Saturday, September 18, 2010


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Ferdinand Freiligrath

Hurrah! thou lady proud and fair,
      Hurrah! Germania mine!
What fire is in thine eye, as there
      Thou bendest o'er the Rhine!
How in July's full blaze dost thou
      Flash forth thy sword, and go,
With heart elate and knitted brow,
      To strike the invader low!
            Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
            Hurrah! Germania!

No thought hadst thou, so calm and light,
      Of war or battle plain,
But on thy broad fields, waving bright,
      Didst mow the golden grain,
With clashing sickles, wreaths of corn,
      Thy sheaves didst garner in,
When, hark! across the Rhine War's horn
      Breaks through the merry din!
            Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
            Hurrah! Germania!

Down sickle then and wreath of wheat
      Amidst the corn were cast,
And, starting fiercely to thy feet,
      Thy heart beat loud and fast;
Then with a shout I heard thee call:
      "Well, since you will, you may!
Up, up, my children, one and all,
      On to the Rhine! Away!"
            Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
            Hurrah! Germania!

From port to port the summons flew,
      Rang o'er our German wave;
The Oder on her harness drew,
      The Elbe girt on her glaive;
Neckar and Weser swell the tide,
      Main flashes to the sun,
Old feuds, old hates are dashed aside,
      All German men are one!
            Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
            Hurrah! Germania!

Suabian and Prussian, hand in hand,
      North, South, one host, one vow!
"What is the German's Fatherland?"
      Who asks that question now?
One soul, one arm, one close-knit frame,
      One will are we today;
Hurrah, Germania! thou proud dame,
      Oh, glorious time, hurrah!
            Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
            Hurrah! Germania!

Germania now, let come what may,
      Wll stand unshook through all;
This is our country's festal day;
      Now woe betide thee, Gaul!
Woe worth the hour a robber thrust
      Thy sword into thy hand!
A curse upon him that we must
      Unsheathe our German brand!
            Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
            Hurrah! Germania!

For home and hearth, for wife and child,
      For all loved things that we
Are bound to keep all undefiled
      From foreign ruffianry!
For German right, for German speech,
      For German household ways,
For German homesteads, all and each,
      Strike home through battle's blaze!
            Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
            Hurrah! Germania!

Up, Germans, up, with God! The die
      Clicks loud — we wait the throw!
Oh, who may think without a sigh
      What blood is doom'd to flow?
Yet, look thou up, with fearless heart!
      Thou must, thou shalt prevail!
Great, glorious, free as ne'er thou wert,
      All hail, Germania, hail!
            Hurrah! Victoria!
            Hurrah! Germania!


-trans. Pall Mall Gazette
-German title: Hurra, Germania

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Illustrations show the magnificent Niederwalddenkmal (literally, "Lower Forest Monument") along the Rhine (1883), topped with the statue of personified Germania by Johannes Schilling.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Destruction

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From Friedrich von Schiller's Die Räuber (1781):
FRANZ: Suddenly a fearful thunderclap struck my slumbering ear, shuddering I leapt up, and behold, I thought I saw the whole horizon stand ablaze with fiery flames, and mountains and cities and forests melted like wax in a furnace, and a howling whirlwind swept away the sea and the earth and the sky — and a voice rang out as of a brazen trumpet: Earth, give up thy dead, give up thy dead, O sea! and the bare ground was in labour, and began to cast up skulls and ribs and jaws and all manner of bones that joined together and made bodies of men, and they gathered in a great stream, more than the eye could see, a living torrent!

Illustration is John Martin (1789-1854), The Destruction of Herculaneum and Pompeii.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

''The Dream''

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[An excerpt]

Lord Byron


A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
The Wanderer was alone as heretofore,
The beings which surrounded him were gone,
Or were at war with him; he was a mark
For blight and desolation, compassed round
With Hatred and Contention; Pain was mixed
In all which was served up to him, until,
Like to the Pontic monarch of old days,
He fed on poisons, and they had no power,
But were a kind of nutriment; he lived
Through that which had been death to many men,
And made him friends of mountains; with the stars
And the quick Spirit of the Universe
He held his dialogues: and they did teach
To him the magic of their mysteries;
To him the book of Night was opened wide,
And voices from the deep abyss revealed
A marvel and a secret. — Be it so.


(Illustration is Carl Gustav Carus, Faust's Dream, c.1851.)

The Dream (complete text)