
With glittering sails, the men of Heligoland,
The nomads bold of the Baltic.
Over my head, in the azure eterne,
Snowy clouds were fluttering on,
While sparkled the sun everlasting,
The rose of the heavens, the fiery-blooming one,
Who joyfully mirror’d himself in the ocean;
And heaven and ocean and with them my heart
In echo resounded:
She loves him! She loves him!

{262}

10. SEA-SICKNESS.

The dark-grey clouds of the afternoon
Deeper are sinking fast over the sea,
Which darkly seemeth to rise to meet them,
And between them the ship drives on.
Sea-sick sit I unmoved by the mast,
And make observations respecting myself,
Primeval, ash-grey observations,
Which Father Lot of old did make
When he had drunk too much of the grape,
And afterwards found himself amiss.
At times I bethink me of olden stories:
How cross-mark’d pilgrims of olden days
In stormy journeys the comforting image
Religiously kiss’d of the Holy Virgin;
How knights, when sick in such sea-misery,
The darling glove of their worshipp’d mistress
Press’d to their lips and then were comforted—
But I am sitting, and chew with vexation
An ancient herring, the comforter salty
After hard drinking or indigestion!
All this time the ship is fighting
With the furious, heaving flood;
Now like a rearing battle-steed stands it
On its hinder part, so that the rudder cracks;
Now it plunges headforward down again
In the howling abyss of the waters;
Again, as though carelessly love-faint,
Thinks it to lay itself down
On the black breast of the billow gigantic,
Who mightily onward roars,
And sudden, a desolate ocean-waterfall,
In snowy curlings plunges down headlong,
And covers me over with foam.
All this swaying and hov’ring and tossing
Is quite unendurable!
In vain doth my eye keep watch and seek for
The German coast. But, alas, nought but water!
Evermore water, fast-moving water!
As the winter-wanderer at evening
Longs for a comforting warm cup of tea,{263}
So now doth long my heart for thee,
My German Fatherland!
For ever may thy sweet soil be cover’d
With whims and hussars and horrible verses,
And lukewarm slender treatises;
For ever may thy stately zebras
Feed upon roses instead of on thistles;
For ever may thy noble baboons
In idle adornment trick themselves out,
And think themselves better than all the other
Lowminded heavy and lumbering cattle;
For ever may thy assemblage of snails
Look on themselves as immortal,
Because they creep so slowly along,
And may they daily collect men’s opinions
Whether the cheesemite belongs to the cheese?
And hold for a long time grave consultations
How the Egyptian sheep to improve,
So that their wool may be better in quality,
And the shepherd may shear them like all other sheep,
Without a distinction—
For evermore may folly and wrong
Cover thee, Germany, utterly!
Still am I yearning for thee,
For thou art terra firma at least!

11. IN HARBOUR.

Happy the man who arrives safe in harbour,
And behind him hath left the ocean and tempests,
And now so warmly and quietly sits,
In the townhall-cellar of Bremen!
See how the world is truly and lovingly
In the bumper fully depicted,
And how the heaving microcosm
Sunnily flows to the thirsty heart!
All I discern in the glass,
Olden and new traditions of nations,
Turks and Greeks, and Hegel and Gans,[27]
Citron forests and watch-parades,
Berlin and Schilda and Tunis and Hamburg,{264}
But most of all the form of my loved one,
That angel-head on the Rhenish wine’s gold ground.
O, how fair, how fair art thou, loved one!
Thou art a very rose,
Not like the rose of fair Schiras,
The nightingale’s bride, of whom Hafis once sang;
Not like the rose of Sharon,
The sacred and red one, the prophet-honour’d one;
But thou’rt like the rose in the cellar at Bremen![28]
That is the rose of all roses,
The older she grows, the fairer she blossoms,
And her heavenly fragrance hath gladden’d my bosom,
Hath served to inspire me, served to enchant me.
And did the head of the cellar of Bremen
Not hold me fast, yes fast by my hair,
I surely had tumbled!
The worthy man! we sat together,
And drank like brethren,
We spoke of lofty mysterious things,
We sigh’d and sank in the arms of each other,
And he did convert me to love’s religion,
I drank to the health of my bitterest enemies,
And every wretched poet I pardoned
As I myself for pardon would hope;
I wept with devotion, and lastly
The doors of the place were unto me open’d
Where the twelve apostles, the sacred tuns,
Silently preach, though understood plainly
By every nation.
True men indeed!
In wooden coats, from without all-invisible,
Inwardly are they more radiant and fairer
Than all the haughty priests of the temple,
And Herod’s satellites cringing and courtiers,
All glitt’ring in gold and clothèd in purple;
Ever my wont is to say
Not amongst the mere common people,{265}
No, in the best and politest society,
Constantly lived the monarch of heaven.
Hallelujah! How sweetly wave round me
The palm-trees of Bethel!
How fragrant the myrrh is of Hebron!
How Jordan is roaring, and reeling with rapture,
While my immortal soul also is reeling,
And I reel with it, and whilst thus reeling,
I’m brought up the stairs and into the daylight
By the worthy head of the cellar of Bremen.
Thou worthy head of the cellar of Bremen!
See where sit on the roofs of the houses
The angels, all well-drunken and singing;
The glowing sun high up in the heavens
Is nought but the red and drunken nose
Which the World-Spirit sticks out,
And round the World-Spirit’s red nose
Whirleth the whole of the drunken world.

12. EPILOGUE.

As on the plain shoot up the wheatstalks
So do the thoughts in the spirit of man
Grow up and waver;
But the gentle thoughts of the poet
Are as the red and blue-colour’d flowers
Merrily blooming between them.
Red and blue-colour’d flowers!
The surly reaper rejects you as useless,
Wooden flails all-scornfully thresh you,
Even the needy traveller,
Whom your sight rejoices and quickens,
Shaketh his head,
And calleth you pretty weeds;
But the rustic virgin,
The twiner of garlands,
Doth honour and pluck you,
And with you decketh her beauteous locks,
And thus adorn’d, makes haste to the dance,
Where pipes and fiddles sweetly are sounding,
Or to the silent beech-tree,
Where the voice of the loved one still sweeter doth sound
Than pipes or than fiddles.

{266}

MONOLOGUE.

(From Book “Le Grand.”)

In olden legends, golden castles stood
Where harps were sounding, beauteous maidens danced,
And spruce attendants flash’d, and jessamine
And rose and myrtle shed their fragrance round—
And yet one single word of disenchantment
Made all this splendour in a moment vanish,
And nought remain’d behind but olden ruins
And croaking birds of night and drear morass.
So have I, too, with but one single word,
All Nature’s blooming glories disenchanted.
There lies she now, as lifeless, cold, and pale
As some bedizen’d regal corpse might be,
Whose cheekbones have been colour’d red by art,
And in whose hand a sceptre hath been placed.
His lips however wither’d look and yellow,
For they forgot to dye them red as well;
And mice are springing o’er his regal nose,
And ridicule the pond’rous golden sceptre.

{267}

ATTA TROLL,

A SUMMER-NIGHT’S DREAM.

CAPUT I.

Hemm’d close in by gloomy mountains
Proudly o’er each other rising,
Lull’d to sleep by wildly-dashing
Cataracts, like some fair vision,
In the valley lies the charming
Cauterets. Its snow-white houses
All have balconies; upon them
Stand fair ladies, laughing loudly.
Laughing loudly, downward look they
On the chequer’d noisy market,
Where there dance a male and female
Bear, to sound of bagpipe-music.
Atta Troll and his dear wife ’tis
(Her they call the swarthy Mumma),
Who are dancing, and with wonder
The Biscayans are rejoicing.
Stately, and with solemn grandeur,
Dances noble Atta Troll;
Yet his shaggy partner’s wanting
Both in dignity and manners.
Yes, I have a shrewd suspicion
That she is too much accustom’d
To the vulgar shameless dances
At the Grand’-Chaumière at Paris.
E’en the excellent bear-leader,
Who with chain conducts the couple
Seems the immorality
Of her dance to notice plainly.{268}
And he oft bestows upon her
With his whip fast-falling lashes,
And the swarthy Mumma howls then,
And awakes the mountain echoes.
This bear-leader six Madonnas
Wears upon his pointed hat,
To protect his head from bullets
Or from lice perchance it may be.
O’er his shoulder there is hanging,
Many-hued, an altar covering,
Doing office as a mantle;
Knife and pistol lurk beneath it.
He had been a monk when younger,
Then became a robber-captain;
Then, to join the two vocations,
Took the service of Don Carlos.
When Don Carlos had to scamper
With the knights of his round table,
And his paladins were driven
To pursue some honest calling,
(Thus Schnapphahnski turn’d an author)
Then our knight became bear-leader,
And across the country travell’d
Leading Atta Troll and Mumma.
And in sight of all the people,
In the market, they must dance now;
Atta Troll must in the market
Of this city dance in fetters!
Atta, Troll, who once was dwelling
Like a haughty desert-monarch
On the airy mountain, dances
In a valley to the rabble!
And for filthy lucre merely
He must dance, who formerly
In the majesty of terror
Felt himself so high exalted!
When his younger days recalls he,
His lost lordship of the forest,
Then growl forth despairing noises
From the soul of Atta Troll.{269}
Gloomy looks he, like a swarthy
Moorish prince of Freiligrath;[29]
As the latter drums but badly,
So with rage he badly dances.
But instead of pity, wakes he
Only laughter. Even Juliet
From the balcony laughs downward
At his leaps of desperation.—
Juliet has not in her bosom
Any feelings; French by nation,
Outwardly she lives; her outside
Is delightful and enchanting.
Her sweet looks compose a blissful
Net of rays, within whose meshes
Is our heart fast held in prison,
Like a fish, and gently struggles.

CAPUT II.

That a swarthy Freiligrathian
Moorish prince with anxious longing
On the big drum’s skin should rattle,
Till with violence ’tis broken,
Is a very drum-affecting
And a drumskin-breaking matter—
But just fancy the confusion
When a bear has burst his fetters!
Both the music and the laughter
Straight are hush’d; with screams of terror
Rush the people from the market,
Pale as death turn all the ladies.
Yes, from out his slavish fetters
Atta Troll has freed himself
Suddenly, and springing wildly,
Through the narrow streets he hastens—
(Each one civilly makes way),
Up the rocks he nimbly clambers,
Then looks down, as if in scorn,—then
Vanishes within the mountains.{270}
On the empty market stand now
Swarthy Mumma, and bear-leader
All alone. In angry fury
On the ground his hat he flingeth,
Trampling on it,—the Madonnas
Trampling also, tears the covering
From his ugly naked body,
Swears at such ingratitude,
Such black bear’s ingratitude!
For he constantly had treated
Atta Troll in friendly fashion,
And instructed him in dancing.
All he had to him was owing,
E’en his very life. In vain they
Offer’d him a hundred dollars
For the skin of Atta Troll!
Then upon the poor black Mumma,
Who, a form of silent sorrow,
On her hinder paws imploring,
Stood before the much enraged one,
Fell the much enraged one’s fury
With redoubled strength. He beats her,
Calls her even Queen Christina,
Madame Muñoz and Putana.—
All this happen’d in a beauteous
Sultry summer afternoon,
And the night which then succeeded
To that day was quite superb.
Almost half that night consumed I
On the house’s balcony;
Juliet was beside me standing,
Gazing on the stars above us.
Sighing said she: “Ah, in Paris
“Fairest are the stars of all,
“When they on a winter evening
“In the street mud are reflected!”

CAPUT III.

Summer-night’s dream! All-fantastic,
Aimless is my song. Yes, aimless
As our love and as our living,
As Creator and creation!{271}
His own will alone obeying,
Galloping along or flying,
Revels in the realms of fable
My belovèd Pegasus.
He’s no serviceable, virtuous
Carthorse of the citizens,
Nor a battle-steed of party,
With pathetic neighs and stamping!
Golden-mounted are the hoofs all
Of my white and wingèd charger,
Cords of pearls the guiding reins are,
And at will I let him wander.
Bear me whereso’er thou wouldest!
Over steep and merry hill-paths,
Where cascades with mournful shrieking
Warn ’gainst madness’s abysses!
Bear me on through silent valleys,
Where the solemn oaks are standing,
While primeval sweet traditions
From their knotted roots have birth!
Let me drink there, while I moisten
My dim eyes,—ah, now I languish
For the sparkling wondrous water
That imparts both sight and knowledge!
All my blindness goes! my gaze
Pierces to the deepest rock-cleft,
To the cave of Atta Troll,
And I understand his language!
Strange ’tis how familiar to me
This bear-language now appeareth!
In my dear home have I never
Heard those sounds in earlier days?

