A soldier's glad lot!
Three knights then advance, riding all in a group,
Since yester e'en?Oh, ye fair sisters,
Is in my mind portray'd;Her garter I recall anon,--
Then the excellent youth collected himself, and made answer"Truly that man can have no heart, but a bosom of iron,Who no sympathy feels for the wants of unfortunate exiles;He has no sense in his head who, in times of such deep tribulation,Has no concern for himself or for his country's well-being.What I to-day have seen and heard, has stirr'd up my feelings;Well, I have come up here, and seen the beautiful, spreadingLandscape, which in fruitful hills to our sight is presented,Seen the golden fruit of the sheaves all nodding together,And a plentiful crop of fruit, full garners foreboding.But, alas, how near is the foe! By the Rhine's flowing watersWe are protected indeed; but what are rivers and mountainsTo such a terrible nation, which hurries along like a tempest!For they summon together the young and the old from all quarters,Rushing wildly along, while the multitude little is caringEven for death; when one falls, his place is straight fill'd by another,Ah! and can Germans dare to remain at home in their dwellings,Thinking perchance to escape from the widely-threat'ning disaster?Dearest mother, I tell you that I to-day am quite sorryThat I was lately excused, when they selected the fightersOut of the townfolk. 'Tis true I'm an only son, and more-overLarge is our inn, and our business also is very important;Were it not better however for me to fight in the vanguardOn the frontier, than here to await disaster and bondage?Yes, my spirit has told me, and in my innermost bosomFeel I courage and longing to live and die for my country,And to others to set an example worthy to follow.Oh, of a truth, if the strength of the German youths was collectedOn the frontier, all bound by a vow not to yield to the stranger,He on our noble soil should never set foot, or be ableUnder our eyes to consume the fruits of the land, or to issueOrders unto our men, or despoil our women and maidens!See, good mother, within my inmost heart I've determinedSoon and straightway to do what seems to me right and becoming;For the man who thinks long, not always chooses what best is.See, I will not return to the house, but will go from here straightwayInto the town, and there will place at the fighters' disposalThis stout arm and this heart, to serve, as I best can, my country.Then let my father say whether feelings of honour are stirringIn my bosom or not, and whether I yearn to mount upwards."
He who from the world retires,
Neither my sorrowful sigh, nor my soft eloquent look.Only one goddess is able the seal of my lips to unloosen,--
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