The electorate donkeys.

Text by Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)

Translated into English by Joseph Massaad 

deutsch - franšais


For now they ‘d had enough of freedom
And the animal republic
Was longing for a single regent,
Whose rule would be autocratic.

There was a gathering by animal species,
Partisanship prevailed with furious emotion;
Electorate ballots were drawn up,
Intrigues were set into motion.

The steering committee of donkeys was
Directed by the Long-Ears, the Old;
Each one of them had his head adorned
With a cockade, black, red and gold.

There was a small party of horses
But as to vote, no one would dare;
They feared the cries of the Old-Long-Ears,
A thought that no one could bear.

However, one dared to propose
The candidacy of a horse and no later
An Old-Long-Ears furiously broke in
And shouted : You are a traitor!

You are a traitor, there is not a single drop
Of donkey blood in you. Is there?
You are not a donkey, I truly believe
You were foaled by a Roman mare.

Perhaps you originated from a line of zebras,
Your skin is striped zebra´c;
The nasal tone of your voice, as well
Sounds almost egypto-hebra´c.

And if you were not a foreigner, you are only
A donkey, cold and secular.
You do not know the depths of the donkey character,
You cannot unfold the mystery of its psalter.

But I have immersed my soul, wholly
In the sweet mystery of laisser-faire;
I am a donkey and on my tail,
There is a donkey in every hair.

I am not a Roman, nor am I a slave;
I am a German donkey, for ever,
Just like my forefathers. They were so brave,
So sensible, so assuming and so clever.

They did not indulge in gallantry,
In any frivolous game or thriller;
They trotted each day frisky, happy and free
Carrying their sacks to the miller.

The fathers are not dead! In their grave,
There is nothing but their carcass.
From heaven, high above, they look down
And with great satisfaction, stare at us.

Transfigured donkeys in glorious light!
We will always strive to be like you
And will never deviate from the path of duty,
Not even one inch or two.

Oh what a delight to be a donkey!
To come from the Long-Ears breed!
I would like to shout it on every roof
That I was born a donkey, indeed.

The mighty donkey that procreated me
Was from German stock and no other;
I was fed on donkey milk,
By a German donkey mother.

I am a donkey and shall with faith,
Abide like my elders, before me,
To the dear, good-old donkey way
And maintain the donkey era in its glory.

And as a donkey, I advise you,
To elect the donkey as your king;
We will build the mighty donkey empire,
Where donkeys rule over everything.

We are all donkeys! Hee-haw! Hee-haw!
We will never bow to the steed.
Down with the horse! Long live , hurrah!
The king from the donkey breed.

And so spoke the patriot. In the hall,
The donkeys applauded more and more.
They all felt so nationalistic,
And stamped their hooves on the floor.

They adorned the speaker’s head
With a wreath of oak, just in time.
He thanked, mutely, overcome by gratitude
And wagged his tail and was sublime.