Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VI. Fancy: Sentiment
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VI. Fancy.  1904.
Poems of Sentiment: IV. Thought: Poetry: Books
The Sharing of the Earth
Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805)
From the German by Lord Bulwer-Lytton

“TAKE the world,” cried the God from his heaven
  To men—“I proclaim you its heirs;
To divide it amongst you ’t is given:
  You have only to settle the shares.”
Each takes for himself as it pleases,        5
  Old and young have alike their desire:
The harvest the husbandman seizes;
  Through the wood and the chase sweeps the squire.
The merchant his warehouse is locking;
  The abbot is choosing his wine;        10
Cries the monarch, the thoroughfare blocking,
  “Every toll for the passage is mine!”
All too late, when the sharing was over,
  Comes the poet,—he came from afar;
Nothing left can the laggard discover,        15
  Not an inch but its owners there are.
“Woe is me! is there nothing remaining
  For the son who best loves thee alone!”
Thus to Jove went his voice in complaining,
  As he fell at the Thunderer’s throne.        20
“In the land of thy dreams if abiding,”
  Quoth the god, “Can’st thou murmur at me?
Where wert thou when the earth was dividing?”
  “I was,” said the poet, “by thee!
“Mine eye by thy glory was captured,        25
  Mine ear by thy music of bliss:
Pardon him whom thy world so enraptured
  As to lose him his portion in this!”
“Alas,” said the god, “earth is given!
  Field, forest, and market, and all!        30
What say you to quarters in heaven?
  We ’ll admit you whenever you call!”

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