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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Who Knows Where

By Detlev von Liliencron (1844–1909)

(Battle of Kolin, June 18th, 1757)

Translation of Ludwig Lewisohn

ON blood, smoke, ruin and the dead,

On trampled grass unharvested

The sun poured light.

Dark fell. The battle’s rage was o’er,

And many a one came home no more

From Kolin’s fight.

A lad, half boy, had shared the fray,

Had first heard bullets whiz that day.

He had to go …

And though he swung his flag on high,

Fate touched him, it was his to die.

He had to go.

Near him there lay a pious book

Which still the youngster bore and took

With sword and cup.

A grenadier from Bevern found

The small, stained volume on the ground

And picked it up.

And swiftly to the father brought

This last farewell with silence fraught

And with despair.

Then wrote therein the trembling hand:

“Kolin: my son hid in the sand.

Who knows where!”

And he who here has sung this song

And he who reads it, both are strong

Of life and fair.

But once art thou and once am I

Hid in the sand eternally,

Who knows where!