CAPUT IV.

Ronceval, thou noble valley!
Whensoe’er I hear thy name,
That blue flower so long departed
O’er my bosom sheds its fragrance!
Then the glitt’ring dream-world rises
Which for thousand years had faded,
And the mighty spirit-eyes
Gaze upon me, till I’m awe-struck!{272}
Rattling sounds awake. There struggle
Saracen and Frankish knight;
As though bleeding and despairing
Ring Orlando’s bugle-notes
In the vale of Ronceval,
Hard beside Orlando’s gap—
Christen’d thus, because the hero,
Seeking how to force a passage,
With his trusty sword Duranda
Struck with such death-dealing fury
On the wall of rock, that plainly
To this day are seen its traces—
There within a gloomy hollow,
Close surrounded by a thicket
Of wild fir-trees, safely hidden,
Lies the cave of Atta Troll.
In the bosom of his fam’ly
Rests he after all the hardships
Of his flight and the distresses
Of his public show and travels.
Sweet the meeting! all his young ones
Found he in that happy cavern
Where with Mumma he begot them,—
Four his sons, and daughters two.
Well-lick’d maidens were the latter,
Fair their hair, like parsons’ daughters
Brown the youths, the youngest only
With the single ear is black.
Now this youngest was the darling
Of his mother, who when playing
Happen’d once to bite his ear off,
And for very love she ate it.
He’s a very genial stripling,
At gymnastics very clever,
And he turns a somersault
Like the posture-master Massmann.
Sprig of autochthonic humour,
He his mother-tongue loves only,
And has never learnt the jargon
Of the Grecian and the Roman.{273}
Fresh and free and good and merry,
Soap he holds in detestation,
(Luxury of modern washing,)
Like the posture-master Massmann.
But our young friend is most genial
Where upon the tree he clambers,
Which along the steepest rock-side
From the deep abyss upriseth,
And extendeth to the summit,
When the family at night-time
Gather all around their father,
Toying in the evening coolness.
Then the old one loves to tell them
What he in the world has witness’d;
How he many men and cities
Had beheld, and greatly suffer’d,
Like Laertes’ noble offspring,
But in one thing still unlike him,—
Namely, that his wife went with him,
His dear black Penelope.
Atta Troll then also tells them
Of the wondrous approbation
That he, by his skill in dancing,
Had acquired in ev’ry quarter.
He assured them young and old
Had exultingly admired him,
When he danced upon the market
To the sweet notes of the bagpipe.
In particular the ladies,
Those dear connoisseurs of all things,
Had with vehemence applauded,
And had ogled him with favour.
O the vanity of Artists!
Our old dancing bear with simpers
Calls to mind the time when late he
To the public show’d his talent.
Overcome by self laudation,
He would fain by act exhibit
That he’s no mere boaster only,
But a really first-rate dancer.{274}
From the ground then sudden springs he,
On his hinder paws upstanding,
And, as formerly, he dances
The gavotte, his favourite dance.
Mute, with muzzles gaping open,
The young bears look on with wonder,
While their father in the moonlight
Capers here and there thus strangely.

CAPUT V.

In the cavern, by his young ones,
Sick at heart, upon his back lies
Atta Troll, while thoughtful sucks he
At his paws, and sucks, and growls:
“Mumma, Mumma, swarthy jewel,
“Whom I out of life’s wide ocean
“Once did fish, in life’s wide ocean
“Once again I now have lost thee!
“Shall I ne’er again behold thee,
“Or beyond the grave p’rhaps only,
“Where, set free from earthly trammels,
“Thy dear soul is glorified?
“Would that I, alas! could once more
“Lick thy well-belovèd muzzle,
“My dear Mumma, which so sweetly
“Stroked me over, as with honey!
“Would that I again could snuffle
“That sweet smell, thy own peculiar,
“O my dear and swarthy Mumma,
“Charming as the scent of roses!
“But, alas! my Mumma’s pining
“In the fetters of those rascals,
“Who, the name of men adopting,
“Deem themselves creation’s masters.
“Death and hell! These men unworthy
“Aristocracy’s arch-emblems,
“Look down on the an’mal kingdom
“Proudly and disdainfully.{275}
“Take away our wives and children,
“Fetter us, ill-treat us, even
“Kill us, for the sake of selling
“Our poor hide and our poor carcass!
“And they think themselves permitted
“Wicked deeds like this to practise
Gainst us bears especially,
“And the rights of man they call it!
“Rights of man indeed! Fine rights these.
“Tell me who bestow’d them on you?
“Nature certainly ne’er did so,
“For she’s not unnatural!
“Rights of man indeed! Who gave you
“This great privilege, I wonder?
“Reason certainly ne’er did so,
“For she’s not unreasonable!
“Men, pray are ye any better
“Than we others, just for eating
“All your dinners boil’d or roasted?
“In a raw state we eat ours,
“Yet is the result the same
“To us both.—No, food can never
“Make one noble; he is noble
“Who both nobly feels and acteth.
“Men, pray are ye any better
“Just because the arts and science
“With success ye follow? We now
“Never give ourselves the trouble.
“Are there not such things as learnèd
“Dogs, and horses too, who reckon
“Just like councillors of Commerce?
“Do not hares the drum play finely?
“Are not many beavers adepts
“In the art of hydrostatics?
“Were not clysters first invented
“By the cleverness of storks?
“Write not asses criticisms?
“Are not apes all good comedians?
“Is there any greater mimic
“Than Batavia, long tail’d monkey?{276}
“Are not nightingales good singers?
“And is Freiligrath no poet,
“Who can sing of lions better
“Than his countryman the Camel?
“I myself the art of dancing
“Have advanced as much as Raumer
“That of writing. Writes he better
“Than I dance,—yes, I the bear?
“Men, why are ye any better
“Than we others? Upright hold ye,
“It is true, your heads, but in them
“Low-born thoughts are ever creeping.
“Men, pray are ye any better
“Than are we, because your skin is
“Smooth and glist’ning? This advantage
“Ye but share with every serpent.
“Human race, two leggèd serpents!
“Well I see the reason why ye
“Breeches wear; with foreign wool ye
“Hide your serpent-nakedness!
“Children, guard yourselves against these
“Hairless and misshapen creatures!
“My dear daughters, never marry
“Any monster that wears breeches!”
More than this I’ll not report now,
How the bear in his wild mania
For equality, kept reasoning
All about the human race.
For, to say the truth, I also
Am a man, and never will I
Tell again such foolish libels,
Which are, after all, offensive.
Yes, I am a man, and better
Than the other sucking creatures,
And the interests of the race
Ne’er will I renounce promoting.
In the fight with other creatures
Faithfully I’ll ever struggle
For humanity,—the holy
Rights of man that he is born to.

{277}

CAPUT VI.

Yet perchance ’tis beneficial
For us men, who form the higher
Kind of livestock, to discover
How they reason down below us.
Yes, below us, in the gloomy
Mournful spheres of fellowship,
In the beasts’ inferior strata,
Brood resentment, misery, pride.
That which natural hist’ry ever,
Equally with common custom,
Has for centuries admitted
Is denied with impious muzzle.
That false doctrine by the aged
In the young ones’ ears is grumbled
Which assails both cultivation
And humanity on earth.
“Children!” Atta Troll thus growl’d,
As he hither roll’d and thither
On his carpet-wanting couch:
“Unto us belongs the Future!
“If each bear but thought as I do,
“If all beasts but thought so too,
“With united forces would we
“Take up arms against the tyrants.
“Then the bear would form alliance
“With the horse, the elephant
“Twine his trunk in loving fashion
“Round the valiant ox’s horn.
“Bear and wolf of every colour,
“Goat and monkey, e’en the hare
“For a time would work in common,
“And our triumph would be certain.
“Union, union is the’ essential
“Requisite; alone, we’re conquer’d
“Easily, but join’d together
“We would overreach the tyrants.
“Union! union! and we’ll triumph,
“And Monopoly’s vile sway
“Be o’erthrown, and we’ll establish
“A just kingdom for us beasts,{278}
“Full equality for all, then,
“Of God’s creatures, irrespective
“Of their faith, or skin, or odour,
“Be its fundamental maxim!
“Strict equality! Each donkey
“Be entitled to high office;
“On the other hand, the lion
“Carry to the mill the sack.
“As respects the dog, indeed he
“Is a very servile rascal,
“Since for centuries has man
“Like a dog ne’er ceased to treat him.
“Yet in our free state we’ll give him
“Once again his olden rights,
“His prescriptive birthright, and he
“Soon again will be ennobled.
“Yes, the Jews shall then enjoy too
“All the rights of citizens,
“And by law be made the equals
“Of all other sucking creatures.
“Only dancing in the market
“For the Jew shall not be lawful;
“This amendment I insist on
“In the interest of my art.
“For a sense of style, of rigid
“Plastic art in motion’s wanting
“To that race, who really ruin
“What there is of public taste.”

CAPUT VII.

Gloomy, in his gloomy cavern,
Squats, in his belov’d home-circle,
Atta Troll, the misanthrope,
And he shows his teeth, and growls thus:
“Men, the pert and vulgar fellows!
“Smile away! From all your smiling
“And from your offensive yoke too
“Shall the coming day release us!{279}
“I am always most offended
“By that sour-sweet kind of quiv’ring
“Round the mouth,—these smiles of man
“Find I really past all bearing!
“When I in his pallid visage
“See display’d that fatal quiv’ring,
“All my entrails in my body
“Turn right round with indignation.
“More impertinently even
“Than by words, a man lays open
“By his smile the deepest hidden
“Insolence of his vile spirit.
“They are always smiling! Even
“When by decency is needed
“Real solemnity of feature,—
“E’en in love’s most solemn moment!
“They are always smiling! Even
“When they’re dancing. In this manner
“They degrade this noble science,
“Which should be a kind of worship.
“Yes, the dance throughout all ages
“Was a pious act of faith;
“Solemnly around the altar
“Turn’d the priests in mystic circle.
“Thus in olden time King David
“Danced before the ark of cov’nant;
“Dancing was an act of worship,
“Was a prayer upon the legs!
“I have ever understood thus
“Dancing, when upon the market
“To the people I was dancing,
“Who with their applause repaid me.
“This applause, I must confess it,
“Often made me feel quite happy;
“For extorting admiration
“From one’s foes is very sweet!
“But in their enthusiasm
“Still they smile. The art of dancing
“Powerless is to make them better,
“And they frivolous remain.”{280}

CAPUT VIII.

