[Illustration: THE MOTHER DEFENDING HERMANN Ludwig Richter]
But what profits a man, who has not abundance of money,
Being thus active and stirring, and bettering inside and outside?
Only too much is the citizen cramped: the good, though he know it,
Has he no means to acquire because too slender his purse is,
While his needs are too great; and thus is he constantly hampered.
Many things I had done; but then the cost of such changes
Who does not fear, especially now in this season of danger?
Long since my house was smiling upon me in modish apparel!
Long since great panes of glass were gleaming in all of the windows!
But who can do as the merchant does, who, with his resources,
Knows the methods as well by which the best is arrived at?
Look at that house over yonder,—the new one; behold with what splendor
’Gainst the background of green stand out the white spirals of stucco!
Great are the panes in the windows; and how the glass sparkles
Casting quite into the shade the rest of the market-place houses!
Yet just after the fire were our two houses the finest,
This of the Golden Lion, and mine of the sign of the Angel.
So was my garden, too, throughout the whole neighborhood famous:
Every traveller stopped and gazed through the red palisadoes,
Caught by the beggars there carved in stone and the dwarfs of
Then whosoever had coffee served in the beautiful grotto,—
Standing there now all covered with dust and partly in ruins,—
Used to be mightily pleased with the glimmering light of the mussels
Spread out in beautiful order; and even the eye of the critic
Used by the sight of my corals and potter’s ore to be dazzled.
So in my parlor, too, they would always admire the painting,
Where in a garden are gaily dressed ladies and gentlemen walking,
And with their taper fingers are plucking and holding the flowers.
But who would look at it now! In sooth, so great my vexation
Scarcely I venture abroad. All now must be other and tasteful,
So they call it; and white are the laths and benches of woodwork;
Everything simple and smooth; no carving longer or gilding
Can be endured, and the woods from abroad are of all the most costly.
Well, I, too, should be glad could I get for myself something novel;
Glad to keep up with the times, and be changing my furniture often;
Yet must we all be afraid of touching the veriest trifle.
For who among us has means for paying the work-people’s wages?
Lately I had an idea of giving the Archangel Michael,
Making the sign of my shop, another fresh coating of gilding,
And to the terrible dragon about his feet that is winding;
But I e’en let him stay browned as he is: I dreaded the charges.”