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There is for thcc, poor Hafed, nor pity, peace, nor grace I Tnut not the eye that mocks thee with its dissembling
'Twill track thy darkest pathway through desert, flre, and flood,
Nor will its tiger-gleam be quenched save in thy flowing Mood!
Ay, slave—thy youth and passion a desperate game have played;
Seraglio smiles are dearly bought when these with life are paid!
Full rash and reckless wert thou in that thou durst be found,
With loitering and forbidden step, on that enchanted ground 1
There lies the fatal parchment, whose import thou hast guessed,
Although that calm bland visage would lull thy fears to rest,—
Of doom to secret torture, where none will heed thy groans—
Where the wild dogs lap thy gushing gore, and banquet on thy bones 1
But, Hafed, though a captive, to blows and bondage bred, There's yet a fire within thee that slumbereth fierce and red—
Whose buried coals are glowing with every labouring breath—
Which scorns to brook the infamy or pangs of such a death!
'Ti> true there's no atonement for such a sin as this. And no escape;—but Vengeance—oh, Vengeance would be bliss!
And what Revenge so cordial, so exquisite, so great,
As that which gives a tyrant o'er to share his victim's fate?
Ha! the spiced wine! bethink thee—thy master's joy and
Fill up the golden goblet, and bear it to his side—
He smiles upon tho nectar, bright beading to the brim,
And unsuspicious quaffs the cup Revenge hath mixed for
Up, Hafed, from thy bended knee—the fatal deed is done! Finish the work thy hardened heart hath darkly thus begun—
Go drain a draught as deadly, nor look behind thee more— Master and slave shall meet to-night upon the Stygian shore 1
Thr poetry of this poem has been made familiar to English readers rather by the Outlines of Retzsch and the music of Romberg, than by any translation that has yet been published. The attempt to translate this, or any genuine poem, from one language to another is a very formidable one. In the present case, translators, despairing apparently of everything that might be pronounced success, seem to have satisfied themselves with a very remote approximation to the beauty of the original. They appear to have been thankful to get through with the work anyhow. Although not without their felicities, yet in no one of the four translations which we have seen—two published in this country and two in England— does the design seem to have been cherished of preserving in the English the varied music of the German. The double rhymes have been continually neglected. In the following translation, while the closest adherence has been attempted to the lotter, the aim has been to oonvey some idea of the music of the original.
As the present translator, in presuming thus to pass judgment on his predecessors, betrays perhaps an undue appreciation of his own success, he wishes to remark, ex gratM modatia, that, as one of the greatest perils to a translator of poetry arises from the excitement, in the course of his labour, of his own poetioal faculty, whereby he is constantly liable to mistake, amidst the thick-coming fancies which the original starts, one of his own vivid images for the thought of the poet, it follows that he, who has barely enough of the poetical sentiment to enable him to have some appreciation of the work he undertakes to translate, may, on this account, have a better chance of success than others of a higher poetical temperament.
It is observable that the latter part of the Song of the Bell was composed by the lurid light of the old .French Revolution, from which so many of the first men of the time, Burke, for instance, like Schiller, "shrunk almost blinded by the glare."
The years—they fly like arrows fleet.
The maiden's plays the proud boy soorneth,
He rushes forth, the world to roam
With pilgrim' s staff, at last returneth,
A stranger in his father's home.
And brilliant, in her youthful splendor,
Like creature, come from heaven's height,
With cheeks all mantling, modest, tender,
The maiden stands before his sight.
A nameless longing then is waking
In the youth's heart; he goes alone;
The tears from out his eyes are breaking;
Joy in his brothers' sports is flown.
He blushes as her steps he traces,
Her greeting smile his heart elates,
For fairest flowers the fields he searches.
Wherewith his love he decorates.
O tender longing, hope the sweetest,
The golden time of young first love,
The eye beholdcth heaven unveiling,
Riots the heart in bliss above!
O that, for ever fair and vernal,
Love's beauteous season were eternal I
See how brown the pipes are getting!
This little rod I dip it in,
If it show a glazed coating,
Then the casting may begin.
Now, my lads, enough!
Prove me now the stuff; The brittle with the tough combining, See if they be rightly joining.
For when the Strong and Mild are pairing,
The Manly with the Tender shariug,
Then is the concord good and strong.
See ye, who join in endless union,
If heart with heart be in communion!
For Fancy's brief, Repentance long.
Lovely in her ringlets straying
Is the wreath that crowns the bride,
When the merry church bells playing
Call to pleasure far and wide.
Ah! the hour of Life most festal
Ends the May of Life also,
With the veil and girdle vestal
Breaks the lovely charm in two.
The passion it flies,
Love must be enduring,
The flower it dies,
Fruit is maturing.
