Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Germany
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Germany: Vols. XVII–XVIII.  1876–79.
 
Appendix: Rivers of Germany
The Rivers
Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805)
 
Translated by C. J. Hempel

RHINE
FAITHFULLY, as the Swiss ought, I watch the Germanic frontier;
But my gentle current allows the Gaul to leap lightly across.
 
RHINE AND MOSELLE
For years I have wooed the Lotharingian virgin,
But no child has yet blessed this long union of hearts.
 
DANUBE IN  *  *  *
My banks are inhabited here by a people with flashing eyes;
        5
A feasting people; their roasts are ever revolving on spits.
 
MAIN
My castles are tumbling in ruins, but the race is
For centuries ever the same; what a comfort this is to the heart!
 
SAALE
On my short course I greet a number of princes, of peoples;
But the princes are good and the peoples are free.        10
 
ILM
My banks are not rich, but my silent and quiet wave,
As the current glides by, hears many an immortal song.
 
PLEISSE
My banks are so flat, my shallow bed has been drained
By poets and writers in prose who slaked here their thirst.
 
ELB
Ye others, ye speak a mere jargon; among German rivers
        15
I alone speak German, and speak it in Meissen, forsooth.
 
SPREE
My Ramler taught me to speak, my Cæsar furnished the matter;
I took my mouth rather full, and have been silent since then.
 
WESER
Alas! I inspire no poet; I leave his genius barren;
Suggest not a couplet even to the most willing heart.        20
 
SPRINGS OF  *  *  *
Here rivers and springs have a taste; what a strangely mysterious country!
Among its inhabitants taste scarcely ever is found.
 
PEGNITZ
From sheer ennui hypochondria threatens to seize me;
And I continue to flow simply because ’t is my wont.
 
THE RIVERS OF  *  *  *
Truly we fare pretty well in the lands of these generous princes,
        25
For their yoke is quite mild, and their burdens are light.
 
SALZACH
I rush from Juvavia’s mountains to salt the bishop’s domain,
And afterward turn to Bavaria where the people are wanting in salt.
 
THE ANONYMOUS RIVER
To furnish food during Lent for the bishop’s Christian table,
My Maker caused me to flow across his famished domain.        30
 
LES FLEUVES INDISCRETS
Now, gossiping rivers, be silent, and show ye becoming discretion;
Even Diderot’s sweetheart was prudent and less fond of talk.
 
 
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