Schiller's bell

Feature photo: Bells in a California mission (2013)

In memory of my two grandmothers, Luise and Käthe, who, although they grew up in opposite corners of what was then the German Reich, namely Heilbronn and Königsberg, both wrote this poem by Friedrich Schiller had to memorize at school.

Friedrich Schiller born in Marbach am Neckar, just around the corner, is an important German poet to this day, although he was never able to completely deny his mother tongue. The beauty of it is that people can find these linguistic relics even in his best works.

However, why precisely “the bell” was given to the students to learn by heart is beyond my knowledge and understanding.

As was probably still quite common at the time, Schiller was a European who held the following citizenships during his lifetime: Württemberg, Saxe-Weimar and French. Which, by the way, still doesn't prevent us Germans from seeing him alongside Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to elevate him to the throne of the greatest German poet princes and, like Goethe, to one to make schiller.

The poem that follows was published by Schiller in 1799 and was part of the canon of German literature for a long time. The first stanza reads in German: "I call the living. I mourn the dead. I'll break the lightning."

The Song of the Bell

Vivos voco. Mortuos plango. Fulgura frango.

Firmly walled in the earth
Stands the mold, baked from clay.
The bell must ring today!
Fresh, fellows, be at hand!
Hot from the forehead
the sweat must run
Should the work praise the master;
But the blessing comes from above.
For the work that we seriously prepare,
A serious word is fitting,
If good speeches accompany them,
Then the work flows happily on.
So let us now consider with diligence,
What arises through the weak force,
One must despise the bad man
Who never considers what he accomplishes.
That's what adorns people
And for that he got his mind
that he feels in his heart,
What he creates with his hand.

Take wood from the spruce trunk,
But let it be quite dry
That the pressed flame
Strike in to the weak;
Boils the copper porridge,
Quickly bring the tin
That the chewy bell dish
Flow in the right way.

What in the dam's deep pit
The hand with fire's help builds,
High on the bell tower of the tower,
Since it will bear witness to us loudly.
It will still take a while in the later days
And touch the ears of many people
And will lament with the afflicted
And agree to the devotional choir.
What below deep to the son of the earth
The changing fate brings
That hits the metal crown,
It continues to sound edifying.

I see white bubbles jumping;
Well, the masses are in flux.
Let's infuse with cinder salts,
That quickly promotes the casting.
Clean from the foam too
must be the mixture
That of pure metal
Pure and full sound the voice.
Because with the joy celebration sounds
Say hello to the beloved child
To his life first course,
Which it begins in sleep's arms!
He still rests in the womb of time
The black and the bright lots;
The tender cares of motherly love
Guard his golden morning.-
The years fly by like arrows.
The boy proudly tore himself from the girl,
He storms out wildly into life,
Measure the world with a walking stick,
A stranger he returns home to his father's house.
And glorious in youth splendor,
Like a shape from heaven's heights,
With chaste, bashful cheeks,
Does he see the virgin standing in front of him.
A nameless longing seizes
The young man's heart, he strays alone,
tears break out of his eyes,
He flees from the wild rows of brothers.
Blushing, he follows their tracks
And is delighted by her greeting,
He looks for the most beautiful things in the fields,
With which he adorns his love.
O tender longing, sweet hope,
The golden age of first love!
the eye sees the sky open,
The heart revels in bliss.
O that it would stay green forever,
The beautiful time of young love!

How the pipes are tanning!
I dip this stick
we see it appear overglazed,
Will it be time for casting?
Now, fellows, fresh!
check the mixture
Whether the brittle with the soft
United in a good sign.

