The emperor of China

Text by Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)
Translated into English by Joseph Massaad 

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My father was one of those clumsy chaps,
Some kind of sober yes-man,
I, however, drink my schnapps
And, a great emperor I am.

It is a magical drink!
In my heart, at its very bottom,
I discovered that after my schnapps is drunk,
The whole of China is in blossom.

The empire of the middle does transform
Into a meadow with many a flower,
Myself, almost like a man, I can perform
And my wife can procreate an emperor.

Everywhere, there is a great surplus
And the sick people begin to heal;
My court counsellor Confucius’
Thinking becomes ever so clear.

The pumpernickel of the soldier
Becomes an almond cake – Oh joy!
And all the rogues in the state can loiter
With all the velvet and silk they can deploy.

Every Mandarin knight,
Every handicapped head,
Regain their youth outright
And shake their pigtailed heads.

The great pagoda, shelter and symbol
Of faith did finally arise;
The last Jews are baptized in its hall,
The Order of the Dragon is their prize.

Gone is the spirit of the revolution
And the noblest Manchus claim:
We do not want any constitution,
We want the stick, the whip, and the chain!

The disciples of Aesculapius have in vain
Tried to divert me from my drinking fate,
I continue to drink my schnapps and maintain
That it is for the best of my state.

And more schnapps, and more, it must be!
Its taste is like pure manna.
My people have their rape, they are happy
And they rejoice: Hosanna!