Many a very virtuous burgher
Smells but badly, whilst the servants
Of a king with ambergris
Or else lavender are scented.
Virgin spirits may be met with
Which of green soap bear the odour,
Whilst the criminal with rose-oil
May have wash’d himself demurely.
Do not therefore turn your nose up,
Gentle reader, if the cave of
Atta Troll may not remind you
Of Arabia’s sweetest spices.
Tarry in that reeking circle,
’Mid those miserable stenches,
Where to his young son the hero
As from out a cloud thus speaks:
“Child, my child, thou youngest offspring
“Of my loins, now place thy one ear
“Close beside thy father’s muzzle,
“And suck in my solemn words!
“Guard against man’s ways of thinking,
“They destroy both soul and body;
Mongst all men there’s no such thing as
“Any ordinary man.
“E’en the Germans, once so noble,
“E’en the very sons of Tuisco,
“Our own primitive relations,
“They too have degenerated.
“They’ve become now faithless, godless,
“Even preaching atheism—
“Child, my child, be on thy guard,
Gainst both Feuerbach and Bauer![30]
“Never be an Atheist,
“Monster void of all respect for
“The Creator—a Creator
Twas who made this universe!{281}
“High above us, sun and moon
“And the stars too (both the tail-less
“And all those with tails provided)
“Are reflections of His power.
“Down below us, land and sea
“Are the echo of His glory,
“And each living creature praises
“Evermore His excellencies.
“E’en the smallest silver-louse that
“In the aged pilgrim’s beard
“In life’s pilgrimage is sharer,
“Sings the great Eternal’s praises!
“In yon starry bright pavilion,
“On the golden seat of power,
“World-directing and majestic,
“Sits a mighty polar bear.
“Free from spot and snow-white glitt’ring
“Is his skin; his head is cover’d
“With a crown of diamonds,
“Which illumines all the heavens.
“In his face is harmony,
“And the silent deeds of thinking;
“If he signs but with his sceptre,
“All the spheres resound with singing.
“At his feet bear-saints are sitting
“Piously, who meekly suffer’d
“While on earth, and in their paws they
“Hold the palms of martyrdom.
“Ofttimes one amongst them rises,
“Then another,—by the Spirit
“Seeming mov’d, and straightway dance they
“Their most solemn sacred dance—
“Sacred dance, where mercy’s radiance
“Renders talent quite superfluous,
“And the soul for very rapture
“From the skin attempts to leap!
“O shall I, unworthy Troll,
“E’er partake this great salvation?
“And from earth’s debasing sorrows
“To the realms of bliss soar upwards?{282}
“O shall I, all-drunk with heaven,
“In the stars’ pavilion yonder,
“With the palm and with the glory,
“Dance before the Master’s throne?”

CAPUT IX.

Like the tongue as red as scarlet,
Which a swarthy Freiligrathian
Moorish prince with scornful fury
From his sullen mouth protruded,
So the moon from out the gloomy
Clouds of heaven advanced. Afar off
Cataracts are roaring, sleepless
And morosely through the night.
Atta Troll upon the summit
Of his fav’rite rock stands lonely,
Lonely, and to the abyss
Downward howls he in the nightwind:
“Yes, I am a bear, I am so,—
“Him ye christen shaggy bear,
“Growler, Isegrim, and Bruin,
“And heav’n knows how many others.
“Yes, I am a bear, I am so,
“The uncouth and boorish creature,
“I’m the awkward dromedary
“Of your scorn and cruel laughter.
“I’m the butt of all your wit,
“I’m the bugbear, with whose terrors
“Ye at night your children frighten,
“Human children, when they’re naughty.
“I’m the joke of all your idle
“Nurs’ry stories, well I know it,
“And I now proclaim it loudly
“To man’s paltry world below.
“Hear it, hear; a bear am I,
“My descent I’m not ashamed of,
“But am proud of it, as though I
“Sprang from Moses Mendelssohn!”{283}

CAPUT X.

Two dark figures, wild and surly,
And upon their all-fours gliding,
Force their way across the gloomy
Grove of firs at midnight’s hour.
This is Atta Troll, the father,
And his son, young master one-ear.
Where the wood grows somewhat lighter
By the stone of blood they halted.
“This old stone”—growl’d Atta Troll,—
“Is the altar where the Druids
“In the days of superstition
“Human sacrifices offer’d.
“O their cruelty accursèd!
“All the hair upon my back
“Bristles when I think upon it;
“Blood was pour’d out to God’s honour!
“Now these men are more enlighten’d,
“And no longer kill each other
“Merely in excessive zeal
“For the interests of heaven.
Tis no longer pious fancies,
“Madness, nor enthusiasm,
“But mere vanity and self-love
“Makes them now commit their murders.
“On the good things of the earth
“Eagerly they’re ever seizing;
Tis an endless round of fighting,
“For himself each person stealeth!
“Yes! the heritage of all
“Is the individual’s booty;
“Of the rights, then, of possession
“Speaks he, thinking of his own!
“Of his own! Possession’s rights too!
“O, the cruel theft, the lying!
“None but man could have invented
“Such commingled fraud and madness.
“Private property was never
“Made by Nature; pocketless,
“With no pockets in our skins, we
“Ev’ry one the world first entered.{284}
“Not a single one amongst us
“At his birth had such a pocket
“In his body’s outer skin,
“Where he might conceal his robb’ries.
“Man alone, that smooth-skinn’d being,
“Who with foreign wool so nicely
“Clothes himself, had e’er the sharpness
“To provide himself with pockets.
“Pockets! They’re as much ’gainst nature
“As is private property,
“As possession’s rights themselves are—
“Men in fact are but pickpockets!
“Fiercely hate I them! My hatred
“Unto thee, my son, bequeath I;
“Here upon this altar shalt thou
“Swear to man undying hatred!
“Be implacably the death-foe
“Of those wicked vile oppressors
“To the very end of life,—
“Swear it, swear it here, my son!”
And the youngster swore, as once did
Hannibal. The moon, all yellow,
On the stone of blood look’d wildly,
And the pair of misanthropes.
By-and-by we’ll tell the story
How the young bear ever faithful
To his oath remain’d. Our lyre shall
In another Epic praise him.
As respects friend Atta Troll,
We will leave him for the present,
Presently to come across him,
All the surer, with a bullet.
All thy stealthy machinations,
Traitor ’gainst man’s majesty,
Now at length are terminated,
And thy hour will sound to-morrow!

CAPUT XI.

Like some drowsy bayaderes
Look the mountains, standing shiv’ring
In their snowy shirts of clouds,
Flutt’ring in the breeze of morning.{285}
Yet they soon become enliven’d
By the sun-god stripping from them
All the veil that’s hanging o’er them
Lighting up their naked beauty!
Early in the morn I started
With Lascaro on our journey
Bound to hunt the bear. At noonday
We arrived at Pont d’Espagne.
So they call the bridge which leadeth
Out of France and into Spain,
To the land of west barbarians,
Who’re a thousand years behind us,—
Yes, a thousand years behind us
In all modern civ’lisation;
My barbarians to the eastward
But a hundred years behind are.
Slowly, almost trembling, left I
France’s sacred territory,
Blessèd fatherland of freedom
And the women that I love!
On the middle of the bridge
A poor Spaniard sat. Deep mis’ry
Lurk’d behind his tatter’d mantle,
Misery in his eyes was lurking.
An old crazy mandoline
With his wither’d fingers pinch’d he;
Shrill the discord which re-echoed
From the rocks, as in derision.
Oftentimes his figure bent he
Downward tow’rd the’ abyss with laughter,
Tinkling harder then than ever,
While the following words he sang:
“In the middle of my bosom
“Stands a little golden table;
“Round the little golden table
“Stand four little golden chairs.
“On the golden chairs are sitting
“Little ladies, golden arrows
“In their hair,—at cards they’re playing,
“But ’tis only Clara wins.{286}
“As she wins, she laughs with slyness;
“Ah! within my bosom, Clara,
“Thou’lt be ev’ry time a winner,
“For thou holdest nought but trumps.”
Wand’ring onward, to myself I
Spoke: “Tis singular that madness
Sits and sings upon yon bridge,
That from France to Spain leads over.
“Is this madman but the emblem
“Of the interchange ’mongst nations
“Of their thoughts? or his own country’s
“Wild and crazy title-page?”
We arrived not until evening
At the wretched small posada,
Where an olla-podrida
In a dirty dish was smoking.
There I swallow’d some garbanzos,
Heavy, large as musket-bullets,
Indigestible to Germans,
Though to dumplings they’re accustom’d.
Fit companion to the cooking
Was the bed. With insects pepper’d
It appear’d. The bugs, alas! are
Far the greatest foes of man.
Fiercer than the wrath of thousand
Elephants, I find the hatred
Of one tiny little bug,
When across my bed it crawleth.
One must let them bite in quiet,—
This is bad enough,—still more ’tis
If one crushes them. The stink then
Keeps one all night long in torment.
Yes, the fiercest earthly trouble
Is the fight with noxious vermin,
Who a stench employ as weapons,—
Is a duel with a bug!

CAPUT XII.

How they rave, the race of poets,
E’en the tame ones, singing ever
And exclaiming: “Nature’s surely
“The Creator’s mighty temple—{287}
“Is a temple all whose glories
“To our Maker’s fame bear witness,
“Sun and moon and stars all hanging
“In its cupola as lamps.”
Well and good, my worthy people!
Yet confess that in this temple
Are the stairs uncomfortable,
Bad and inconvenient stairs!
All this up-and-down-stairs going,
Mountain-climbing and this jumping
Over rocks is very tiring
To the legs as well as spirit.
Close beside me walk’d Lascaro,
Pale and lanky, like a taper;
Never spoke he, never laugh’d he,
He, the dead son of the sorc’ress.
Yes, ’tis said that he’s a dead man,
Dead long since, but yet his mother
Old Uraca’s magic science
Kept him living in appearance.—
That accursèd temple-staircase!
It exceeds my comprehension
How my neck escaped from breaking,
Stumbling o’er a precipice.
How the cataracts were shrieking!
How the tempest flogg’d the fir-trees
Till they howl’d! The clouds began too
Crashing suddenly—bad weather!
In a little fishing cottage
By the Lac-de-Gobe soon found we
Shelter and some trout for luncheon;
Most delicious were the latter.
In an arm-chair was reclining,
Ill and grey, the ferryman;
On him his two pretty nieces,
Like a pair of angels, waited.
Stoutish angels, rather Flemish,
Seeming from a frame descended
Of a Rubens; gold their tresses,
Full of health their eyes, and liquid.{288}
Their vermilion cheeks were dimpled,
With a secret slyness in them;
Strong their limbs were, and voluptuous,
Giving pleasure to the fancy.
Dear, affectionate young creatures,
Keeping up a sweet discussion,
As to which drink would be relish’d
Most of all by their sick uncle.
If the one the cup should bring him
Full of well-boil’d linden blossoms,
Then the other hastes to feed him
With an elder-flow’r decoction.
“I’ll not drink of either of them,”
“Cried impatiently the old man;
“Fetch some wine, that I may offer
“To my guests some better drink!”
Whether it was wine they gave me
At the Lac-de-Gobe, I really
Cannot say. Methinks in Brunswick
By the name of Mum they’d call it.
Of the very best black goat-skin
Was the wine-skin, stinking foully;
Yet the old man drank with pleasure,
And he seem’d quite well and joyous.
He recounted the achievements
Of the smugglers and banditti
Merrily and freely living
In the Pyrenean forests.
Many old traditions also
Well he knew: amongst the others
Were the battles of the giants
With the bears in times primeval.
Yes, the bears then and the giants
Struggled fiercely for the mast’ry
Of these mountains and these valleys,
Ere by man they were discover’d.
But when man arrived, the giants
Fled away from out the country
Stupified, for little brains
Are contain’d in heads gigantic.{289}
And ’tis said the silly fellows,
On arriving at the ocean,
And observing how the heavens
In its azure depths were mirror’d,
Cleverly supposed the ocean
To be heaven, and plunged down in it,
Full of godlike confidence,
And were drown’d, the whole together
As respects the bears, however,
They are gradually being
Kill’d by man, their numbers yearly
In the mountain still decreasing.
“Thus on earth” exclaim’d the old man,
“One gives place unto another,
“And when men are put an end to,
“Then the dwarfs will be the masters.
“Yes, the clever little people,
“Who the mountain’s womb inhabit,
Mongst the golden mines of riches
“Digging and collecting nimbly.
“How they from their hiding-places
“With their small sly heads keep peeping!
“Oft I’ve seen them in the moonlight,
“And then trembled at the future;
“At the power their gold will give them;
“Ah, I fear lest our descendants
“Fly for refuge, like the stupid
“Giants, to the watery heaven!”

CAPUT XIII.