Because where the strict with the tender,
Where the strong met the mild,
It makes a good sound there.
Therefore, examine whoever binds forever,
Whether the heart finds itself in the heart:
Delusion is short, regret is long!
Lovely in the bride's curls
plays the virgin wreath,
When the bright church bells
invite to the splendor of the feast.
Oh! The most beautiful celebration of life
Also ends the May of Life:
With the belt, with the veil
Tears the beautiful delusion in two.
passion flees
Love must remain:
the flower fades
The fruit must sprout.
The man has to go
into hostile life,
Must work and strive
And plant and create
acquire, seize,
Must bet and dare
to chase happiness.
Then the infinite gift streams in,
The attic is filled with precious possessions,
The rooms grow, the house expands.
And rules inside
the chaste housewife,
the children's mother,
And rule wisely
in the domestic circle,
And teach the girls
And resist the boy
And rain without end
the busy hands
And increases the profit
with a sense of order,
And fill the fragrant drawers with treasures,
And turns the thread around the purring spindle,
And collects in the cleanly smoothed shrine
The shimmering wool, the snowy linen,
And adds to the good the splendor and the shimmer,
And never rests.
And the father with a happy look
From the gable looking far into the house
counts his blooming happiness,
The post sees towering trees
And the barn-filled rooms
And the granaries bent by blessings
And the moving waves of the corn,
boasts with a proud mouth:
firm as the ground of the earth,
Against the power of misfortune
suits me the splendor of the house!
But with the powers of fate
If there is no eternal bond to be braided,
And the misfortune moves quickly.

Probably! now the casting can begin!
The fracture is beautifully jagged,
But before we let it flow
Pray a pious saying!
Push out the cone!
God save the house!
Smoking in the bow of the handle
Shoot it with fiery brown billows.
The power of fire is beneficent,
When man tames them, guards them,
And what he creates, what he creates
He thanks this heavenly power,
But terrible is the power of heaven,
When she frees herself from the bondage,
stepping in on your own trail,
The free daughter of nature.
Woe if they let go
Growing without resistance
Through the crowded streets
Roll out the monstrous fire!
Because hate the elements
The shape of the human hand.
Out of the cloud
the blessing swells,
pours the rain;
Out of the cloud with no choice
twitches the beam!
Can you hear it whimpering up from the tower?
This is storm!
Red like blood
is the sky;
This is not the embers of the day!
What a tumult
streets up!
Steam puffs up!
The pillar of fire rises flickering,
Through the streets long line
It grows at lightning speed;
Boiling as if from the oven's throat
the air glows, beams crack,
posts fall, windows rattle,
children wail, mothers err,
animals whimper
under rubble;
Everything runs, saves, flees,
As bright as day, the night has cleared;
Through the long chain of hands
To the bet
flies the bucket; high in the arch
Splash sources water surges.
The storm comes howling,
who seeks the flame roaring,
Crackling into the dry fruit
If she falls into the attic,
In the rafters withered trees,
And as if she wanted to blow
Away with the earth's force
Tear in violent flight,
Grows in the heights of heaven
Man gives way to the strength of the gods;
Idlely he sees his works
And go down admiringly.

burned out
Is the site
Wild storms rough bed.
In the desolate window sockets
dwells the horror
And look at the clouds in the sky
high in.
A glance
After the grave
his belongings
Does man still send back –
Then happily grabs the walking staff;
Whatever fire's fury stole from him,
A sweet consolation is left to him:
He counts the heads of his loved ones,
And look! He lacks no expensive head.

It's taken up into the earth,
Happy is the form filled;
Will it also come to light
That it repays diligence and art?
What if the casting failed?
When the mold shattered?
Oh! Maybe by hoping
Bad luck has already struck us.

The dark womb of the holy earth
Let's trust the deeds of our hands
The sower entrusts his seed
And hopes that it will germinate
For blessing according to heaven's advice.
Recover even more delicious seeds
We mourning in the womb of the earth
And hope he's out of the coffins
Let it bloom to a fairer lot.

from the dome
heavy and afraid
Ring the bell
Seriously accompany their bereavements
A wanderer on the last way.

Oh! it's the wife, the dear one,
Oh! it is the faithful mother
The black prince of shadows
Leads away from the husband's arm,
From the tender crowd of children,
which she gave birth to him blooming,
Which she on the faithful breast
saw growth with motherly lust –
Oh! the house's tender bond
Are loosed forever;
For she dwells in the shadow land,
who was the mother of the house;
Because their faithful rule is missing,
Your worry is no longer awake;
Switch to deserted place
Does the stranger become empty of love.

Until the bell goes cold
Let the hard work rest.
As the bird plays in the leaves,
May everyone enjoy themselves.
waves of starlight,
Free of all duty
Hear the lad hear Vespers!
Master always has to toil.

