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THE ARSENAL AT SPRINGFIELD. This is the Arsenal. From floor to ceiling,
Like a huge organ, rise the burnished arms; But from their silent pipes no anthem pealing
Startles the villages with strange alarms. Ahl what a sound will rise, how wild and dreary,
When the death angel touches those swift keys! What loud lament and dismal Miserere
Will mingle with their awful symphonies ! I hear even now the infinite fierce chorus,
The cries of agony, the endless groan, Which, through the ages that have gone before us,
In long reverberations reach our own. On helm and harness rings the Saxon hammer, Through Cimbric forest roars the Norseman's
song, And loud, amid the universal clamour,
O'er distant deserts sounds the Tartar gong. I hear the Florentine, who from his palace
Wheels out his battle-bell with dreadful din, And Aztec priests upon their teocallis
Beat the wild war-drums made of serpent's skin;
The tumult of each sacked and burning village;
The shout that every prayer for mercy drowns ; The soldiers' revels in the midst of pillage;
The wail of famine in beleaguered towns ; The bursting shell, the gateway wrenched asunder,
The rattling musketry, the clashing blade;
The diapason of the cannopade.
With such accursed instruments as these,
Thou drownest Nature's sweet and kindly voices,
And jarrest the celestial harmonies ?
Were half the power that fills the world with terror, Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and
courts, Given to redeem the human mind from error,
There were no need of arsenals nor forts :
The warrior's name would be a name abhorred!
And every nation, that should lift again Its hand against a brother, on its forehead
Would wear for evermore the curse of Cain !
Down the dark future, through long generations, The echoing sounds grow fainter, and then
cease! And like a bell, with solemn, sweet vibrations, I hear once more the voice of Christ say,
“ Peace !"
Peace! and no longer from its brazen portals
The blast of War's great organ shakes the skies! But beautiful as songs of the immortals,
The holy melodies of love arise.
In the valley of the Pegnitz, where across broad
meadow lands Rise the blue Franconian mountains, Nuremberg,
the ancient, stands. Quaint old town of toil and traffic, quaint old town
of art and song, Memories haunt thy pointed gables, like the rooks
that round thein throng :
Memories of the Middle Ages, when the emperors,
rough and bold, Had their dwelling in thy castle, time-defying,
centuries old ; And thy brave and thrifty burghers boasted, in
their uncouth rhyme, That their great imperial city stretched its hand
through every clime." In the court-yard of the castle, bound with many
an iron band, Stands the mighty linden, planted by Queen Cuni
gunde's hand; On the square the oriel window, where in old
heroic days Sat the poet Melchior, singing Kaiser Maximi
lian's praise. 10 Everywhere I see around me rise the wondrous
world of Art, Fountains wrought with richest sculpture standing
in the common mart;
And above cathedral doorways, saints and bishops
carved in stone, By a former age commissioned as apostles to our
In the church of sainted Sebald sleeps enshrined
his holy dust, 11 And in bronze the Twelve Apostles guard from
age to age their trust;
In the church of sainted Lawrence stands a pix of
sculpture rare, Like the foamy sheaf of fountains, rising through
the painted air.
Here, when Art was still religion, with a simple,
reverent heart, Lived and laboured Albrecht Dürer, the Evan
gelist of Art; Hence in silence and in sorrow, toiling still with
busy hand, Like an emigrant he wandered, seeking for the
Emigravit is the inscription on the tombstone
where he lies; Dead he is not,--but departed, -for the artist
Fairer seems the ancient city, and the sunshine
seems more fair, That he once has trod its pavement, that he once
has breathed its air !
Through these streets so broad and stately, these
obscure and dismal lanes, Walked of yore the Master-singers, chanting rude
From remote and sunless suburbs, came they to
the friendly guild, Building nests in Fame's great temple, as in spouts
the swallows build.
As the weaver plied the shuttle, wove he too the
mystic rhyme, And the smith his iron measures hammered to the
anvil's chime; Thanking God, whose boundless wisdom makes
the flowers of poesy bloom In the forge's dust and cinders, in the tissues of
Here Hans Sachs, the cobbler poet, laureate of the
gentle craft, Wisest of the Twelve Wise Masters, 13 in huge
folios sang and laughed.
But his house is now an alehouse, with a nicely
sanded floor, And a garland in the window, and his face above
the door; Painted by some humble artist, as in Adam Pusch
man's song, As the old man gray and dove-like, with his great
beard white and long.
And at night the swart mechanic comes to drown
his cark and care, Quaffing ale from pewter tankards, in the master's
Vanished is the ancient splendour, and before my
dreamy eye Wave these mingling shapes and figures, like a
Not thy Councils, not thy Kaisers, win for thee
the world's regard ; But thy painter, Albrecht Dürer, and Hans Sachs,
Thus, 0 Nuremberg, a wanderer, from a region As he paced thy streets and court-yards, sang in
thought his careless lay: Gathering from the pavement's crevice, as a
floweret of the soil, The nobility of labour,--the long pedigree of toil.