The Poems of Schiller — Suppressed poems

Фридрих Шиллер
The Poems of Schiller — Suppressed poems


   I chanced the other eve, —
     But how I ne'er will tell, —
   The paper to receive.
     That's published down in hell.
   In general one may guess,
     I little care to see
   This free-corps of the press
     Got up so easily;
   But suddenly my eyes
     A side-note chanced to meet,
   And fancy my surprise
     At reading in the sheet: —
   "For twenty weary springs"
     (The post from Erebus,
   Remark me, always brings
     Unpleasant news to us) —
   "Through want of water, we
     Have well-nigh lost our breath;
   In great perplexity
     Hell came and asked for Death;
   "'They can wade through the Styx,
     Catch crabs in Lethe's flood;
   Old Charon's in a fix,
     His boat lies in the mud,
   "'The dead leap over there,
     The young and old as well;
   The boatman gets no fare,
     And loudly curses hell.'
   "King Minos bade his spies
     In all directions go;
   The devils needs must rise,
     And bring him news below.
   "Hurrah! The secret's told
     They've caught the robber's nest;
   A merry feast let's hold!
     Come, hell, and join the rest!
   "An author's countless band,
     Stalked round Cocytus' brink,
   Each bearing in his hand
     A glass for holding ink.
   "And into casks they drew
     The water, strange to say,
   As boys suck sweet wine through
     An elder-reed in play.
   "Quick! o'er them cast the net,
     Ere they have time to flee!
   Warm welcome ye will get,
     So come to Sans-souci!
   "Smelt by the king ere long,
     He sharpened up his tooth,
   And thus addressed the throng
     (Full angrily, in truth):
   "'The robbers is't we see?
     What trade? What land, perchance?' —
   'German news-writers we!' —
     Enough to make us dance!
   "'A wish I long have known
     To bid ye stop and dine,
   Ere ye by Death were mown,
     That brother-in-law of mine.
   "'Yet now by Styx I swear,
     Whose flood ye would imbibe,
   That torments and despair
     Shall fill your vermin-tribe!
   "'The pitcher seeks the well,
     Till broken 'tis one day;
   They who for ink would smell,
     The penalty must pay.
   "'So seize them by their thumbs,
     And loosen straight my beast
   E'en now he licks his gums,
     Impatient for the feast.' —
   "How quivered every limb
     Beneath the bull-dog's jaws
   Their honors baited him,
     And he allowed no pause.
   "Convulsively they swear,
     Still writhe the rabble rout,
   Engaged with anxious care
     In pumping Lethe out."
   Ye Christians, good and meek,
     This vision bear in mind;
   If journalists ye seek,
     Attempt their thumbs to find.
   Defects they often hide,
     As folks whose hairs are gone
   We see with wigs supplied
     Probatum! I have done!


   Twirl him! twirl him! blind and dumb
      Deaf and dumb,
    Twirl the cane so troublesome!
   Sprigs of fashion by the dozen
   Thou dost bring to book, good cousin.
    Cousin, thou art not in clover;
   Many a head that's filled with smoke
   Thou hast twirled and well-nigh broke,
   Many a clever one perplexed,
   Many a stomach sorely vexed,
    Turning it completely over;
   Many a hat put on awry,
   Many a lamb chased cruelly,
   Made streets, houses, edges, trees,
   Dance around us fools with ease.
    Therefore thou are not in clover,
   Therefore thou, like other folk,
   Hast thy head filled full of smoke,
   Therefore thou, too, art perplexed,
   And thy stomach's sorely vexed,
    For 'tis turned completely over;
    Therefore thou art not in clover.
   Twirl him! twirl him! blind and dumb
      Deaf and dumb,
    Twirl the carle so troublesome!
   Seest thou how our tongues and wits
   Thou hast shivered into bits —
    Seest thou this, licentious wight?
   How we're fastened to a string,
   Whirled around in giddy ring,
   Making all like night appear,
   Filling with strange sounds our ear?
    Learn it in the stocks aright!
   When our ears wild noises shook,
   On the sky we cast no look,
   Neither stock nor stone reviewed,
   But were punished as we stood.
    Seest thou now, licentious wight?
   That, to us, yon flaring sun
   Is the Heidelbergers' tun;
   Castles, mountains, trees, and towers,
   Seem like chopin-cups of ours.
    Learn'st thou now, licentious wight?
    Learn it in the stocks aright!
   Twirl him! twirl him! blind and dumb,
      Deaf and dumb,
    Twirl the carle so troublesome!
   Kinsman, once so full of glee,
   Kinsman, where's thy drollery,
    Where thy tricks, thou cunning one?
   All thy tricks are spent and past,
   To the devil gone at last
   Like a silly fop thou'lt prate,
   Like a washerwoman rate.
    Thou art but a simpleton.
   Now thou mayest — more shame to thee —
   Run away, because of me;
   Cupid, that young rogue, may glory
   Learning wisdom from thy story;
    Haste, thou sluggard, hence to flee
   As from glass is cut our wit,
   So, like lightning, 'twill be split;
   If thou won't be chased away,
   Let each folly also stay
    Seest my meaning? Think of me!
    Idle one, away with thee!


    A mighty oak here ruined lies,
    Its top was wont to kiss the skies,
     Why is it now o'erthrown? —
   The peasants needed, so they said,
   Its wood wherewith to build a shed,
     And so they've cut it down.


