Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
From ‘The Nightingale of Wittenberg’
By Hans Sachs (1494–1576)
Translation of Charles Harvey Genung

AWAKE, it is the dawn of day!
I hear a-singing in green byway
The joy-o’erflowing nightingale;
Her song rings over hill and dale.
The night sinks down the occident,        5
The day mounts up the orient,
The ruddiness of morning red
Glows through the leaden clouds o’erhead.
Thereout the shining sun doth peep,
The moon doth lay herself to sleep;        10
For she is pale, and dim her beam,
Though once with her deceptive gleam
The sheep she all had blinded,
That they no longer cared or minded
About their shepherd or their fold,        15
But left both them and pastures old,
To follow in the moon’s wan wake,
To the wilderness, to the break:
There they have heard the lion roar,
And this misled them more and more;        20
By his dark tricks they were beguiled
From the true path to deserts wild.
But there they could find no pasturage good,
Fed on rankest weeds of the wood;
The lion laid for them many a snare        25
Into which they fell with care;
When there the lion found them tangled,
His helpless prey he cruelly mangled.
The snarling wolves, a ravenous pack,
Of fresh provisions had no lack;        30
And all around the silly sheep
They prowled, and greedy watch did keep.
And in the grass lay many a snake,
That on the sheep its thirst did slake,
And sucked the blood from every vein.        35
And thus the whole poor flock knew pain
And suffered sore the whole long night.
But soon they woke to morning light,
Since clear the nightingale now sings,
And light once more the daybreak brings.        40
They now see what the lion is,
The wolves and pasture that are his.
The lion grim wakes at the sound,
And filled with wrath he lurks around,
And lists the nightingale’s sweet song,        45
That says the sun will rise ere long,
And end the lion’s savage reign.

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