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.
 
Miscellaneous
The Night-Watchman’s Song
From the German
 
Anonymous translation

HARK, while I sing! our village clock
The hour of Eight, good sirs, has struck.
Eight souls alone from death were kept,
When God the earth with deluge swept:
Unless the Lord to guard us deign,        5
Man wakes and watches all in vain.
  Lord! through thine all-prevailing might,
  Do thou vouchsafe us a good night!
 
Hark, while I sing! our village clock
The hour of Nine, good sirs, has struck.        10
Nine lepers cleansed returned not;—
Be not thy blessings, man, forgot!
Unless the Lord to guard us deign,
Man wakes and watches all in vain.
  Lord! through thine all-prevailing might,        15
  Do thou vouchsafe us a good night!
 
Hark, while I sing! our village clock
The hour of Ten, good sirs, has struck.
Ten precepts show God’s holy will;—
O, may we prove obedient still!        20
Unless the Lord to guard us deign,
Man wakes and watches all in vain.
  Lord! through thine all-prevailing might,
  Do thou vouchsafe us a good night!
 
Hark, while I sing! our village clock        25
The hour Eleven, good sirs, has struck.
Eleven apostles remained true;—
May we be like that faithful few!
Unless the Lord to guard us deign,
Man wakes and watches all in vain.        30
  Lord! through thine all-prevailing might,
  Do thou vouchsafe us a good night!
 
Hark, while I sing! our village clock
The hour of Twelve, good sirs, has struck.
Twelve is of Time the boundary;—        35
Man, think upon Eternity!
Unless the Lord to guard us deign,
Man wakes and watches all in vain.
  Lord! through thine all-prevailing might,
  Do thou vouchsafe us a good night!        40
 
Hark, while I sing! our village clock
The hour of One, good sirs, has struck.
One God alone reigns over all;
Naught can without his will befall:
Unless the Lord to guard us deign,        45
Man wakes and watches all in vain.
  Lord! through thine all-prevailing might,
  Do thou vouchsafe us a good night!
 
Hark, while I sing! our village clock
The hour of Two, good sirs, has struck.        50
Two ways to walk has man been given:
Teach me the right,—the path to heaven!
Unless the Lord to guard us deign,
Man wakes and watches all in vain.
  Lord! through thine all-prevailing might,        55
  Do thou vouchsafe us a good night!
 
Hark, while I sing! our village clock
The hour of Three, good sirs, has struck.
Three Gods in one, exalted most,
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.        60
Unless the Lord to guard us deign,
Man wakes and watches all in vain.
  Lord! through thine all-prevailing might,
  Do thou vouchsafe us a good night!
 
Hark, while I sing! our village clock        65
The hour of Four, good sirs, has struck.
Four seasons crown the farmer’s care;—
Thy heart with equal toil prepare!
Up, up! awake, nor slumber on!
The morn approaches, night is gone!        70
  Thank God, who by his power and might
  Has watched and kept us through this night!
 
 
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