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Friedrich Schiller

(10 November 1759 – 9 May 1805 / Marbach, Württemberg)

Count Eberhard, The Groaner Of Wurtembert. A War Song


Now hearken, ye who take delight
In boasting of your worth!
To many a man, to many a knight,
Beloved in peace and brave in fight,
The Swabian land gives birth.

Of Charles and Edward, Louis, Guy,
And Frederick, ye may boast;
Charles, Edward, Louis, Frederick, Guy--
None with Sir Eberhard can vie--
Himself a mighty host!

And then young Ulerick, his son,
Ha! how he loved the fray!
Young Ulerick, the Count's bold son,
When once the battle had begun,
No foot's-breadth e'er gave way.

The Reutlingers, with gnashing teeth,
Saw our bright ranks revealed
And, panting for the victor's wreath,
They drew the sword from out the sheath,
And sought the battle-field.

He charged the foe,--but fruitlessly,--
Then, mail-clad, homeward sped;
Stern anger filled his father's eye,
And made the youthful warrior fly,
And tears of anguish shed.

Now, rascals, quake!--This grieved him sore,
And rankled in his brain;
And by his father's beard he swore,
With many a craven townsman's gore
To wash out this foul stain.

Ere long the feud raged fierce and loud,--
Then hastened steed and man
To Doeffingen in thronging crowd,
While joy inspired the youngster proud,--
And soon the strife began.

Our army's signal-word that day
Was the disastrous fight;
It spurred us on like lightning's ray,
And plunged us deep in bloody fray,
And in the spears' black night.

The youthful Count his ponderous mace
With lion's rage swung round;
Destruction stalked before his face,
While groans and howlings filled the place
And hundreds bit the ground.

Woe! Woe! A heavy sabre-stroke
Upon his neck descended;
The sight each warrior's pity woke--
In vain! In vain! No word he spoke--
His course on earth was ended.

Loud wept both friend and foeman then,
Checked was the victor's glow;
The count cheered thus his knights again--
"My son is like all other men,--
March, children, 'gainst the foe!"

With greater fury whizzed each lance,
Revenge inflamed the blood;
O'er corpses moved the fearful dance
The townsmen fled in random chance
O'er mountain, vale, and flood.

Then back to camp, with trumpet's bray,
We hied in joyful haste;
And wife and child, with roundelay,
With clanging cup and waltzes gay,
Our glorious triumph graced.

And our old Count,--what now does he?
His son lies dead before him;
Within his tent all woefully
He sits alone in agony,
And drops one hot tear o'er him.

And so, with true affection warm,
The Count our lord we love;
Himself a mighty hero-swarm--
The thunders rest within his arm--
He shines like star above!

Farewell, then, ye who take delight
In boasting of your worth!
To many a man, to many a knight,
Beloved in peace, and brave in fight,
The Swabian land gives birth!

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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