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Joseph Victor von Scheffel: The wood of peace


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

German writers on peace and war

Joseph Victor von Scheffel: The Muses heal what Mars has wrought


Joseph Victor von Scheffel
The Trumpeter
Translated by Mrs. Francis Brünnow and by Jessie Beck and Louise Lorimer

You who live in smoky cities,
And are separated wholly
From the simple life of nature,
Shrug your shoulders! for my muse will
Joyfully now sing the praises
Of a pastor in the country.
Simple is his life, and narrow:
Where the village ends, end also
All his labours and endeavours.
While men slaughtered one another,
In the bloody Thirty Years’ War,
For God’s honour, the calm grandeur
Of the Schwarzwald’s solemn pine-woods
Breathed its peace into his soul.

But, whenever ‘mongst his people
Could some discord be adjusted –
When the spiteful neighbours quarrelled;
When the demon of dissension
Marriage marred and children’s duty;
When the daily load of sorrow
Heavily weighed down some poor man,
And the needy longing soul looked
Eagerly for consolation –
With the olive-branch for token,
To his flock the old man hastened;
From the depths of his heart’s treasure
Gave to each advice and comfort.
And if, in a distant village,
Someone lay upon a sick-bed,
With grim Death hard battle waging,
Then – at midnight – at each hour,
When a knock came at his hall-door –
E’en if snow the pathway covered –
Undismayed he went to comfort
And bestow the sacred blessing.

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