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Then the sound of drums aroused me.
The awakened city's
Chased the phantoms I had summoned back into their graves
Hours had passed away like minutes; and, before I was aware, Lo! the shadow of the belfry crossed the sun-illumined square.
THE ARSENAL AT SPRINGFIELD.
THIS is the Arsenal. From floor to ceiling,
Like a huge organ, rise the burnished arms;
Ah! what a sound will rise, how wild and dreary,
Will mingle with their awful symphonies!
I hear even now the infinite fierce chorus,
On helm and harness rings the Saxon hammer,
Through Cimbric forest roars the Norseman's song, And loud, amid the universal clamor,
O'er distant deserts sounds the Tartar gong.
I hear the Florentine, who from his palace
Wheels out his battle-bell with dreadful din,
Beat the wild war-drums made of serpent's skin;
The tumult of each sacked and burning village;
The wail of famine in beleaguered towns;
The bursting shell, the gateway wrenched asunder,
Is it, O man, with such discordant noises,
Were half the power, that fills the world with terror, Were half the wealth, bestowed on camps and courts, Given to redeem the human mind from error,
There were no need of arsenals nor forts:
The warrior's name would be a name abhorrèd!
Would wear for evermore the curse of Cain!
Down the dark future, through long generations,
I hear once more the voice of Christ say, "Peace!"
Peace! and no longer from its brazen portals
The blast of War's great organ shakes the skies! But beautiful as songs of the immortals,
The holy melodies of love arise.
IN the valley of the Pegnitz, where across broad meadowlands
Rise the blue Franconian mountains, Nuremberg, the ancient, stands,
Quaint old town of toil and traffic, quaint old town of art and song,
Memories haunt thy pointed gables, like the rooks that round them throng:
Memories of the Middle Ages, when the emperors, rough and bold,
Had their dwelling in thy castle, time-defying, centuries old; And thy brave and chrifty burghers boasted, in their uncouth rhyme,
That their great imperial city stretched its hand through every clime.
In the court-yard of the castle, bound with many an iron band, Stands the mighty linden planted by Queen Cunigunde's hand;
On the square the oriel window, where in old heroic days, Sat the poet Melchior singing Kaiser Maximilian's praise.
Everywhere I see around me rise the wondrous world of Art: Fountains wrought with richest sculpture standing in the common mart;
And above cathedral doorways saints and bishops carved in stone,
By a former age commissioned as apostles to our own.
In the church of sainted Sebald sleeps enshrined his holy dust,
And in bronze the Twelve Apostles guard from age to age their trust;
In the church of sainted Lawrence stands a pix of sculpture
Like the foamy sheaf of fountains, rising through the painted air.
Here, when Art was still religion, with a simple, reverent heart,
Lived and labored Albrecht Dürer, the Evangelist of Art;
Hence in silence and in sorrow, toiling still with busy hand, Like an emigrant he wandered, seeking for the Better Land.
Emigravit is the inscription on the tombstone where he lies;
Dead he is not, but departed,-for the artist never dies.
Fairer seems the ancient city, and the sunshine seems more fair,
That he once has trod its pavement, that he once has breathed its air!
Through these streets so broad and stately, these obscure and dismal lanes,
Walked of yore the Mastersingers, chanting rude poetic strains.
From remote and sunless suburbs, came they to the friendly guild,
Building nests in Fame's great temple, as in spouts the swallows build.
As the weaver plied the shuttle, wove he too the mystic rhyme,
And the smith his iron measures hammered to the anvil's chime;
Thanking God, whose boundless wisdom makes the flowers of poesy bloom
In the forge's dust and cinders, in the tissues of the loom.
Here Hans Sachs, the cobbler-poet, laureate of the gentle craft,
Wisest of the Twelve Wise Masters, in huge folios sang and laughed.
But his house is now an ale-house, with a nicely sanded floor, And a garland in the window, and his face above the door;
Painted by some humble artist, as in Adam Puschman's song, As the old man gray and dove-like, with his great beard white and long.
And at night the swart mechanic comes to drown his cark and care,
Quaffing ale from pewter tankards, in the master's antique chair.
Vanished is the ancient splendor, and before my dreamy eye Wave these mingling shapes and figures, like a faded tapestry.
Not thy Councils, not thy Kaisers, win for thee the world's regard;
But thy painter, Albrecht Dürer, and Hans Sachs, thy cobbler-bard.