Verse > Anthologies > Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans. > A Harvest of German Verse
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Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans.  A Harvest of German Verse.  1916.
 
King Charles’ Voyage
By Ludwig Uhland (1787–1862)
 
WITH comrades twelve upon the main
King Charles set out to sail.
The Holy Land he hoped to gain,
But drifted in a gale.
 
Then spake Sir Roland, hero brave:        5
“Well, I can fight and shield;
Yet neither stormy wind nor wave
Will to my weapon yield.”
 
Sir Holger spake, from Denmark’s strand:
“The harp I fain would play;        10
But what avails the music bland
When tempests roaring sway!”
 
Sir Oliver was not too glad;
Upon his sword he’d stare:
“For my own weal ’twere not so bad—        15
I grieve for good old Clare.”
 
Said wicked Ganilon with gall
(He said it ’neath his breath):
“The devil come and take ye all—
Were I but spared this death!”        20
 
Archbishop Turpin deeply sighed:
“The knights of God are we.
Oh, come our Saviour, be our guide,
And lead us o’er the sea!”
 
Then spake Sir Richard Fearless stern:        25
“Ye demons there in hell,
I served ye many a goodly turn,
Now serve ye me as well!”
 
“My counsel often has been heard,”
Sir Naimes did remark.        30
“Fresh water, though, and helpful word
Are rare upon a bark.”
 
Then, spake Sir Riol, old and gray:
“An aged knight am I;
And they shall lay my corpse away        35
Where it is good and dry.”
 
And then Sir Guy began to sing—
He was a courtly knight:
“Fain I would have a birdie’s wing,
And to my love take flight!”        40
 
Then Count Garein, the noble, said:
“God, danger from us keep!
I’d rather drink the wine so red
Than water in the deep.”
 
Sir Lambert spake, a sprightly youth:        45
“May God behold our state!
I’d rather eat good fish, forsooth,
Than be myself a bait.”
 
Then quoth Sir Gottfried: “Be it so,
I heed not how I fare:        50
Whatever I must undergo,
My brothers all would share.”
 
But at the helm King Charles sat by,
And never said a word,
And steered the ship with steadfast eye        55
Till no more tempest stirred.
 
 
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