In the black and rocky caldron
Rest the waters deep of ocean;
Stars, all pale and melancholy,
Peep from heaven. Night reigns, and silence.
Night and silence. Oars are moving.
Like a splashing wondrous secret
Floats the bark. The old man’s nieces
Play the part of ferrymen,{290}
Joyously and nimbly rowing;
Ofttimes glisten in the darkness
Their stout naked arms, illumined
By the stars,—their great blue eyes, too.
By my side Lascaro sitting
Is as pale and mute as usual,
And the fearful thought shoots through me:
Is he but a very corpse then?
I myself,—am I dead also,
And embarking on my journey
With my ghostly comrades by me
To the chilly realm of shadows?
And this lake, can it be Styx’s
Gloomy flood? Has Proserpina,
In default of Charon’s presence,
Sent her waiting-maids to fetch me?
No! I am not yet departed
And extinguish’d; in my spirit
Is the living flame of life still
Glowing, blazing and exulting.
And these maidens, gaily pulling
At their oars, and o’er me splashing
With the water dripping from them,
Full of merriment and laughter,—
These two fresh and sprightly damsels
Are most certainly not ghostly
Chambermaids in hell residing,
Waiting-maids of Proserpina!
That I might be fully certain
Of their upper-worldliness,
And by practical experience
Ascertain my own existence,
Hastily my lips applied I
To their rosy cheeks’ soft dimples,
And then framed this syllogism:
Yes, I kiss, and so I’m living!
When we reach’d the shore, again I
Kiss’d the pair of kindly maidens;
In this coin, and no other,
Would they take the passage-money.

{291}

CAPUT XIV.

Violet-colour’d mountain summits
Smile from out the sunny gold-ground;
To the slope a village clingeth,
Seeming like a daring bird’s nest.
When I climb’d up to it, found I
That the old ones all had flown,
And that none were now remaining
Save the young, who could not fly yet;
Pretty boys, and little maidens,
Almost hidden in their scarlet
Or white woollen caps, whilst playing
At a marriage, in the market.
Still they play’d regardless of me,
And I saw how the enamour’d
Mouse-prince knelt pathetically
To the fair cat-emperor’s daughter.
Poor young prince! Alas! he’s married
To the beauty. She morosely
Wrangles, bites him, and then eats him;
When he’s dead, the game is over.
Almost all the day I linger’d
With the children, and we chatted
Like old friends. They fain would ask me
Who I was, and what my business.
“Dear young friends, my native country
“Is call’d Germany,” I told them:
“Bears are found there in abundance,
“And my business is bear-hunting.
“There I’ve torn the skin from many
“Of their bearish ears, and sometimes
“Found myself full sorely handled
“By the paws of Master Bruin.
“Yet with ill-lick’d doltards daily
“I was forced to keep on wrangling
“In my own dear home, and found it
“Get at length beyond all bearing.
“And accordingly here came I,
“Some more noble prey desiring,
“And I fain would try my forces
Gainst the mighty Atta Troll.{292}
“He’s a noble adversary,
“Worthy of me. Ah! I often
“Have in Germany been victor,
“When my victory ashamed me.”
When I took my leave, around me
Danced the pretty little beings
In a rondo, whilst thus sang they:
“Girofflino, Girofflette!”
Full of charming impudence
Stepp’d at last the youngest tow’rds me,
Bowing lowly twice, thrice, four times,
While with pleasing voice thus sang she:
“When the king I chance to meet with,
“Then I make him two low curtsies;
“When the queen I chance to meet with,
“Then I make her curtsies three.
“But whene’er the devil happens
“With his horns to come across me,
“Then I curtsey twice, thrice, four times—
“Girofflino, Girofflette!”
“Girofflino, Girofflette!”
Sang the chorus, and with bant’ring
Round my legs kept gaily whirling
With their circling dance and sing-song.
Whilst descending to the valley
That sweet echo still pursued me
Evermore, like birds’ soft chirping:
“Girofflino, Girofflette!”

CAPUT XV.

Rocky blocks, of size gigantic,
All-misshapen and distorted,
Gaze upon me like fierce monsters
Turn’d to stone, from times primeval.
Strange the sight! Grey clouds are hov’ring
High above me, like their double;
They’re the pallid counterfeit
Of those wild and stony figures.{293}
In the distance roars the streamlet,
And the wind howls through the fir-trees;
’Tis a noise inexorable,
And as wretched as despair.
Solitude most terrible!
Troops of jackdaws black are sitting
On the batter’d crumbling fir-trees,
Fluttering with their lame wings strangely.
Close beside me goes Lascaro,
Pale and silent,—I myself, too,
Looking like incarnate madness,
With grim death as my companion.
Wild and wretched is the country;
Lies it ’neath a curse? Methinks I
On the roots of yonder stunted
Tree can marks of blood discover.
It o’ershadoweth a cottage,
Which is modestly half-hidden
In the earth; with meek entreaty
Seems its thatch to gaze upon thee.
They who this poor cot inhabit
Are Cagots,[31] surviving relics
Of a race that deep in darkness
Lives a sad despised existence.
In the hearts of the Biscayans
Still is rooted fast the loathing
Of Cagots, dark heritage
From dark days of superstition.
In Bagnères cathedral even
Is a narrow grated entrance;
This, the sacristan inform’d me,
Was the door Cagots went in at.
Once to them all other ingress
To the church was interdicted,
And by stealth they had to enter
In God’s holy house, like felons.
There, upon a lowly footstool,
Sat the poor Cagots, and pray’d there
All alone,—as though infected,
Sever’d from the congregation.{294}
But the consecrated tapers
Of this century flare brightly,
And their lustre scares the evil
Shadows of the middle ages!
So outside remained Lascaro,
Whilst I the Cagot’s poor cottage
Enter’d, and my hand extended
Kindly to my suff’ring brother.
And I also kiss’d his infant,
Who, close-clinging to the bosom
Of his wife, suck’d greedily,
Looking like a sickly spider.

CAPUT XVI.

When thou see’st yon mountain summits
From a distance, they are gleaming
As though deck’d with gold and purple,
Proud and princely in the sunlight.
But when close at hand, this splendour
Vanishes, and, as in other
Earthly loveliness and glory,
’Tis the play of lights deceived thee.
What to thee seem’d gold and purple
Is, alas! but common snow,
Common snow, which, pale and wretched,
Lives a weary life and lonely.
Just above me heard I plainly
How the hapless snow was crackling,
To the heartless cold winds telling
All the tale of its white sorrows.
“O, how slowly pass here,” sigh’d it,
“In the desert waste the hours!
“O these hours that seem quite endless,
“Like eternities hard frozen!
“Hapless snow! O had I only,
Stead of on these mountain summits,
“Fallen into yonder valley,
“Yonder vale, where flow’rs are blooming,{295}
“Then should I have softly melted,
“And become a brook, whilst fairest
“Village maidens in my waters
“Would have washed their smiling faces.
“Yes, perchance I should have floated
“To the ocean, there becoming
“Some fair pearl, and so be destin’d
“To adorn a monarch’s crown!”
When I heard this pretty language,
Said I: “Darling snow, I’m doubtful
“Whether such a brilliant future
“Would have met thee in the valley.
“Comfort take! But few amongst you
“Turn to pearls; thou wouldst have fallen
“Probably in some small puddle,
“And become a piece of dirt!”
Whilst I in this friendly fashion
With the snow held conversation,
Came a shot, and from above me
Fell to earth a tawny vulture.
’Twas a joke of friend Lascaro,
Sportsman’s joke; and yet his features
Still continued fix’d and solemn,
His gun-barrel only smoking.
He in silence tore a feather
From the bird’s tail, and then stuck it
On the top of his peak’d felt-hat,
And then hasten’d on as usual.
Wellnigh ghostly ’twas to see him,
As his shadow with the feather
On the white snow of the mountain,
Black and long, was onward moving.

CAPUT XVII.

Like a street there runs a valley,
Known by name of Spirit-Hollow;
Rugged cliffs on either side of’t
Rise to giddy elevation.{296}
On the widest, steepest slope there,
Peers Uraca’s daring cottage
Like a watch-tow’r o’er the valley;
Thither follow’d I Lascaro.
With his mother held he counsel
In mysterious signal-language,
As to how great Atta Troll
Might be best allur’d and vanquish’d.
For we had explored his traces
Carefully, and he no longer
Could escape us. Now are number’d,
Atta Troll, thy days on earth!
As to whether old Uraca
Was in truth a mighty witch
Of distinction, as the people
In the Pyrenees asserted,
I’ll not venture to determine;
This much know I, her exterior
Was suspicious, and suspicious
Was her red eyes’ constant dripping.
Evil was her look, and squinting,
And the poor cows (’tis reported)
Whom she look’d on, in their udders
Had the milk dried suddenly.
It is even said that many
Fatted swine and strongest oxen
She had put to death, by merely
Stroking with her wither’d hands.
She at times for such offences
Was exposed to accusations
To the justice. But the latter
Was a follower of Voltaire,
Just a modern, shallow worldling,
Void of faith and penetration,
And the’ accusers sceptically
Were dismiss’d, wellnigh with insult.
Publicly Uraca follow’d
Quite an honest occupation,
Namely, selling mountain-simples
And stuff’d birds to those who sought them.{297}
Full her cottage was of suchlike
Curiosities, and frightful
Was the smell of fungi in it,
Cuckoo-flow’rs and elderberries.
There was quite a fine collection
Of the vulture tribe display’d there,
With their wings extended fully,
And their monstrous beaks projecting.
Was’t the strange plants’ smell that mounted
To my head and stupified me?
Wondrous feelings stole across me,
As I gazed upon those birds.
They’re perchance enchanted mortals,
Who, by magic art o’erpower’d,
To the wretched stuff’d condition
Of poor birds have been converted.
Fixedly they gaze upon me,
Sadly, yet with much impatience;
Often they appear to throw
Tow’rd the witch shy glances also.
But the latter, old Uraca,
Close beside her son Lascaro
Cowers in the chimney corner,
Melting lead and casting bullets,—
Bullets that by fate are destined
To destroy poor Atta Troll.
How the flames with hasty motion
Quiver o’er the witch’s features!
She incessantly keeps moving
Her thin lips, but nothing says she;
Mutters she the witches’ blessing,
That the casting be successful?
Oft she chuckles and oft nods she
To her son, but he continues
Earnestly his occupation,
And as silently as Death.
Swelt’ring ’neath my awe-struck feelings,
To the window went I, seeking
For fresh air, and then look’d downward
O’er the valley far below me.{298}
What I saw on that occasion
’Tween the hours of twelve and one,
I will faithfully and neatly
Tell you in the following chapters.

CAPUT XVIII.

And it was the time of full moon
On St. John the Baptist’s evening,
When the wild hunt’s apparition
Rush’d along the Spirit-Hollow.
From the window of Uraca’s
Witchlike hut I excellently
Could observe the spirit-army
As it sped along the valley.
Capital the place I stood in
For observing what was passing;
I enjoy’d a full sight of the
Grave-arisen dead men’s pastime.
Cracking whips, and shouts and halloing,
Yelping dogs and neighing horses,
Notes of hunting-horns and laughter,
How they joyously re-echoed!
On in front by way of vanguard
Ran the wondrous game they hunted,
Stag and sow, in herds enormous,
With the pack of hounds behind them.
Huntsmen out of every region
And of every age were gather’d;
Hard by Nimrod of Assyria,
For example, rode Charles X—.
High upon their snowy horses
On they rush’d; on foot there follow’d
The piqueurs, the leashes holding,
And the pages with the torches.
Many in the wild procession
Seem’d to me well-known. The horseman
In the golden glist’ning armour,—
Was he not the great King Arthur?{299}
And Sir Ogier, he of Denmark,
Wore he not his green and glancing
Coat of ringèd mail, that gave him
All the’ appearance of a frog?
In the long train also saw I
Many intellectual heroes;
There I recognized our Wolfgang,
By his eyes’ exceeding lustre.
Being damn’d by Hengstenberg,
In his grave he cannot slumber,
But his earthly love for hunting
With the heathen throng continues.
By his mouth’s sweet smile I also
Knew again the worthy William,[32]
Whom the Puritans had likewise
Cursed with bitterness; this sinner
Needs must join at night that savage
Army, on a black steed mounted;
On an ass, and close beside him
Rode a man,—and, O good heavens,
By his weary, praying gestures,
By his pious snow-white nightcap,
By his grief of soul, I straightway
Knew our old friend, Francis Horn!
Just for writing commentaries
On the world-child Shakespear, must he
After death, poor fellow, with him
Ride amidst the wild hunt’s tumult!
Ah! he now must ride, poor Francis,
Who to walk was well-nigh frighten’d;
Who ne’er moved, except when praying,
Or when chatting o’er the tea-tray!
Would not all the aged maidens,
Long accustomed to caress him,
Shudder if they came to hear that
Francis was a savage huntsman!
When he breaks into a gallop,
The great William with derision
Looks on his poor commentator
Who at donkey’s pace goes after,{300}
Helplessly and wildly clinging
To the pommel of his donkey,
Yet in death as well as lifetime
Following faithfully his author.
Many ladies saw I also
In the spirits’ wild procession,
Many beauteous nymphs amongst them
With their slender, youthful figures.
They astraddle sat their horses,
Mythologically naked;
Yet their long and curling tresses
Fell low down, like golden mantles.
Garlands on their heads they carried,
And with saucy backward-bending
Supercilious wanton postures
Leafy wands kept ever swinging.
Hard beside them saw I certain
Closely-button’d dames on horseback
On their ladies’ saddles sitting
With their falcons on their fists.
As in parody behind them
On their knackers, lanky ponies,
Rode a troop of gay bedizen’d
Women, looking like comedians.
Full of beauty were their features,
But perchance a little bold;
Madly were they shouting with their
Cheeks so full and wanton-painted.
How they joyously re-echoed,
Notes of hunting-horns and laughter,
Yelping dogs and neighing horses,
Cracking whips and shouts and halloing.

