Longfellow on Nuremberg

IN the valley of the Pegnitz, where across broad meadowlands
Rise the blue Franconian mountains, Nuremberg, the ancient, stands.

I suppose those meadowlands are now the Knoblauchsland.

Quaint old town of toil and traffic, quaint old town of art and song,
Memories haunt thy pointed gables, like the rooks that round them throng:

Memories of the Middle Ages, when the emperors, rough and bold,
Had their dwelling in thy castle, time-defying, centuries old;

No, they didn’t live there, they just spent a few weeks or months there occasionally.

And thy brave and thrifty burghers boasted, in their uncouth rhyme,
That their great imperial city stretched its hand through every clime.

I suppose this isn’t a reference to ‘Nürnberger Tand geht durch alle Land’?

In the court-yard of the castle, bound with many an iron band,
Stands the mighty linden planted by Queen Cunigunde’s hand;

At least he saw the real thing. The current Kunigunde lime tree was planted in 1984. Here it is:


On the square the oriel window, where in old heroic days
Sat the poet Melchior singing Kaiser Maximilian’s praise.

I can’t see an oriel – maybe it was destroyed in the war. And which Melchior was this? I don’t remember him.

Everywhere I see around me rise the wondrous world of Art:
Fountains wrought with richest sculpture standing in the common mart;

Very true, but lots of people don’t like them. 1 2 3

And above cathedral doorways saints and bishops carved in stone,
By a former age commissioned as apostles to our own.

In the church of sainted Sebald sleeps enshrined his holy dust,
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.

I suppose they mean this: click on Sakramentshaus.

There is more.

2 thoughts on “Longfellow on Nuremberg

  1. Well guessed, although the title was a give-away. I am getting interesting ads for cat sculpture, bear sculpture, lawn sculpture and sculpture, btw.
    Didn’t someone use the Hiawatha metre for a serious purpose recently? All I can find online are Lewis Carroll’s and other parodies.

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