Munter encourages his steps
Far away in the wild forest of the wanderer
After the dear home hut.
Blocking the sheep go home,
And the cattle
Broad-faced, smooth flocks
come roaring
Filling the usual stables.
The car sways heavily
grain laden;
colored with colors,
On the sheaves
lies the wreath,
And the young people of the reapers
Fly to the dance.
market and streets become quieter;
Around the light's companionable flame
The residents of the house gather
And the city gate creaks shut.
Covered in black
the earth,
But the safe citizen frightens
not the night
Which horribly awakens the wicked;
Because the eye of the law is watching.
Holy order, blessed
daughter of heaven who does the same
Freely and easily and joyfully binds,
The building of cities founded,
Those in from the realms
called the unsociable savage,
entered the huts of men,
You accustomed to gentle manners,
And the most expensive of the gang
Wob, the drive to the fatherland!

A thousand busy hands rain
Help each other in the lively union,
And in fiery movement
All powers become known.
Master stirs and journeyman
In freedom holy protection,
Everyone is happy in their place
Offers defiance to the Despiser.
Work is the citizen's adornment,
Blessing is the price of effort:
honor the king's dignity,
Honor us the diligence of hands.

dear peace,
sweet unity,
linger, linger
Friendly over this city!
May the day never come
Where the rough war hordes
Rage through this silent valley,
where the sky
The soft blush of the evening
lovely paints,
From the villages, from the cities
Wild fire radiates terribly!

Now break down the building
It has fulfilled his intention
That feasts heart and eye
On the successful picture.
swing the hammer, swing,
Until the coat jumps!
When the Glock shall rise,
The mold must go to pieces.
The master can break the form
With a wise hand, at the right time;
But alas, if in rivers of fire
The glowing ore frees itself!
Blind raging with the crack of thunder
If it bursts the broken house,
And as if from the open mouth of hell
Spit it igniting doom.
Where brute force prevails senselessly,
No structure can form there;
When the people free themselves
Welfare cannot thrive there.
Alas, when in the bosom of the cities
The fire tinder silently heaped,
The people breaking their chains
To self-help terrible attacks!
There are ropes tearing at the bell
The tumult that it howls,
And, consecrated only to sounds of peace,
The slogan incites violence.
Freedom and Equality! one hears echoes;
The quiet citizen defends himself
The streets fill up, the halls
And gangs of stranglers roam
Then women become hyenas
And jesting with horror;
Still twitching, with the panther's teeth,
Rend the enemy's heart.
Nothing sacred is left, solve it
All bands of pious awe;
The good gives way to the bad,
And all vices reign freely.
It's dangerous to wake the lion
The tiger's tooth is fatal;
But the most terrible of terrors
This is man in his madness.
Woe to those who perpetually blind
Lend the torch of light to heaven!
It doesn't shine for him, it can only ignite
And burns cities and countries.
God gave me joy!
go! Like a golden star
Out of the shell, bright and even,
The metal core peels.
From the helmet to the wreath
Play it like sunshine.
Also the coat of arms nice shields
Praise the experienced pictures.

In! In!
Fellows, join the ranks,
That we consecrate the bell to a thousand.
Concordia shall be her name.
For unity, for heartfelt associations,
Gather them the loving church.

And this is her job from now on,
What the master created them for:
High above the low earthly life
Should she in the blue sky,
Thunder's neighbor, hover
And border on the starry world,
Should be a voice from above
Like the bright crowd of the stars,
Who walk in praise of their Maker
And lead the crowned year.
Only eternal and serious things
be dedicated to her metal mouth,
And hourly with the swift wings
touch the time in flight.
Lend her tongue to fate;
Even heartless, without compassion,
Accompany her with her swing
Life's changing game.
And as the sound fades away in the ear
Which resounds powerfully to her,
So teach them that nothing exists,
That everything earthly dies away.

Now with the power of the rope
Weigh the bell out of the crypt for me,
That they enter the realm of sound
Rise, into the air of heaven!
Pull, pull, lift!
She moves, levitates!
Joy of this city means
Peace be her first bell.

It shows that it can also be shorter Friedrich Schiller in the following poem:


You are afraid of death! Do you wish to live immortally?

Live whole! If you're gone a long time, it stays.

"This is the curse of evil deeds, that they, perpetuating, must always give birth to evil."

Friedrich Schiller, Wallenstein's Camp / The Piccolomini (1798-1799)
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