CAPUT XIX.

But, resembling beauty’s trefoil,
In the midst of the procession
Figures three I noticed; ne’er I
Can forget those lovely women.{301}
Easily the first one knew I
By the crescent on her forehead;
Like a statue pure, all-proudly
Onward rode the mighty goddess.
High up-turn’d appear’d her tunic,
Half her breast and hip disclosing;
Torchlight, moonlight both were playing
Gaily round her snowy members.
White as marble were her features,
Cold as marble too; and fearful
Was the numbness and the paleness
Of that face, so stern and noble.
Yet within her black eye plainly
Terribly but sweetly sparkled
A mysterious, glowing fire,
Spirit-dazzling and consuming.
O, how alter’d was Diana
Who, with haughty chastity,
To a stag once turn’d Acteon,
And as prey to dogs abandon’d!
Does she expiate this crime now
Join’d to these gallant companions?
Like a wretched spectral creature
Nightly through the air she travels.
Late, indeed, but all the stronger
She to thoughts of lust awakens,
And within her eyes ’tis burning,
Like a very brand of hell.
All the lost time now laments she,
When mankind were far more handsome
And by quantity perchance she
Now makes up for quality.
Close beside her rode a beauty
Whose fair features were not chisell’d
In such Grecian mould, yet glisten’d
With the Celtic race’s charms.
This one was the fay Abunde,
Whom I easily distinguish’d
By the sweetness of her smile,
And her mad and hearty laughter!{302}
Hale and rosy were her features,
As though limn’d by Master Greuze;
Heart-shaped was her mouth, and open,
Showing teeth of dazzling whiteness.
Night-dress blue and flutt’ring wore she,
That the wind to lift attempted;
Even in my brightest visions
Never saw I such fair shoulders!
Scarcely could I keep from springing
Out of window to embrace them;
Ill should I have fared, however,
For my neck should I have broken.
She, alas! would but have titter’d
If before her feet, all-bleeding,
In the deep abyss I tumbled,—
Ah! a laugh like this well know I!
And the third of those fair women,
Who so deeply stirr’d thy bosom,—
Was she but a female devil
Like the other two first mention’d?
Whether devil she or angel,
Know I not; in case of women
One knows never where the angel
Ceases, and the deuce commences.
On her glowing sickly features
Lay an oriental charm,
And her costly robes reminded
Of Schehezerade’s sweet stories.
Soft her lips, just like pomegranates,
And her nose a bending lily,
And her members cool and slender
As the palms in the oasis.
On a snowy palfrey sat she,
Whose gold bridle by two negroes
Was conducted, who on foot
By the princess’ side were walking.
And in truth she was a princess,
Was the queen of far Judæa,
Was the lovely wife of Herod,
Who the Baptist’s head demanded.{303}
For this deed of blood she also
Was accurs’d, and as a spectre
With the wild hunt must keep riding,
Even to the day of judgment.
In her hands she evermore
Bears the charger with the Baptist’s
Head upon it, which she kisses,—
Yes, the head she kisses wildly.
For she once loved John the Baptist;
In the Bible ’tis not written,
Yet in popular tradition
Lives Herodias’ bloody love.
Otherwise there’s no explaining
That strange fancy of the lady,—
Would a woman ever ask for
That man’s head for whom she cared not?
She was somewhat angry, may be,
With him,—had him, too, beheaded;
But when she upon the charger
Saw the much-loved head lie lifeless,
Sore she wept, and lost her senses,
And she died of love’s delirium.
(Love’s delirium! Pleonasm!
Love must always be delirium!)
Every night arising, bears she
As I’ve said, the bloody head
In her hand as she goes hunting,
Yet with foolish woman’s fancy
She at times the head hurls from her
Through the air, with childish laughter,
And then catches it again
Very nimbly, like a plaything.
And as she was riding by me,
On me look’d she, and she nodded
So coquettishly and fondly,
That my inmost heart was shaken.
Three times up and downward moving
The procession pass’d, and three times
Did the lovely apparition
Greet me, as she rode before me.{304}
When the train at last had faded,
And the tumult was extinguish’d,
Still that loving salutation
Glow’d within my inmost brain.
And throughout the livelong night
I my weary limbs kept tossing
On the straw (for feather beds
Were not in Uraca’s cottage),
And methought: What meaning was there
In that strange, mysterious nodding?
Wherefore didst thou gaze upon me
With such tenderness, Herodias?

CAPUT XX.

’Twas the sunrise. Golden arrows
Shot against the white mist fiercely,
Which turn’d red, as though sore wounded,
And in light and glory melted.
Finally the victory’s won,
And the day, the triumphator,
Stood, in full and beaming splendour,
On the summit of the mountain.
All the birds in noisy chorus
Twitter’d in their secret nests,
And a smell of herbs arose too,
Like a concert of sweet odours.
At the earliest dawn of morning
To the valley we descended,
And whilst friend Lascaro follow’d
On the traces of the bear,
I the time to kill attempted
With my thoughts, and yet this thinking
Made me at the last quite weary,
And a little mournful even.
Weary, then, and mournful sank I
On the soft moss-bank beside me.
Under yonder mighty ash-tree,
Where the little streamlet flow’d,{305}
Which, with its mysterious plashing
So mysteriously befool’d me,
That all thoughts and power of thinking
From my spirit pass’d away.
And a raging yearning seized me
For a dream, for death, for madness,
For that woman-rider, whom I
In the spirit-march had seen.
O ye lovely nightly faces,
Scared away by beams of morning,
Tell me, whither have ye fleeted?
Tell me, where ye dwell at daytime?
Under olden temples’ ruins,
Far away in the Romagna
(So ’tis said) Diana refuge
Seeks by day from Christ’s dominion.
Only in the midnight darkness
From her hiding place she ventures,
And rejoices in the chase
With her heathenish companions.
And the beauteous fay Abunde
Of the Nazarenes is fearful,
And throughout the day she lingers
Safe within her Avalun.
This fair island lies deep-hidden
Far off, in the silent ocean
Of romance, that none can reach save
On the fabled horse’s pinions.
Never there casts care its anchor,
Never there appears a steamer,
Full of wonder-seeking blockheads,
With tobacco-pipes in mouth.
Never reaches there the languid
Sound of bells, so dull and tedious,—
That incessant bim-bom clatter
Which the fairies so detest.
There, in never-troubled pleasure,
And in youth eternal blooming,
Still resides the joyous lady,
Our blond dame, the fay Abunde.{306}
Laughingly her walks there takes she
Under lofty heliotropes,
With her talking train beside her,
World-departed Paladins.
Well, and thou, Herodias, prythee
Say where art thou? Ah, I know it,
Thou art dead, and liest buried
By the town Jerusalem!
Stiffly sleeps by day thy body,
In its marble coffin prison’d;
Yet the cracking whips and halloing
Waken thee at midnight’s hour,
And the wild array thou followest
With Diana and Abunde,
With thy merry hunting comrades,
Who hold cross and pain detested.
O what sweet society!
Could I hunt with you by night-time
Through the forests! By thy side
Always would I ride, Herodias!
For ’tis thee I love the dearest!
More than yonder Grecian goddess,
More than yonder Northern fairy,
Love I thee, thou Jewess dead!
Yes, I love thee! Well I know it
By the trembling of my spirit;
Love thou me, and be my darling,
Sweet Herodias, beauteous woman.
I’m the very knight thou wantest!
Little truly it concerns me
That thou’rt dead and damn’d already,
For I’m free from prejudices.
My own happiness ’tis only
That concerns me, and at times I
Feel inclined to doubt if truly
To the living I belong!
Take me as thy knight, I pray thee,
As thy Cavalier servente,
And thy mantle will I carry
And e’en all thy whims put up with.{307}
Every night I’ll ride beside thee,
With the army wild careering;
Merrily we’ll talk and laugh then
At my frenzied conversation.
Thus the time I’ll shorten for thee
In the night; but yet by day-time
All our joy will fly, and weeping
On that grave I’ll take my seat.
Yes, I’ll sit by day-time weeping
On the regal vault’s sad ruins,
On the grave of thee, my loved one,
By the town Jerusalem.
Aged Jews, who chance to pass me,
Then will surely think I’m sorrowing
For the temple’s desolation,
And the town Jerusalem.

CAPUT XXI.

Argonauts without a ship,
Who on foot the mountain visit,
And instead of golden fleeces
Aim at nothing but a bear’s skin,—
We’re, alas! poor devils only,
Heroes of a modern fashion,
And no classic poet ever
Will in song immortalize us.
Yet we notwithstanding suffer’d
Serious hardships! O what rain
Fell upon us on the summit,
Where no tree or hackney-coach was!
Fierce the storm, its bonds were broken,
And in buckets it descended;
Jason surely was at Colchis
Never drench’d in such a show’r-bath!
“An umbrella! Gladly would I
“Give you six-and-thirty kings[33]
“For the loan of one umbrella!”
“Cried I,—and the water dripp’d still.{308}
Fagg’d to death, and out of temper,
We return’d, like half-drown’d puppies
Late at night, as best we could,
To the witch’s lofty cottage.
There beside the glowing fire-place
Sat Uraca, busy combing
Her great fat and ugly pug-dog;
Quickly she dismiss’d the latter,
To attend to us instead,
And my bed she soon got ready,
Loosening first my espardillas,
That uncomfortable foot-gear—
Help’d me to undress, my stockings
Pulling off; I found them sticking
To my legs, as close and faithful
As the friendship of a blockhead.
“Quick! a dressing-gown! I’d give you
“Six-and-thirty kings for only
“One dry dressing-gown!” exclaim’d I,
As my wet shirt steam’d upon me.
Freezing and with chattering teeth, I
Stood awhile upon the hearth;
By the fire then driven senseless
On the straw at length I sank.
But I slept not. Blinking look’d I
On the witch, who by the chimney
Sat, and held the head and shoulders
Of her son upon her lap,
Helping to undress him. Near her
Stood upright her ugly pug-dog,
And he in his front paw managed
Cleverly to hold a pot.
From the pot Uraca took some
Reddish fat, and with it rubb’d the
Ribs and bosom of her son,
Rubbing hastily, with trembling.
And while rubbing him and salving,
She a cradle-song was humming
Through her nose, whilst strangely crackled
On the hearth the ruddy flames.{309}
Like a corpse, all yellow, bony,
On his mother’s lap the son lay,
Sorrowful as death, wide open
Stared his hollow, pallid eyes.
Is he truly but a dead man
Who each night by love maternal
Hath a life enchanted giv’n him
By the aid of strongest witch-salve?
Wondrous the half-sleep of fever,
Where the leaden limbs feel weary
As though fetter’d, and the senses
O’er-excited, wide awake!
How the herb-smell in the chamber
Troubled me! With painful effort
Thought I where I had already
Smelt the same, but vain my thoughts were.
How the wind a-down the chimney
Gave me pain! Like sighs it sounded
Of dejected dried-up spirits,—
Like the sound of well-known voices.
Most of all was I tormented
By the stuff’d birds, which were standing
On a shelf above my head,
Near the place where I was lying.
They their wings were slowly flapping
And with awful motion, bending
Downward tow’rd me, forward pushing
Their long beaks, like human noses.
Ah! where have I seen already
Noses such as these? At Hamburg,
Or at Frankfort, in the Jews’ street?
Sad the glimmering recollection!
I at last was overpower’d
Quite by sleep, and in the place of
Wakeful, terrible phantasmas,
Came a healthful, steady dream.
And I dreamt that this poor cottage
Suddenly became a ball-room
Which by columns was supported,
And by candelabra lighted.{310}
Some invisible musicians
Play’d from out Robert-le-Diable
That fine crazy dance of nuns;
All alone I walk’d about there.
But at length the doors were open’d,
Open’d wide and then advanced
With a step both slow and stately
Guests of wonderful appearance.
They were solely bears and spirits!
Walking bolt upright, each bear
Led a spirit as his partner,
In a snow-white grave-cloth hidden.
In this manner pair’d, began they
Waltzing up and down with vigour
In the hall. The sight was curious,
Laughable, but also fearful!
For the awkward bears soon found it
Difficult to keep in step
With the white and airy figures,
Who whirl’d round with easy motion.
But those poor unhappy creatures
Were inexorably driven,
And their snorting overpower’d
E’en the’ orchestral double bass.
Oftentimes one couple jostled
’Gainst another, and the bear
Gave the spirit that had push’d him
Some hard kicks on his hind quarters.
Often in the dance’s bustle
Would a bear tear off the shroud
From the head of his companion,
And a death’s head was disclosed then.
But at length with joyous uproar
Crash’d the trumpets and the cymbals,
And the kettle-drums loud thunder’d,
And there came the gallopade.
To the end of this I dreamt not,—
For a stupid clumsy bear
Trod upon my corns, and made me
Cry aloud, and so awoke me.

