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(The Wurtemberg papers recently published a poem written by a French prisoner of war.   The prisoner is a professor of German language and literature in a university in Normandy.   The interesting part of the story is that he wrote the poem in German.   The following translation of the poem is the work of Mr. Frederick F. Schrader.)

Alien tongue and alien legions

Alien scenes around me teem.

Am I still in fancy’s regions?

Do I wake or do I dream?

Still I hear the roar and rattle

Of the cannon, fierce and deep,

And I see the god of battle

O’er my native valleys sweep.

Still the dull reverberation

Of the thunder fills my ear;

Scenes of carnage, desolation,

Haunt my memory even here.

From embattled walls my vision

Sweeps o’er alien land and dome,

While my heart on holy mission

Sends a thousand greetings home.

Where the shades of night are falling—

Yonder, where I fought for thee,

Thee for whom my heart is calling:

My belovéd Normandy.

Yonder sun, serenely beaming,

Shines alike on friend and foe;

Over yonder, shells are screaming,

Battles raging to and fro.

Here a peace-enjoying nation,

Far from tumult, strife and dread—

Would that war’s fierce devastation

Had descended here instead.

These the rude barbarian minions,

Planning early, planning late,

To dismember our dominions,

Filled with envy and with hate?

Were these homes and pleasant places

Fashioned by barbarian hands?

No, I say! No noble graces

Ever throve on barren lands.

Quiet, love of home, submission,

Faith in God, is what I see;

Pleasing prospects greet my vision,

Beautiful as Normandy.

When they led us through the city,

Enemies, cast down in cheer,

Throngs were watching us in pity,

And in many an eye a tear.

Not as chained slaves did they meet us,

Bent beneath the ruler’s rod;

But as equals did they greet us,

Brothers still in sight of God.

Who, then, fanned this conflagration,

Filled out hearts with fierce distrust

Of this proud and noble nation,

Calm and sober, strong, robust?

France, thy gallant sons are dying,

And thy fields are desolate;

Not thy foeman, but a lying

Friend has sealed thy iron fate.

Traitrous friend, thy favor suing,

Dragged thee down in infamy,

And in thy complete undoing

My belovéd Normandy.

Schrader, Frederick F., trans. “‘My Normandy’.” The Fatherland 1, no. 20 (December 23, 1914): 11.

Schrader, Frederick F., trans. “‘My Normandy’.” The Fatherland 1, no. 20 (December 23, 1914): 11.



A region on the northern coast of France.

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