The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 06 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 679 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 06.

  “Oh beauteous Sphinx, oh, answer me,
    That riddle strange unloosing! 
  For many, many thousand years
    Have I on it been musing!”

GERMANY[44] (1842)

  Germany’s still a little child,
    But he’s nursed by the sun, though tender;
  He is not suckled on soothing milk,
    But on flames of burning splendor.

  One grows apace on such a diet;
    It fires the blood from languor. 
  Ye neighbors’ children, have a care
    This urchin how ye anger!

  He is an awkward infant giant;
    The oak by the roots uptearing,
  He’ll beat you till your backs are sore,
    And crack your crowns for daring.

  He is like Siegfried, the noble child,
    That song-and-saga wonder;
  Who, when his fabled sword was forged,
    His anvil cleft in sunder!

  To you, who will our Dragon slay,
    Shall Siegfried’s strength be given. 
  Hurrah! how joyfully your nurse
    Will laugh on you from heaven!

  The Dragon’s hoard of royal gems
    You’ll win, with none to share it. 
  Hurrah! how bright the golden crown
    Will sparkle when you wear it!

* * * * *

ENFANT PERDU[45] (1851)

  In Freedom’s War, of “Thirty Years” and more,
    A lonely outpost have I held—­in vain! 
  With no triumphant hope or prize in store,
    Without a thought to see my home again.

  I watched both day and night; I could not sleep
    Like my well-tented comrades far behind,
  Though near enough to let their snoring keep
    A friend awake, if e’er to doze inclined.

  And thus, when solitude my spirits shook,
    Or fear—­for all but fools know fear sometimes—­
  To rouse myself and them, I piped and took
    A gay revenge in all my wanton rhymes.

  Yes! there I stood, my musket always ready,
    And when some sneaking rascal showed his head,
  My eye was vigilant, my aim was steady,
    And gave his brains an extra dose of lead.

  But war and justice have far different laws,
    And worthless acts are often done right well;
  The rascals’ shots were better than their cause,
    And I was hit—­and hit again, and fell!

  That outpost is abandoned; while the one
    Lies in the dust, the rest in troops depart;
  Unconquered—­I have done what could be done,
    With sword unbroken, and with broken heart.

* * * * *


  Deeply the Abbot of Waltham sighed
    When he heard the news of woe: 
  How King Harold had come to a pitiful end,
    And on Hastings field lay low.

  Asgod and Ailrik, two of his monks,
    On the mission drear he sped
  To search for the corse on the battle-plain
    Among the bloody dead.

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 06 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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