{311}

CAPUT XXII.

Phœbus in his sunny droschka
Lash’d his flaming horses onwards,
And had half his course already
Through the spacious heavens completed,
Whilst I still in slumber lay,
And of bears and spirits, strangely
Intertwining with each other
In quaint arabesque, was dreaming.
Midday ’twas ere I awaken’d,
And I found myself alone;
Both my hostess and Lascaro
For the chase had started early.
In the hut the pug-dog only
Still remain’d. Beside the hearth he
Stood upright before the kettle,
While his paws a spoon were holding.
Admirably had they taught him
Whensoe’er the broth boil’d over
Hastily to stir it round,
And to skim away the bubbles.
But am I myself bewitch’d?
Or still blazes there the fever
In my head? I scarce can credit
My own ears—the pug-dog’s talking!
Yes, he’s talking, and his accent
Gentle is and Swabian; dreaming,
As though buried in deep thought,
Speaks he in the foll’wing fashion:
“Poor unhappy Swabian poet!
“In a foreign land I sadly
“Languish, as a dog enchanted,
“And a witch’s kettle watch!
“What a shameful sin is witchcraft!
“O how sad, how deeply tragic
“Is my fate,—with human feelings
“Underneath a dog’s exterior!{312}
“Would that I at home had tarried
“With my trusty school companions!
“They’re at any rate no wizards,—
“Ne’er bewitch’d a single being!
“Would that I at home had tarried
“With Charles Mayer, with the fragrant
“Wallflow’rs of my native country,
“With its pudding-broth delicious!
“I’m half dead now with nostalgia—
“Would that I could see the smoke
“Rising from the chimneys where they
“Vermicelli cook at Stukkert!”
When I heard this, deep emotion
Came across me; quickly sprang I
From the couch, approach’d the fireplace,
And address’d him with compassion:
“Noble bard, say how it happens
“That thou’rt in this witch’s cottage?
“Tell me wherefore have they changed thee
“Cruelly into a pug-dog?”
But with joy exclaim’d the other:
“Then thou’rt really not a Frenchman,
“But a German, understanding
“All my silent monologue?
“Ah, dear countryman! how sad that
“Counc’llor-of-legation Kölle,
“When we o’er our pipes and glasses
“Held discussions in the beershop,
“Always harp’d upon the thesis
“That by travelling alone we
“Could obtain that polish, which he
“Had from foreign lands imported!
“So, that I might wipe away all
“That raw crust which stuck upon me,
“And like Kölle might acquire
“Elegant and polish’d manners,
“From my country I departed,
“And while thus the grand tour making,
“Came I to the Pyrenees,
“To the cottage of Uraca.{313}
“I an introduction brought her
“From Justinus Kerner[34], never
“Thinking that this so-called friend
“Was in wicked league with witches.
“Kindly welcomed me Uraca,
“Yet, to my alarm, her friendship
“Kept on growing, till converted
“At the last to sensual passion.
“Yes, immodesty still flicker’d
“Wildly in the wither’d bosom
“Of this wretched, worthless woman,
“And she now must needs seduce me!
“Yet implored I: ‘Ah, excuse me,
Worthy madam! I’m no friv’lous
Goethe’s pupil, but belong
To the poet-school of Swabia.
Modesty’s the muse we worship,
And the drawers she wears are made of
Thickest leather—Ah, good madam,
Do not violate my virtue!
Other poets boast of genius,
Others fancy, others passion,
But the pride of Swabian poets
Is especially their virtue.
That’s the only wealth we boast of!
Do not rob me of the modest
And religious simple garment
Which my nakedness doth cover!’
“Thus I spoke, and yet the woman
“Smiled ironically; smiling
“She a switch of mistletoe
“Took, and then my head touch’d with it.
“Thereupon I felt a chilly
“Strange sensation, like a goose-skin
“Being o’er my members drawn;
“Yet in truth a goose-skin ’twas not—{314}
“On the contrary, a dog-skin
“Was it rather; since that fearful
“Moment have I been converted
“As thou see’st me, to a pug-dog!”
Poor young fellow! Through his sobbing
Not a word more could he utter;
And he wept with so much fervour,
That in tears wellnigh dissolved he.
“Listen now,” I said with pity:
“Can I possibly relieve you
“Of your dog-skin, and restore you
“To humanity and verses?”
But the other raised his paws up
In the air disconsolately
And despairingly; at length he
Spake with sighing and with groaning:
“Till the Judgment Day, alas! I
“In this dog-skin must be prison’d,
“If I’m freed not from enchantment
“By a virgin’s self-devotion.
“Yes, a pure unsullied virgin,
“Who ne’er touch’d a human being,
“And the following condition
“Truly keeps, alone can free me.
“This unsullied virgin must,
“In the night of Saint Sylvester,
“Read Gustavus Pfizer’s[35] poems,
“And not go to sleep one moment!
“If she keeps awake while reading,
“And her modest eye ne’er closes,—
“Then shall I be disenchanted,
“Be a man,—yes, be undogg’d!”
“In that case, good friend,” replied I,
“I at any rate can never
“Undertake to disenchant you,
“For I’m no unsullied virgin;{315}
“And still less should I be able
“To fulfil the task of reading
“All Gustavus Pfizer’s poems,
“And not fall asleep instanter!”

CAPUT XXIII.

From the witch’s entertainment
To the valley we descended,
And our footsteps to the region
Of the Positive return’d.
Hence, ye spirits! Nightly spectres!
Airy figures! Fev’rish visions!
We find rational employment
Once again with Atta Troll.
In the cavern, by his young ones,
Lies the old bear, soundly sleeping,
With the snore of conscious virtue,
And at length he wakes with gaping.
Near him squats young Master One-ear
And his head he’s gently scratching.
Like a bard whose rhyme is wanting,
And upon his paws he’s scanning.
Likewise by their father’s side
On their backs are dreaming lying
Innocent four-footed lilies,
Atta Troll’s belovèd daughters.
Say, what tender thoughts are pining
In the softly blooming spirits
Of these snowy young bear-virgins?
Moist with tears their eyes are glist’ning.
Most of all appears the youngest
Deeply moved. Within her bosom
She a blissful twinge is feeling,
And to Cupid’s might succumbs she.
Yes, that little god’s sharp arrow
Through her thick skin penetrated
When she saw Him—O, good heavens
Him she loves, a living man is!{316}
Is a man, yclept Schnapphahnski;—
Whilst before his foes retreating
He arrived by chance one morning
At the mountain in his flight.
Woes of heroes touch all women,
And within our hero’s features
Were depicted want of money,
Pale distress and gloomy sorrow.
All his military chest,
Two-and-twenty silver groschen,
Which he had when Spain he enter’d,
Was the prey of Espartero.
E’en his watch was not preserved him,
But remain’d at Pampeluna
In a pawn-shop. ’Twas an heirloom,
Costly and of genuine silver.
And with long legs swiftly ran he,
But unconsciously whilst running
Won he something that’s far better
Than the best of fights,—a heart!
Yes, she loves him, him, the archfoe!
O thou most unhappy bearess!
If thy father knew the secret,
He would growl in frightful fashion.
As the aged Odoardo[36]
Stabb’d Emilia Galotti
In his pride of citizenship,
So would also Atta Troll
Sooner have destroy’d his daughter,
Yes, with his own paws destroy’d her
Than permitted her to tumble
In the arms of any monarch
Yet he at this very moment
Is of tender disposition,
With no wish to crush a rosebud
Ere the hurricane has stripp’d it.[37]
{317}
Tenderly lies Atta Troll
In the cavern, by his young ones.
O’er him creep, like death’s forebodings,
Mournful yearnings for the future.
“Children,” sigh’d he, as his great eyes
“Suddenly ’gan dripping, “children,
“All my earthly pilgrimage
“Is accomplish’d, we must part now.
“For to-day at noon whilst sleeping
“Came a vision full of meaning,
“And my soul enjoy’d the blissful
“Foretaste of an early death.
“Now, I’m far from superstitious,
“I’m no giddy bear,—yet are there
“Certain things ’twixt earth and heaven
“Unaccountable to thinkers.
“Over world and fate whilst poring,
“Fell I fast asleep, with yawning,
“And I dreamt that I was lying
“Underneath a mighty tree.
“From the branches of this tree there
“Trickled down some whitish honey,
“Gliding in my open muzzle,
“And I felt a sweet enjoyment.
“As I blissfully peer’d upwards,
“Saw I on the very tree-top
“Seven tiny little bears
“Sliding up and down the branches.
“Tender, pretty little creatures,
“With a skin of rose-red colour,
“While, like silk, from their dear shoulders
“Hung a something, like two pinions.
“Yes, those rose-red little bears
“Were adorn’d with silken pinions,
“And with sweet celestial voices,
“Sounding like a flute’s notes, sang they!
“As they sang, my skin turn’d ice-cold,
“And from out my skin there mounted,
“Like a soaring flame, my spirit,
“Radiantly to heaven ascending.”{318}
Thus spake Atta Troll in quivering
Tender grunting tones; a moment
Paused he, full of melancholy—
But his ears with sudden impulse
Prick’d he up, and strangely shook they,
Whilst from off his couch upsprang he,
Trembling, bellowing with rapture:
“Do ye hear that sound, my children?
“Is it not the darling accents
“Of your mother? O, well know I,
Tis the roaring of my Mumma!
“Mumma! Yes, my swarthy Mumma!”
Atta Troll, these words pronouncing,
Hasten’d, like a crazy being,
From the cavern to destruction!
Ah, he rush’d to meet his doom!

