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

Leipsic (Leipzig)

The Leipsic Tournament

By From the German

Translated by C. T. Brooks

IN Leipsic’s famous city,

In Leipsic’s castle-hall,

Are seen brave warriors many,

With armor-bearers all.

In march the Wittenbergers,—

Their bristling halberds see!

They mean, around their master,

A storm-proof wall to be.

But he—no lance he beareth,

Nor sword nor spear doth wield,

The Word of God ’s his weapon,—

The Spirit is his shield.

Hark! sounds no blast of trumpets

The signal to the fight?

No! to the holy combat

Sweet organ-tones invite.

Down on their knees all sinking,

Their manly forms they bow,—

They pray high Heaven to send them

The Holy Spirit now:

“Come, rest on us, thou worthy,

Thou Holy Spirit of God!

Thou Comforter who teachest

The path his Christ hath trod!

“O, give us wisdom’s fulness,

And faith’s exalted might,

The truth in love revealing,

That worketh all things right!”

And now they all have risen,—

The lists wide open fly,—

The herald calls to combat:

Now battle manfully!

From yonder glittering phalanx

Forth stalks a champion proud,

Of giant frame, and piercing

His voice rings through the crowd:—

“Who dares with me to battle?

I fling my gauntlet down!”—

One of the Wittenbergers

Has dared to meet his frown.

They run at one another,

Their swords flash to and fro,—

They cut and thrust and parry,

Loud sounds the sturdy blow.

Yet neither strikes his foeman

Quite to the ground.—Come, thou,

The Wittenbergers’ master,

Out on the arena now!

And, like the son of Jesse,

A young monk takes the field;

No lance has he, nor helmet,

He bears no sword nor shield.

But in his wallet bears he

Full many a goodly stone;

So well he knows to sling them,

They crash through brass and bone.

He bears his cause so bravely,

He fights so valiantly,

The knights in that assembly

His deeds with terror see!

The blows they thicken round him,

And clip and clap they fall,

But from his frame as nimbly

They fly off, one and all.

“The master on his finger

A little ring doth wear,

And holds, by art of magic,

An evil spirit there!”

Thus, through the knightly circle

Suspicious whispers fly:

“Come out, thou evil spirit!

Out from the ring!” they cry.

“The master hath a nosegay

He in his hand doth bear,

And holds, by art of magic,

An evil spirit there!”

“Come out, then, from the nosegay,

Foul fiend!” they cry once more;

The ring, and eke the nosegay,

Are what they were before.

Now let me say, my masters,

It is not in the ring,

And as to imps in nosegays,

’T is all a foolish thing.

Know when the Lord of spirits

His servants aids in fight,

Then needs a noble warrior

No alien spirit’s might.

The Lord from Heaven ’s the spirit

That lends true strength, and he

Hath to our master given

Courage and victory.