The man must be out
In hostile life tolling,
Be toiling and moiling,
And planting, obtaining,
Devising and gaining,
And daring, enduring,
So fortune securing;
Then streameth in wealth, all untold in its measure.
And filled is the garner with costliest treasure;
The chambers increase, the house—it spreads out
And in it presides
The chaste gentle housewife,
The mother of children,
And ruleth meetly
The household discreetly,
And teacheth the maidens,
The boys she restraineth,
And keeps over moving
Hands busy and loving,
And adds to the gains
With ordering pains,
And sweet-scented presses with treasures is filling, And thread round the swift humming spindle is reel
And the neat burnished chests—she gathers them fall
Of linen snow-white, and of glistering wool,
And adds to the useful the beautiful ever
And restcth ncver.
And the father with look elate,
From the high, far-seeing gable
Surveys his blooming, broad estate,
Seeth his buildings forest-like growing,*
And the barns with their lofts o'crflowing,
And the granaries, bent with the blessing,
And the corn as it waves unceasing;
Boasts he with pride-lit face:
Firm as the Earth's own base
'Gainst all misfortune's might
Stand now my riches bright!
Yet with thy great laws, 0 heaven,
Can no endless bond be woven,
And Misfortune strldeth fast.
Be the casting now beginning;
Finely jagged is the grain.
But before we set it running,
Let us breathe a pious strain.
Let the metal go!—
God protect us now I
Through the bending handle hollow
Smoking shoots the fire-brown billow.
Benignant is the might of Flame,
Wheu man keeps watch and makes it tame.
In what he fashions, what ho makes,
Help from this heaven's force he takes.
But fearful is this heaven's force,
When all unfettered in its course,
It steps forth on its own fierce way,
Thy daughter, Nature, wild and free.
Wo! when once emancipated,
With nought her power to withstand,
Through the streets thick populated,
Waves she high her monstrous brand!
By the elements is hated
What is formed by mortal hand.
From the heavens
Streams the shower;
From the heavens, all the same,
Dost hear it from the tower moan?
'Tis th' alarm!
Heaven is flushing;
That is not the daylight's glow 1
What a rushing,
Streets all up!
Smoke rolls up 1
Fllck'ring mounts the fire-column,
Through the long streets onward growing,
Going swift as winds are going;
As from out a furnace rushing,
Glows the air, and beams are crashing,
Pillars tumble, children crying,
Windows breaking, mothers flying,
'Mid the ruin
Beasts are lowing;
•This line is obscure in the original. Literally: *' Seeth the projecting beams (or trees) of the pillars" Perhaps the line is elucidated by reference to the method of constructing the outhouses on German farms. It is said that the framework is left visible, and the pillars or supporters, the spaces between whieh are filled in with bricks or stone, bear a resemblance to trees. See RetMeh'a Outlines, No. 26. Whatever may be the precise miming nf the lino, Schiller probably intended to describe the farmer as taking satisfaction in the number and substantial character of bis outhouses.
All is fleeing, saving, running,
Light as day the night's becoming;
Through the chain of bands, all vying,
Goes the bucket; bow like bending,
Spouts the water, high ascending.
Howling comes the blast, befriending
The flame it roaring seeks and fans.
Crackling 'midst the well-dried graius.
Seizing on the granVy chambers,
And the dry wood of the timbers,
And, as if it would, in blowing,
Tear the huge bulk of the world
With it, In its flight uphurl'd,
Mounts the tiame to heaven, growing
Giant toll I
Mau to God at last hath yielded,
Idly sees what he hath builded,
Wond'ring, to destruction going.
All burnt out
Are the places,
Where the tempest wild reposes.
In the hollow windows dreary,
And the clouds of heaven, flitting
High, look in.
Ere he goes,
On the ashes.
Where his riches
Buried lie, one look man throws—
His pilgrim's staff then gladly clutches.
Whatever the fire from him has torn,
One comfort sweet is ever nearest,
The heads he counteth of his dearest,
And lo! not one dear head is gone.
Earth our work is now entombing,
And the mould is filled right well;
Will it, fair to light forthcoming,
Recompense our pains and skill?
If the casting crack?
If the mould should break?
Ah! perhaps, while wc have waited,
Mischief hath its work completed.
To holy Earth's dark, silent bosom
We our handiwork resign,
The husbandmen the seed consign.
And hope that it will swell and blossom
And bless the sower, by laws divine,
Still costlier seed, in sorrow bringing,
We hide within the lap of Earth,
And hope that, from the coffin springing,
'Twill bloom in brighter beauty forth.
From the tower,
Tolls the fun'ral
Note of wo.
Sad and solemn, with its knell attending
Some new wand'rer, on the last way wending.
Ah I the wife it Is, the dear one,
Ah! it is the faithful mother,
Whom the angel dark Is bearing
From the husband's arms endearing,
From the group of children far,
Whom she, blooming, to him bare.
