Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VIII. National Spirit
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VIII. National Spirit.  1904.
I. Patriotism
The Watch on the Rhine
Max Schneckenburger (1819–1849)
Anonymous translation from the German

A VOICE 1 resounds like thunder-peal,
’Mid dashing waves and clang of steel:—
“The Rhine, the Rhine, the German Rhine!
Who guards to-day my stream divine?”
  Dear Fatherland, no danger thine:
  Firm stand thy sons to watch the Rhine!
They stand, a hundred thousand strong,
Quick to avenge their country’s wrong;
With filial love their bosoms swell,
They ’ll guard the sacred landmark well!        10
The dead of a heroic race
From heaven look down and meet their gaze;
They swear with dauntless heart, “O Rhine,
Be German as this breast of mine!”
While flows one drop of German blood,        15
Or sword remains to guard thy flood,
While rifle rests in patriot hand,—
No foe shall tread thy sacred strand!
Our oath resounds, the river flows,
In golden light our banner glows;        20
Our hearts will guard thy stream divine:
The Rhine, the Rhine, the German Rhine!
  Dear Fatherland, no danger thine:
  Firm stand thy sons to watch the Rhine!
Note 1. Written by a manufacturer of Wurtemburg in 1840, when France was threatening the left bank of the Rhine. It was set to music by Carl Wilhelm, and during the Franco-Prussian war of 1871 was adopted as the national folk-hymn and rallying cry of the army. [back]

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