CAPUT XXI

In the vale of Ronceval
On the very spot where whilome
Charlemagne’s unhappy nephew
To the foe his life surrender’d,
There, too, fell poor Atta Troll,
And he fell by cunning, like him
Whom the base equestrian Judas,
Ganelon of Mainz, betrayed.
Ah! that noblest bear’s-emotion,
Namely his uxorious feelings,
Was a snare which old Uraca
Cunningly avail’d herself of.
She the growl of swarthy Mumma
Copied with such great perfection,
That poor Atta Troll was tempted
Out of his secure bear’s-cavern.
On the wings of yearning ran he
Through the vale,—oft stood he, gently
Snuffing at a rock in silence,
Thinking Mumma was conceal’d there.{319}
Ah! conceal’d there was Lascaro
With his musket, and he shot him
Through the middle of his heart, whence
Gush’d a ruddy stream of blood.
Once or twice his head he waggled,
But at last with heavy groaning
Fell he down, and wildly gasp’d he,
And his latest sigh was—“Mumma.”
Thus the noble hero fell;
Thus he died. And yet immortal
Will he in the poet’s numbers
After death arise in glory.
Yes, he’ll rise again in numbers,
And his glory, grown colossal,
On four-footed solemn trochees
O’er the face of earth stride proudly.
And his tomb Bavaria’s monarch
Will erect in the Walhalla,
Writing on it this inscription,
In true lapidary style:
“Atta Troll; a bear of impulse;
“Devotee; a loving husband;
“Full of sans-culottic notions,
“Thanks to the prevailing fashion.
“Wretched dancer; strong opinions
“Bearing in his shaggy bosom;
“Often stinking very badly;
“Talentless; a character!”

CAPUT XXV.

Three-and-thirty aged women,
Wearing on their heads the scarlet
Old Biscayan caps we read of,
Stood around the village entrance.
One, like Deborah, amongst them
Beat the tambourine, and danced too,
And she sang a song of triumph
O’er Lascaro, the bear-slayer.{320}
Four strong men upon their shoulders
Bore the vanquish’d bear in triumph;
Upright sat he on the seat,
Like a sickly bathing patient.
And behind, as if related
To the dead bear, went Lascaro
With Uraca; right and left she
Bow’d her thanks, though much embarrass’d.
And the Mayor’s Assistant gave them
Quite a speech before the town hall,
When the grand procession got there,
And he spoke on many subjects,—
As, for instance, on the increase
Of the navy, on the press,
On the weighty beetroot question,
On the curse of party spirit.
After fully illustrating
Louis Philippe’s special merits,
He proceeded to the bear,
And Lascaro’s great achievement.
“Thou, Lascaro!” cried the speaker,
As with his tricolour’d sash he
Wiped the sweat from off his forehead,
“Thou, Lascaro! Thou, Lascaro!
“Thou who bravely hast deliver’d
“France and Spain from Atta Troll,
“Thou’rt the hero of both countries,
“Pyrenean Lafayette!”
When Lascaro in this manner
Heard officially his praises,
In his beard with pleasure laugh’d he,
And quite blush’d with satisfaction,
And in very broken accents,
One word o’er another stumbling,
Gave he utt’rance to his thanks
For this most exceeding honour!
Every one with deep amazement
Gazed upon this sight unwonted,
And the aged women mutter’d
In alarm, beneath their breath:{321}
“Why, Lascaro has been laughing!
“Why, Lascaro has been blushing!
“Why, Lascaro has been speaking!
“He, the dead son of the witch!”—
Atta Troll that very day was
Flay’d, and then they sold by auction
His poor skin. A furrier bought it
For one hundred francs, hard money.
He most beautifully trimm’d it
With a lovely scarlet border,
And then sold it for just double
What it cost him in the first place.
Juliet then became its owner
At third hand, and in her bedroom
Lies it now in Paris, serving
As a rug beside her bed.
O, with naked feet how often
Have I stood at night upon this
Earthly brown coat of my hero,
On the skin of Atta Troll!
And o’ercome by sad reflections,
Schiller’s words I then remember’d:
“What in song shall be immortal
“Must in actual life first die!”[38]

CAPUT XXVI.

Well, and Mumma? Ah, poor Mumma
Is a woman! Frailty
Is her name! Alas! all women
Are as frail as any porcelain.
When by fate’s hand she was parted
From her glorious noble husband,
She by no means died of sorrow,
Nor succumb’d to her affliction.
On the contrary, she gaily
Went on living, went on dancing
As before, with ardour wooing
For the public’s daily plaudits.{322}
Finally she found a solid
Situation, and provision
For the whole of life, at Paris
In the famed Jardin des Plantes.
When I chanced the other Sunday
With my Juliet to go thither
And expounded Nature to her,
Of the plants and beasts conversing,
Showing the giraffes and cedars
Of Mount Lebanon, the mighty
Dromedary, the gold pheasants,
And the zebra,—as we chatted
It so happen’d that at length we
Stood before the pit’s close railing
Where the bears are all collected,—
Gracious heavens, what saw we there!
An enormous desert-bear
From Siberia, white and hairy,
With a lady-bear was playing
A too-tender game of love there.
And the latter was our Mumma!
Was the wife of Atta Troll!
Well I knew her by the tender
Humid glances of her eye.
Yes, ’twas she! the South’s black daughter!
She it was,—yes, Madame Mumma
With a Russian is now living,
With a Northern wild barbarian!
With a simp’ring face a negro
Who approach’d us, thus address’d me:
“Is there any sight more pleasing
“Than to see two lovers happy?”
I replied: “Pray tell me whom, Sir,
“I’ve the honour of addressing?”
But the other cried with wonder:
“Don’t you really recollect me?
“Why, the Moorish prince am I
“Who in Freiligrath was drumming;
“Things in Germany went badly,
“I was far too isolated.{323}
“Here, however, where as keeper
I am station’d, where I’m living
’Mongst the lions, plants, and tigers
Of my home within the tropics,
“Here I find it much more pleasant
Than your German fairs attending,
Where I day by day was drumming
And was fed so very badly.
“I quite recently was married
To a fair cook from Alsatia;
When within her arms reposing
Feel I then at home completely.
“Her dear feet remind me closely
Of our darling elephants;
When she speaks in French, her language
My black mother-tongue resembles.
“Oft she scolds me, and I think then
Of the rattling of that drum
Which had skulls around it hanging;
Snake and lion fled before it.
“Yet with feeling in the moonlight
Weeps she, like a crocodile
Peeping from the tepid river
To enjoy a little coolness.
“And she gives me charming tit-bits,
And I thrive upon them, eating
Once again, as on the Niger,
With old African enjoyment.
“I am getting fat; my belly’s
Grown quite round, and from my shirt it
Is projecting, like a black moon
From the snow-white clouds advancing.”

CAPUT XXVII.

(To Augustus Varnhagen Von Ense.)

“Where in heaven, Master Louis,
Did you pick up all this crazy
Nonsense?”—these the very words were
hich the Card’nal d’Este made use of.{324}
When he read the well-known poem
Of Orlando’s frantic doings,
Which politely Ariosto
To his Eminence inscribed.
Yes, my good old friend Varnhagen,
Yes, I round thy lips see plainly
Hov’ring those exact expressions,
By the same sly smile attended.
Often dost thou laugh whilst reading,
Yet at intervals thy forehead
Solemnly is wrinkled over,
And these thoughts then steal across thee:
“Sounds it not like those young visions
That I dreamt once with Chamisso,
And Brentano and Fouqué,
In the blue and moonlight evenings?[39]
“Is it not the dear notes rising
From the long-lost forest chapel?
Sound the well-known cap and bells not
Roguishly at intervals?
“In the nightingale’s sweet chorus
Breaks the bear’s deep double-bass,
Dull and growling, interchanging
In its turn with spirit-whispers!
“Nonsense, which pretends to wisdom!
Wisdom, which has turn’d quite crazy!
Dying sighs, which suddenly
Into laughter are converted!”—
Yes, my friend, the sounds indeed ’tis
From the long departed dream-time;
Save that modern quavers often
’Midst the olden keynotes jingle.
Signs of trembling thou’lt discover
Here and there, despite the boasting;
I commend this little poem
To thy well-proved gentleness!{325}
Ah! perchance it is the last free
Forest-song of the Romantic;
In the daytime’s wild confusion
Will it sadly die away.
Other times and other birds too!
Other birds and other music!
What a crackling, like the geese’s
Who preserved the Capitol!
What a twitt’ring! ’Tis the sparrows,.
While their claws hold farthing rushlights;
Yet they’re strutting like Jove’s eagle
With the mighty thunderbolt!
What a cooing! Turtledoves ’tis;
Sick of love, they now are hating,
And henceforward, ’stead of Venus,
Draw the chariot of Bellona!
What a humming, world-convulsing!
’Tis in fact the big cock-chafers
Of the springtime of the people,
Smitten with a sudden frenzy!
Other times and other birds too!
Other birds and other music!
They perchance could give me pleasure
Had I only other ears!

{326}

GERMANY.[40]

A WINTER TALE.

CAPUT I.

In the mournful month of November ’twas,
The winter days had returnèd,
The wind from the trees the foliage tore,
When I tow’rds Germany journied.
And when at length to the frontier I came
I felt a mightier throbbing
Within my breast, tears fill’d my eyes,
And I wellnigh broke into sobbing.
And when I the German language heard,
Strange feelings each other succeeding,
I felt precisely as though my heart
Right pleasantly were bleeding.
A little maiden sang to the harp;
Real feeling her song was conveying,
Though false was her voice, and yet I felt
Deep moved at hearing her playing.
She sang of love, and she sang of love’s woes,
Of sacrifices, and meeting
Again on high, in yon better world
Where vanish our sorrows so fleeting.
She sang of this earthly valley of tears,
Of joys which so soon have vanish’d,
Of yonder, where revels the glorified soul
In eternal bliss, grief being banish’d.
The song of renunciation she sang,
The heavenly eiapopeia,
Wherewith the people, the booby throng,
Are hush’d when they soothing require.{327}
I know the tune, and I know the text,
I know the people who wrote it;
I know that in secret they drink but wine,
And in public a wickedness vote it.
A song, friends, that’s new, and a better one, too,
Shall be now for your benefit given!
Our object is, that here on earth
We may mount to the realms of heaven.
On earth we fain would happy be,
Nor starve for the sake of the stronger;
The idle stomach shall gorge itself
With the fruit of hard labour no longer.
Bread grows on the earth for every one,
Enough, and e’en in redundance,
And roses and myrtles, beauty and joy,
And sugarplums too in abundance.
Yes, sugarplums for every one,
As soon as the plums are provided;
To angels and sparrows we’re quite content
That heaven should be confided.
If after death our pinions should grow,
We’ll pay you a visit auspicious
In regions above, and with you we’ll eat
Sweet tarts and cakes delicious.
A song that’s new, and a better one, too,
Resounds like fiddle and flute now;
The Miserere’s at last at an end,
The funeral bells are mute now.
The maiden Europe has been betroth’d
To the handsome Genius Freedom;
They clasp and kiss each other with warmth,
As their newborn passions lead ’em.
The priestly blessing may absent be,
But the wedding is still a wedding;
So here’s long life to the bridegroom and bride,
And the future fruit of their bedding!
An epithalamium is my song,
My latest and best creation;
Within my soul are shooting the stars
That proclaim its inauguration.{328}
Those stars inspired blaze wildly on
In torrents of flame, and with wonder
I feel myself full of unearthly strength,
I could rend e’en oaks asunder!
Since I on Germany’s ground have trod,
I’m pervaded by magical juices;
The giant has touch’d his mother once more,
And the contact new vigour produces.

CAPUT II.

Whilst heavenly joys were warbled thus
And sung by the little maiden,
The Prussian douaniers search’d my trunk,
As soon as the coach was unladen.
They poked their noses in every thing,
Each handkerchief, shirt, and stocking;
They sought for jewels, prohibited books,
And lace, with a rudeness quite shocking.
Ye fools, so closely to search my trunk!
Ye will find in it really nothing;
My contraband goods I carry about
In my head, not hid in my clothing.
Point lace is there, that’s finer far
Than Brussels or Mechlin laces;
If once I unpack my point, ’twill prick
And cruelly scratch your faces.
In my head I carry my jewelry all,
The Future’s crown-diamonds splendid,
The new god’s temple-ornaments rich,
The god as yet not comprehended.
And many books also you’d see in my head,
If the top were only off it!
My head is a twittering bird’s nest, full
Of books that they gladly would forfeit.
Believe me that matters are no worse off
In the library e’en of the devil;
E’en Hoffmann of Fallersleben[41] ne’er wrote
Any works that were half so evil.{329}
A passenger who stood by my side
Remark’d that we now had before us
The famous Prussian Zollverein,
The customhouses’ vast chorus.
“The Zollverein”—thus he observed,—
“Will found our nationality,
“And join our scatter’d fatherland
“In bonds of cordiality.
Twill give us external unity,—
“That kind that’s material and real:
“The censorship gives us the other kind,
“That’s ghostly and ideal.
“It gives us internal unity,
“In thought as well as in feelings;
“A united Germany need we to rule
“Our outward and inward dealings.”