   Not in the crowd of masqueraders gay,
    Where coxcombs' wit with wondrous splendor flares,
   And, easier than the Indian's net the prey,
    The virtue of young beauties snares; —
   Not at the toilet-table of the fair,
    Where vanity, as if before an idol, bows,
   And often breathes a warmer prayer
    Than when to heaven it pays its vows;
   And not behind the curtain's cunning veil,
    Where the world's eye is hid by cheating night,
   And glowing flames the hearts assail,
    That seemed but chilly in the light, —
   Where wisdom we surprise with shame-dyed lip,
    While Phoebus' rays she boldly drinks,
   Where men, like thievish children, nectar sip,
    And from the spheres e'en Plato sinks —
   To ye — to ye, O lonely sister-band,
    Daughters of destiny, ascend,
   When o'er the lyre all-gently sweeps my hand,
    These strains, where bliss and sadness blend.
   You only has no sonnet ever wooed,
    To win your gold no usurer e'er sighed
   No coxcomb e'er with plaints your steps pursued,
    For you, Arcadian shepherd ne'er has died.
   Your gentle fingers ye forever ply,
    Life's nervous thread with care to twist,
   Till sound the clanging shears, and fruitlessly
    The tender web would then resist.
   Since thou my thread of life hast kindly spun,
    Thy hand, O Clotho, I now kiss!
   Since thou hast spared that life whilst scarce begun,
    Receive this nosegay, Lachesis!
   Full often thorns upon the thread,
    But oftener roses, thou hast strung;
   For thorns and roses there outspread,
    Clotho, to thee this lay be sung!
   Oft did tempestuous passions rise,
    And threat to break the thread by force;
   Oft projects of gigantic size
    Have checked its free, unfettered course.
   Oft, in sweet hours of heavenly bliss,
    Too fine appeared the thread to me;
   Still oftener, when near sorrow's dark abyss,
    Too firm its fabric seemed to be.
   Clotho, for this and other lies,
    Thy pardon I with tears implore;
   Henceforth I'll take whatever prize
    Sage Clotho gives, and asks no more.
   But never let the shears cut off a rose —
    Only the thorns, — yet as thou will'st!
   Let, if thou will'st, the death-shears, sharply close,
    If thou this single prayer fulfill'st!
   Oh, goddess! when, enchained to Laura's breath,
    My spirit from its shell breaks free,
   Betraying when, upon the gates of death,
    My youthful life hangs giddily,
   Let to infinity the thread extend,
    'Twill wander through the realms of bliss, —
   Then, goddess, let thy cruel shears descend!
    Then let them fall, O Lachesis!


   Her likeness Madame Ramler bids me find;
    I try to think in vain, to whom or how
   Beneath the moon there's nothing of the kind. —
    I'll show she's like the moon, I vow!
   The moon — she rouges, steals the sun's bright light,
    By eating stolen bread her living gets, —
   Is also wont to paint her cheeks at night,
    While, with untiring ardor, she coquets.
   The moon — for this may Herod give her thanks! —
    Reserves her best till night may have returned;
   Our lady swallows up by day the francs
    That she at night-time may have earned.
   The moon first swells, and then is once more lean,
    As surely as the month comes round;
   With Madame Ramler 'tis the same, I ween —
    But she to need more time is found!
   The moon to love her silver-horns is said,
    But makes a sorry show;
   She likes them on her husband's head, —
    She's right to have it so


   In truth, when I have crossed dark Lethe's river,
   The man upon the right I'll love forever,
     For 'twas he first that wrote for me.
   For all the world the left man wrote, full clearly,
   And so we all should love him dearly;
     Come, left man! I must needs kiss thee!


   Once the nine all weeping came
    To the god of song
   "Oh, papa!" they there exclaim —
    "Hear our tale of wrong!
   "Young ink-lickers swarm about
    Our dear Helicon;
   There they fight, manoeuvre, shout,
    Even to thy throne.
   "On their steeds they galop hard
    To the spring to drink,
   Each one calls himself a bard —
    Minstrels — only think!
   "There they — how the thing to name!
    Would our persons treat —
   This, without a blush of shame,
    We can ne'er repeat;
   "One, in front of all, then cries,
    'I the army lead!'
   Both his fists he wildly plies,
    Like a bear indeed!
   "Others wakes he in a trice
    With his whistlings rude;
   But none follow, though he twice
    Has those sounds renewed.
   "He'll return, he threats, ere long,
    And he'll come no doubt!
   Father, friend to lyric song,
    Please to show him out!"
   Father Phoebus laughing hears
    The complaint they've brought;
   "Don't be frightened, pray, my dears,
    We'll soon cut them short!
   "One must hasten to hell-fire,
    Go, Melpomene!
   Let a fury borrow lyre,
    Notes, and dress, of thee.
   "Let her meet, in this array,
    One of these vile crews,
   As though she had lost her way,
    Soon as night ensues.
   "Then with kisses dark, I trust,
    They'll the dear child greet,
   Satisfying their wild lust
    Just as it is meet!" —
   Said and done! — Then one from hell
    Soon was dressed aright.
   Scarcely had the prey, they tell,
    Caught the fellow's sight,
   Than, as kites a pigeon follow,
    They attacked her straight —
   Part, not all, though, I can swallow
    Of what folks relate.
   If fair boys were 'mongst the band,
    How came they to be —
   This I cannot understand, —
    In such company?
* * * *
  The goddess a miscarriage had, good lack!
   And was delivered of an — Almanac!



   The sullen mayor who reigns in hell,
    By mortals Pluto hight,
   Who thrashes all his subjects well,
   Both morn and eve, as stories tell,
    And rules the realms of night,
   All pleasure lost in cursing once,
   All joy in flogging, for the nonce.
   The sedentary life he led
    Upon his brazen chair