Ye sinn'd, and all My precepts slightedWrapp'd in the sleep of sin ye dwelt,Now is My fearful judgment felt,
And his mouth the hour improves,
1785.-----TO THE HUSBANDMAN.
Enticed a bear, unlick'd, ill-bred,
"E'en He my victim now shall be!"He sought to slay the Lord Most High,The world's Creator now must die;
On thy neck which deserv'd ornaments worn but by queens.Loudly now rose the cry from the ship; then kindly thou spakest
Who have Hafis tried.
THUS did the prudent son escape from the hot conversation,But the father continued precisely as he had begun itWhat is not in a man can never come out of him, surely!Never, I fear, shall I see fulfill'd my dearest of wishes,That my son should be unlike his father, but better.What would be the fate of a house or a town, if its inmatesDid not all take pride in preserving, renewing, improving,As we are taught by the age, and by the wisdom of strangers?Man is not born to spring out of the ground, just like a mere mushroom,And to rot away soon in the very place that produced him!Leaving behind him no trace of what he has done in his lifetime.One can judge by the look of a house of the taste of its master,As on ent'ring a town, one can judge the authorities' fitness.For where the towers and walls are falling, where in the ditchesDirt is collected, and dirt in every street is seen lying,Where the stones come out of their groove, and are not replaced there,Where the beams are rotting, and vainly the houses are waitingNew supports; that town is sure to be wretchedly managed.For where order and cleanliness reign not supreme in high places,Then to dirt and delay the citizens soon get accustom'd,Just as the beggar's accustom'd to wear his cloths full of tatters.Therefore I often have wish'd that Hermann would start on his travelsEre he's much older, and visit at any rate Strasburg and Frankfort,And that pleasant town, Mannheim, so evenly built and so cheerful.He who has seen such large and cleanly cities rests neverTill his own native town, however small, he sees better'd.Do not all strangers who visit us praise our well-mended gateways,And the well-whited tower, the church so neatly repair'd too?Do not all praise our pavements? Our well-arranged cover'd-in conduits,Always well furnish'd with water, utility blending with safety,So that a fire, whenever it happens, is straightway extinguish'd,--Is not this the result of that conflagration so dreadful?Six times in Council I superintended the town's works, receivingHearty thanks and assistance from every well-disposed burgher.How I design'd, follow'd up, and ensured the completion of measuresWorthy men had projected, and afterwards left all unfinish'd!Finally, every man in the Council took pleasure in working.All put forth their exertions, and now they have finally settledThat new highway to make, which will join our town with the main road.But I am greatly afraid that the young generation won't act thus;Some on the one hand think only of pleasure and trumpery dresses,Others wont stir out of doors, and pass all their time by the fireside,And our Hermann, I fear, will always be one of this last sort."
Now door and gate are in ashes,
Darkness near it fear'd to stay,And the elements with might
Just as we are gather'd thus,
OH, Magdeberg the town!Fair maids thy beauty crown,Thy charms fair maids and matrons crown;Oh, Magdeburg the town!