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


The Richest Prince

By Andreas Justinus Kerner (1786–1862)

Translated by H. W. Dulcken

ALL their wealth and vast possessions

Vaunting high in choicest terms,

Sat the German princes feasting

In the knightly hall of Worms.

“Mighty,” cried the Saxon ruler,

“Are the wealth and power I wield:

In my country’s mountain gorges

Sparkling silver lies concealed.”

“See my land with plenty glowing,”

Quoth the Palsgrave of the Rhine;

“Beauteous harvests in the valleys,

On the mountains noble wine.”

“Spacious towns and wealthy convents,”

Lewis spake, Bavaria’s lord,

“Make my land to yield me treasures

Great as those your fields afford.”

Würtemberg’s belovéd monarch,

Eberhard the Bearded, cried:

“See, my land hath little cities,

’Mong my hills no metals bide;

“Yet one treasure it hath borne me,—

Sleeping in the woodland free,

I may lay my head in safety

On my lowliest vassal’s knee.”

Then, as with a single utterance,

Cried aloud those princes three:

“Bearded count, thy land hath jewels!

Thou art wealthier far than we!”