Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Germany: Vols. XVII–XVIII. 1876–79.

Rhine, the River

Rhine Wine

By Matthias Claudius (1740–1815)

Translated by J. Macray

WITH laurel wreathe the glass’s vintage mellow,

And drink it gayly dry!

Through farthest Europe, know, my worthy fellow,

For such in vain ye ’ll try.

Nor Hungary nor Poland e’er could boast it;

And as for Gallia’s vine,

Saint Veil, the Ritter, if he choose, may toast it,—

We Germans love the Rhine.

Our fatherland we thank for such a blessing,

And many more beside;

And many more, though little show possessing,

Well worth our love and pride.

Not everywhere the vine bedecks our border,

As well the mountains show,

That harbor in their bosoms foul disorder;

Not worth their room below.

Thuringia’s hills, for instance, are aspiring

To rear a juice like wine;

But that is all; nor mirth nor song inspiring,

It breathes not of the vine.

And other hills, with buried treasures glowing,

For wine are far too cold;

Though iron ores and cobalt there are growing,

And chance some paltry gold.

The Rhine, the Rhine,—there grow the gay plantations!

O, hallowed be the Rhine!

Upon his banks are brewed the rich potations

Of this consoling wine.

Drink to the Rhine! and every coming morrow

Be mirth and music thine!

And when we meet a child of care and sorrow,

We ’ll send him to the Rhine.