Whom she on her faithful breast
Saw with joy maternal rest;—
Ah! th*' household ties so tender
Broken are fbr evermore,
For the shadow-land now holds her,
Who the household ruled o'erl
For her faithful guidance ceases,
No more keepeth watch her care,
In the void and orphaned places
Rules the stranger, loveless there.
1111 the hell is cooled and 1
Let there rest from labor he.
And he each as free, unb
As the bird upon the tree.
Once the stars appear,
Prom all duty clear.
Hear the lads the vespers ringing;
To the master care's still clinging.
Light of heart, his footsteps telling
In the wild and distant greenwood,
Seeks the wand'rer his dear dwelling.
Bleating wind the sheep slow homeward
And the kine too,
Broad-browed, with their smooth flanks,
Come in lowing,
To the stalls
Rocks the wagon,
Bright with flowers,
The crown towers
On the sheaves,
And a band of youthful reapers
Street and market-place grow stiller;
Ronnd the light, domestic, social,
Gather now the household inmates,
And the city gate shuts creaking.
la the Earth now;
Rest the people, unaffrighted
By the dark,
Which alarms the bad benighted;
For the eye of Law doth watch and mark.
Holy Order, rich in blessing,
Born of Heaven, in peace unceasing
Dwell all ranks when by her shielded.
Mighty cities she hath builded,
Galling the unsocial savage
There to dwell—no more to ravage;
To the huts of men she goeth,
And to gentle ways allurcth,
And dearest ties hath wov'n round us,
Ties, that to our country bind us.
Busy hands, by thousands stirring,
In a lively league unite,
And it is in fiery motion
That all forces come to light
Briskly work, by Freedom guarded,
Both the master and the men,
Each one in his place rewarded,
Scorning every scoffer then.
Toil—it Is our decoration,
Work, the blessing doth command,
Kings are honored by their station,
Honors , the toil-worn hand.
Peace, thon gentle
Ever friendly round this plaee!
Never may that day be dawning
When the horrid sounds of battle
Through this silent vale shall rattle;
When the heavens.
Which, with evening blushing mildly,
4h&ll with flames consuming wildly
Town and cities, fearful gleam!
Break me up the useless structure,
It has now fulfilled its part,
That the work, without a fracture,
May give delight to eye and heart.
Swing the hammer, swing,
Till the top shall spring!
When to light the bell arises,
First the mould we break in pieces.
The master wise alone is knowing
Just when the mould should broken be,
But wo! it', streams of fire flowing,
The glowing ore itself sets free!
Blind raging, with the crash of thunder,
It shivers the exploded house,
As if hell's jaws had yawned asunder,
Destruction far and wide it throws.
When brutal force is senseless storming,
There can no perfect work be forming;
When nations seek themselves to free,
There can no common welfare be.
Wo! if, heaped up, the fire-tinder
Should the still heart of cities fill,
Their fetters rending all asunder,
The people work then their own will I
Then at the bell-ropes tuggeth Riot,
The bell gives forth a wailing sound.
Sacred to peace alone and quiet,
For blood it rings the signal round.
Rushes to arms the citizen,
And bloody-minded bands are prowling,
And streets and halls are filled with men;
Then women to hyenas changing,
On bloody horrors feast and laugh,
And, with the thirst of panthers ranging,
The blood of hearts yet qulv'ring quaff.
Nought sacred Is there more, for breaking
Are all the bands of pious Awe,
The good man's place, the bad are taking,
And Vice acknowledges no law.
*Tis dangerous to rouse the lion,
Deadly to cross the tiger's path,
But the most terrible of terrors,
Is man himself in his wild wrath.
Alas! when to the ever blinded
The heavenly torch of Light is lent!
It guides him not, it can but kindle
Whole states in flames and ruin blent.
Joy to me now God hath given!
Sec ye! like a golden star,
From the shell, all bright and even,
Comes the metal-kernel clear.
Bright from top to rim,
Like the sun's own beam.
E'en the 'scutcheon, formed completely,
Shows its maker worketh neatly.
Come all! come all 1
My comrades, stand around and listen,
While solemnly our work we chrlstenl
Concordia we the Bell will call.
To harmony, by heartfelt love united,
May all be ever by its voice invited.
And this its office he henceforth,
Whereto the master gave it birth:
High, this low earthly being over,
Shall it, in heaven's blue, spacious tent,
The neighbour of the thunder, hover,
And border on the firmament.
And let it be a voice from Heaven,
Joined with the starry host afar,
By which high praise to God is given,
And which lead on the crowned year.
And be its metal mouth devoted
Only to grave and solemn things,
And hourly, Time, still onward flying,
Shall touch It with his rapid wings.