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



By Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim (1719–1803)

Translated by W. Taylor

WE met, a hundred of us met,

At curfew, in the field:

We talked of heaven and Jesus Christ,

And all devoutly kneeled;

When, lo! we saw, all of us saw,

The starlit sky unclose,

And heard the far-high thunders roll

Like seas where storm-wind blows.

We listened, in amazement lost,

As still as stones for dread,

And heard the war proclaimed above,

And sins of nations read.

The sound was like a solemn psalm

That holy Christians sing;

And by and by the noise was ceased

Of all the angelic ring;

Yet still, beyond the cloven sky,

We saw the sheet of fire;

There came a voice, as from a throne,

To all the heavenly choir,

Which spake: “Though many men must fall,

I will that these prevail;

To me the poor man’s cause is dear.”

Then slowly sank a scale.

The hand that poised was lost in clouds,

One shell did weighty seem;

But sceptres, scutcheons, mitres, gold,

Flew up, and kicked the beam.