CAPUT III.

In the old cathedral at Aix-la-Chapelle
Lie buried great Charlemagne’s ashes;
(Not the living Charles Mayer in Swabia born,
Who the writer of so much trash is!)
As the smallest of poets I’d sooner live
At Stukkert, by Neckar’s fair river,
Than be buried as Emp’ror at Aix-la-Chapelle,
And so be extinguish’d for ever.
In the streets of Aix-la-Chapelle the dogs
Are ennui’d, and humbly implore us:
“O stranger, prythee give us a kick,
And to life for a time thus restore us.”
I saunter’d along in this tedious place
For an hour, with great perseverance,
And saw that the Prussian soldiery
Are not the least changed in appearance.
The high red collar still they wear,
With the same grey mantle below it—
(The Red betokens the blood of the French,
Sang Körner the youthful poet).{330}
They are still the wooden pedantic race,
In every motion displaying
The same right angle, and every face
A frigid conceit still betraying.
They walk about stiffly, as though upon stilts,
Stuck up as straight as a needle,
Appearing as if they had swallow’d the stick
Once used as the best means to wheedle.
Yes, ne’er has entirely vanish’d the rod,
They carry it now inside them;
Familiar Du will recall the old Er
Wherein they were wont to pride them.
The long mustachio nothing more
Than the pigtail of old discloses
The tail that formerly hung behind
Is hanging right under their noses.
I was not displeased with the new costume
Of the cavalry, I must confess it;
And chiefly the headpiece, the helmet in fact
With the steel point above it, to dress it.
It seems so knightly, and takes one back
To the sweet romance of past ages,
To the Countess Johanna of Mountfaucon,
Tieck, Uhland, Fouqué, and such sages.
The middle ages it calls to mind,
With their squires and noble inferiors,
Who in their bosoms fidelity bore,
And escutcheons upon their posteriors.
Crusades and tourneys it brings back too,
And love, and respect at a distance,
And times of faith, ere printing was known,
When newspapers had no existence.
Yes, yes, I admire the helmet, it shows
An intellect truly enchanting!
Right royal indeed the invention was,
The point is really not wanting!
If a storm should arise, a peak like this
(The thought is terribly fright’ning)
On your romantic head might attract
The heavens’ most modern lightning!{331}
At Aix-la-Chapelle, on the posthouse arms,
I saw the bird detested
Yet once again. With poisonous glare
His eyes upon me rested.
Detestable bird! If e’er thou should’st fall
In my hands, thou creature perfidious,
I would tear thy feathers from off thy back,
And hack off thy talons so hideous!
And then I would stick thee high up on a pole
In the air, thou wicked freebooter,
And then to the joyful shooting match
Invite each Rhenish sharpshooter.
As for him who succeeds in shooting thee down,
The crown and sceptre shall proudly
Reward the worthy; the trumpets we’ll blow,
“Long life to the king,” shouting loudly.[42]

CAPUT IV.

’Twas late at night when I reach’d Cologne,
The Rhine was past me rushing,
The air of Germany on me breath’d,
And I felt its influence gushing
Upon my appetite. I ate
Some omelets, together with bacon;
And as they were salt, some Rhenish wine
Was by me also taken.
The Rhenish wine gleams like very gold,
When quaff’d from out a green rummer;
If thou drink’st a few pints in excess, ’twill give
Thy nose the colour of summer.
So sweet a tickling attacks the nose,
One’s sensations grow fonder and fonder;
It drove me out in the darkening night,
Through the echoing streets to wander.
The houses of stone upon me gazed,
As if wishing to tell me the mysteries
And legends of times that have long gone by,—
The town of Cologne’s old histories.{332}
Yes, here it was that the clergy of yore
Dragg’d on their pious existence;
Here ruled the dark men, whose story’s preserved
By Ulrich von Hutten’s[43] assistance.
’Twas here that the nuns and monks once danced
In mediæval gyrations,
Here Cologne’s own Menzel, Hoogstraaten[44] by name,
Wrote his bitter denunciations.
’Twas here that the flames of the funeral pile
Both books and men once swallow’d;
The bells rang merrily all the while,
And Kyrie Eleison follow’d.
Stupidity here and spitefulness
Like dogs in the street coquetted;
In religious hatred the brood still exists,
Though greatly to be regretted,
But see, where the moonlight yonder gleams,
A form of a monstrous sort is!
As black as the devil it rears its head,—
Cologne Cathedral in short ’tis.
’Twas meant a bastile of the spirit to be,
And the cunning papists bethought them:
“In this prison gigantic shall pine away
German intellects, when we have caught them.”
Then Luther appear’d, and soon by his mouth
A thundering “Halt!” was spoken.
Since then the Cathedral no progress has made
In building, the charm being broken.
It never was finish’d, and this is as well,
For its very non-termination
A monument makes it of German strength
And Protestant reformation.
Ye Cathedral-Society’s members vain,
With powerless hands have ye risen
To continue the work that so long has been stopp’d,
And complete the ancient prison.{333}
O foolish delusion! In vain will ye shake
The money-boxes so bootless,
And beg of the Jews and heretics too,—
Your labour is idle and fruitless.
In vain will Liszt on behalf of the fund
Make concerts all the fashion,
And all in vain will a talented king
Declaim with impetuous passion.
Cologne Cathedral will finish’d be ne’er,
Although the Swabian Solons
Have sent a shipload full of stones
To help it, nolens volens.
’Twill ne’er be completed, despite all the cries
Of the ravens and owls without number,
Who, full of antiquarian lore,
In high church-steeples slumber.
Indeed, the time will by-and-by come,
When instead of completing it rightly,
The inner space as a stable will serve
For horses,—a change but unsightly.
“And if the cathedral a stable becomes,
“Pray tell us how they will then tackle
“The three holy kings who rest there now,
“Within the tabernacle?”
Thus ask they. But why should we, in these days,
Stand up as their supporters?
The three holy kings from the Eastern land
Must find some other quarters.
Take my advice, and place them all
In those three iron cages
That high upon St. Lambert’s tower
At Münster have hung for ages.
If one of the three should missing be,
Select in his stead some other;
Replace the king of the Eastern land
By some regal Western brother.[45]
{334}
The king of the tailors[46] sat therein
With his two advisers by him;
But we will employ the cages now
For monarchs who greatly outvie him.
On the right Balthasar shall have his place,
On the left shall be Melchior’s station,
In the midst shall be Gaspar. I know not what
When alive, was their right situation.
The Holy Alliance from out of the East,
Now canonised so duly,
Perchance has not always its mission fulfill’d
Quite properly and truly.
Balthasar perchance and Melchior too
Were men of but weak resolution,
Who promised, when sorely press’d from without,
Their kingdom a constitution,
And afterwards broke their word.—Perchance
King Gaspar, who reign’d o’er the Moormen,
Rewarded with black ingratitude
His foolish fond subjects, the poor men!

CAPUT V.

And when I came to the bridge o’er the Rhine,
Where the bastion its corner advances,
There saw I Father Rhine flowing on
In the silent moonbeam’s glances.
“All hail to thee, good Father Rhine,
Now that I’m home returning!
Full often have I on thee thought,
With longing and deep yearning.”
Thus spake I, and heard in the waters deep
A voice at once strange and moaning,
Like the wheezing cough of an aged man,
With grumbling and feeble groaning:
“Thou’rt welcome, and as thou rememberest me,
I see thee, good youth, again gladly;
’Tis thirteen long years since I saw thee last,
My affairs have meanwhile gone badly.{335}
“At Biberich many a stone I’ve gulp’d down,
“My digestion in consequence worse is;
“Yet heavier far on my stomach, alas,
“Lie Nicholas Becker’s[47] verses!
“My praises he chants, as though I were now
“The purest and best-behaved maiden,
“Who never allow’d any mortal to steal
“The crown with her purity laden.
“Whenever I hear the stupid song,
“I could tear my beard in a passion,
“And feel inclined to drown myself
“In myself, in a curious fashion!
“That I am a virgin pure no more
“The French know better than any;
“For they with my waters have mingled oft
“Their floods of victory many.
“The stupid song and the stupid man!
“Indeed he has treated me badly;
“To a certain extent he has compromised me
“In matters political sadly.
“For if the French should ever come back,
“I must blush at their reappearance,
“Though I’ve pray’d with tears for their return
“To heaven with perseverance.
“I always have loved full well the French,
“So tiny yet full of sinew;
“Still wear they white breeches as formerly?
“Does their singing and springing continue?
“Right glad should I be to see them again,
“And yet I’m afraid to be twitted
“On account of the words of that cursèd song;
“And the sneers of its author half-witted!
“That Alfred de Musset[48], that lad upon town,
“Perchance will come as their drummer,{336}
“And march at their head, and his wretched wit
“Play off on me all through the summer.”
Poor Father Rhine thus made his complaints,
And discontentedly splutter’d.—
In order to raise his sinking heart,
These comforting words I utter’d:
“O do not dread, good Father Rhine,
“The laugh of a Frenchman, which is
“Worth little, for he is no longer the same,
“And they also have alter’d their breeches.
“Their breeches are red, and no longer are white,
“They also have alter’d the button;
“No longer they sing and no longer they spring,
“But hang their heads like dead mutton.
“They now are philosophers all, and quote
“Hegel, Fichte, Kant, over their victuals;
“Tobacco they smoke, and beer they drink,
“And many play also at skittles.
“They’re all, like us Germans, becoming mere snobs,
“But carry it even farther;
“No longer they follow in Voltaire’s steps,
“But believe in Hengstenberg[49] rather.
“As for Alfred de Musset, indeed it is true
“That he still to abuse gives a handle;
“But be not afraid, and we’ll soon chain down
“His tongue so devoted to scandal.
“And if he should play off his wretched wit,
“We’ll punish him most severely,
“Proclaiming aloud the adventures he meets
“With the women he loves most dearly.
“Then be contented, good Father Rhine,
“Bad songs treat only with laughter;
“A better song ere long thou shalt hear,—
“Farewell, we shall meet hereafter.”{337}

CAPUT VI.

On Paganini used always to wait
A Spiritus Familiaris,
Ofttimes as a dog, ofttimes in the shape
Of the late lamented George Harris.
Napoleon, before each important event,
Saw a man in red, as they mention,
And Socrates he had his Dæmon too,
No fanciful mere invention.
E’en I, when I sat at my table to write,
When the darkness of night had entwined me,
Have sometimes seen a muffled form,
Mysteriously standing behind me.
Hid under his mantle, a Something he held,
And when the light happen’d to catch it,
It strangely gleam’d, and methought ’twas an axe,
An executioner’s hatchet.
His stature appear’d to be under the mean,
His eyes like very stars glisten’d;
He never disturb’d me as I wrote,
But quietly stood there, and listen’d.
For many a year I had ceased to see
This very singular fellow,
But found him here suddenly at Cologne,
In the moonlight silent and mellow.
I saunter’d thoughtfully through the streets,
And saw him behind me stalking,
Just like my shadow, and when I stood still,
He also left off walking.
He stood, as if he were waiting for me,
And when I onward hurried,
He follow’d again, and thus I reach’d
The Cathedral yard, quite flurried.
I could not bear it, so turn’d sharp round,
And said: “I insist on an answer;
“Why follow me thus in the silent night,
“And lead me this wandering dance, Sir?
“I come across thee just at the time
“When world-wide feelings are dashing
“Across my breast, and through my brain
“The spirit-lightnings are flashing.{338}
“Thou gazest upon me so fixedly—
“Now answer me, what is there hidden
“Beneath thy mantle that secretly gleams?
“Thy business say, when thou’rt bidden.”
“The other replied in a somewhat dry tone,
“If not a little phlegmatic:
“I pray thee, exorcise me not,
“And be not quite so emphatic!
“No ghost am I from the days gone by,
“No grave-arisen spectre;
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