The maids speak low: “He looks,
As though the grave his bed had been.”
Ah no, good maids, ye should have said
“The grave will soon become his bed.”
He lost his sweetheart—so,
The grave is best for such as he;
There he may sleep the years away,
And rest until the Judgment-day.
* * * * *
THE TWO GRENADIERS (1822)
To France were traveling two grenadiers,
From prison in Russia returning,
And when they came to the German frontiers,
They hung down their heads in mourning.
There came the heart-breaking news to
That France was by fortune forsaken;
Scattered and slain were her brave grenadiers,
And Napoleon, Napoleon was taken.
Then wept together those two grenadiers
O’er their country’s departed glory;
“Woe’s me,” cried one, in the midst of his tears,
“My old wound—how it burns at the story!”
The other said: “The end has
What avails any longer living
Yet have I a wife and child at home,
For an absent father grieving.
“Who cares for wife? Who cares
Dearer thoughts in my bosom awaken;
Go beg, wife and child, when with hunger wild,
For Napoleon, Napoleon is taken!
“Oh, grant me, brother, my only
When death my eyes is closing:
Take me to France, and bury me there;
In France be my ashes reposing.
“This cross of the Legion of Honor
Let it lie near my heart, upon me;
Give me my musket in my hand,
And gird my sabre on me.
“So will I lie, and arise no more,
My watch like a sentinel keeping,
Till I hear the cannon’s thundering roar,
And the squadrons above me sweeping.
“Then the Emperor comes! and his
With their eagles o’er him bending,
And I will come forth, all in arms, from my grave,
Napoleon, Napoleon attending!”
[Illustration: THE TWO GRENADIERS From the Painting by P. Grotjohann]
* * * * *
To midnight now the night drew on;
In slumber deep lay Babylon.
The King’s house only was all aflare,
For the King’s wild crew were at revel there.
Up there in the King’s own banquet
Belshazzar held royal festival.
The satraps were marshaled in glittering
And emptied their beakers of sparkling wine.
The beakers they clinked, and the satraps’
in the ears of the stiff-necked King rang his praise.
The King’s hot cheeks were with
The wine made swell his heart with pride.