Wednesday, 4 March 2015
Germany, A Winter's Fairy Tale: Caput III
. . . continuing free translation.
Carolus Magnus to rest was laid
In the grand cathedral at Aachen,
Karl Mayer resides in Swabia;
for Carolus he must not be mistaken.
I don't want to be dead and buried
As an emperor in Aachen's cathedral;
Far better I live as the smallest of poets
In Stuckert on the banks of the Neckar.
Weary the streets are in Aachen
Where the dogs do pleadingly say:
"Give us a kick, o stranger, and maybe
We'll move out of the way."
Wandering around for an hour
In this uninspiring old town
It appears that nothing has changed,
Here military Prussia abounds.
High and red are those collars
Adorning the grey of their coats;
Red represents the blood of the French
Sang Körner who hits the right notes.
And ever the wooden pedantic folk,
Right in the corner as always,
With arrogance chilling
In every movement and face.
Promenading as ever stiffly about
So candle-straight and spruced fine,
As rigid as if they'd swallowed the stick
With which they beat you that time.
(one verse here not translated)
The long moustache as a matter of fact
Is the pigtail's modern pose,
The pigtail of old was hanging behind,
The new one hangs under the nose.
But the latest costume is not too bad,
To the helmet the praise that is due,
Three cheers if you please for the pimple
With it's spike of steel in view
It is so noble and knightly
And reminds one of the romantic
Era of Johanna von Montfaucon,
Of the freemen Fouque´, Uhland, Tieck.
It reminds one too of the Middle Ages
Of those squires and noble young men
Who carried their loyalty within their hearts
And on their backsides the family emblem.
It reminds one of the crusades and the jousting,
Of courtly love and pretentious service,
Of unquestioning trust and simple faith,
As yet, no journals can be published.
Yes, yes, I admire the helmet,
For it begets the highest of jokes,
A majestic concept it is,
One can see the point of this joke.
Great dread should a thunderstorm strike
If the point of one's spike's in the air,
For heavenly sent lightning flashes
The helmet wearer won't spare! -
In Aachen, on the post office shield,
I saw that dread bird, it was he,
That bird I so deeply hate! Full of poison
He looked down on me.
You hateful horrible bird, and it's into
Your hands that you want me to fall;
I shall rip out your feathers
And hack off your claws.
(. . . to be continued)