THE STIRRUP-CUP (1840)
The anxious night is gone at last,
Silent and mute we gallop past
And ride to our destiny.
How keen the morning breezes blow!
Hostess, one glass more ere we go,
We go to die!
Thou soft young grass, why now so green?
Soon like the rose shall be thy sheen,
My blood thee red shall dye.
The first quick sip with sword in hand
I drink, a toast to our native land,
For our native land to die.
Now for the next, the time is short,
The next to Freedom, the queen we court,—
The fiery cup drain dry!
These dregs—to whom shall we dedicate?
To thee, Imperial German State,
For the German State to die!
My sweetheart!—But there’s
no more wine—
The bullets whistle, the lance heads shine—
To her the glass where the fragments lie!
Up! Like a whirlwind into the fray!
O horseman’s joy, at the break of day,
At the break of day to die!
[Illustration: GEORG HERWEGH]
* * * * *
THE WATCHMAN’S SONG (1840)
Wake—awake! The cry rings
From the high watch-tower comes the shout.
Awake, imperial German land—
Ye by distant Danube dwelling,
And where the infant Rhine is swelling,
And where the bleak dunes pile their sand!
For hearth and home keep watch,
Sword from its scabbard snatch;
For bitter fight
The day of combat is in sight!
Hear in the East the ominous cry
That tells a greedy foe draws nigh—
The vulture, thirsting for the strife.
Hear in the west the serpent’s hiss
Whose siren-fangs are set for this,
To poison all your virtuous life.
Near is the vulture’s swoop;
The serpent coils to stoop
For the stroke;
Then watch and pray
Until the day—
Your swords be sharpened for the fray!
Pure in life, in faith as strong,
Let no man do your courage wrong;
Be one, what time the trump shall sound.
Cleanse your souls by fervent prayer,
That so the Lord may find them fair
When He shall make His questioning round,
The Cross be still your pride,
Your banner and your guide
In the battle!
Who in the field
Their fealty yield
To God, victorious weapons wield.
Look Thou down from heaven above,
Thou Whom the angels praise and love—
Be gracious to our German land!
Speak from the clouds with thunder-voice;
Princes and people of Thy choice,
Unite them with a mighty hand.
Be Thou our fortress-tower,
Bring us through danger’s hour.
Thine is today
And shall alway
Kingdom, and power, and glory stay!