Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VIII. National Spirit
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VIII. National Spirit.  1904.
 
III. War
Sword Song
Karl Theodor Körner (1791–1813)
 
From the German by Charles Timothy Brooks

SWORD, on my left side gleaming,
What means thy bright eye’s beaming?
It makes my spirit dance
To see thy friendly glance.
        Hurrah!        5
 
“A valiant rider bears me;
A free-born German wears me:
That makes my eye so bright;
That is the sword’s delight.”
        Hurrah!        10
 
Yes, good sword, I am free,
And love thee heartily,
And clasp thee to my side,
E’en as the plighted bride.
        Hurrah!        15
 
“And I to thee, by Heaven,
My light steel life have given;
When shall the knot be tied?
When wilt thou take thy bride?”
        Hurrah!        20
 
The trumpet’s solemn warning
Shall hail the bridal morning,
When cannon-thunders wake,
Then my true-love I take.
        Hurrah!        25
 
“O blessèd, blessèd meeting!
My heart is wildly beating:
Come, bridegroom, come for me;
My garland waiteth thee.”
        Hurrah!        30
 
Why in the scabbard rattle,
So wild, so fierce for battle?
What means this restless glow?
My sword, why clatter so?
        Hurrah!        35
 
“Well may thy prisoner rattle;
My spirit yearns for battle.
Rider, ’t is war’s wild glow
That makes me tremble so.”
        Hurrah!        40
 
Stay in thy chamber near,
My love; what wilt thou here?
Still in thy chamber bide;
Soon, soon I take my bride.
        Hurrah!        45
 
“Let me not longer wait:
Love’s garden blooms in state,
With roses bloody-red,
And many a bright death-bed.”
        Hurrah!        50
 
Now, then, come forth, my bride!
Come forth, thou rider’s pride!
Come out, my good sword, come!
Forth to thy father’s home!
        Hurrah!        55
 
“O, in the field to prance
The glorious wedding dance!
How, in the sun’s bright beams,
Bride-like the clear steel gleams!”
        Hurrah!        60
 
Then forward, valiant fighters!
And forward, German riders!
And when the heart grows cold,
Let each his love infold.
        Hurrah!        65
 
Once on the left it hung,
And stolen glances flung;
Now clearly on your right
Doth God each fond bride plight.
        Hurrah!        70
 
Then let your hot lips feel
That virgin cheek of steel;
One kiss,—and woe betide
Him who forsakes the bride.
        Hurrah!        75
 
Now let the loved one sing;
Now let the clear blade ring,
Till the bright sparks shall fly,
Heralds of victory!
        Hurrah!        80
 
For, hark! the trumpet’s warning
Proclaims the marriage morning;
It dawns in festal pride;
Hurrah, thou Iron Bride!
        Hurrah!        85
 
 
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