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
War-song
Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim (1719–1803)
 
Translated by W. Taylor

WE met, a hundred of us met,
  At curfew, in the field:
We talked of heaven and Jesus Christ,
  And all devoutly kneeled;
 
When, lo! we saw, all of us saw,        5
  The starlit sky unclose,
And heard the far-high thunders roll
  Like seas where storm-wind blows.
 
We listened, in amazement lost,
  As still as stones for dread,        10
And heard the war proclaimed above,
  And sins of nations read.
 
The sound was like a solemn psalm
  That holy Christians sing;
And by and by the noise was ceased        15
  Of all the angelic ring;
 
Yet still, beyond the cloven sky,
  We saw the sheet of fire;
There came a voice, as from a throne,
  To all the heavenly choir,        20
 
Which spake: “Though many men must fall,
  I will that these prevail;
To me the poor man’s cause is dear.”
  Then slowly sank a scale.
 
The hand that poised was lost in clouds,        25
  One shell did weighty seem;
But sceptres, scutcheons, mitres, gold,
  Flew up, and kicked the beam.
 
 
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