my country’s tears

We are now wholly – nay more than wholly – devastated!
The band of presumptuous nations, the blaring trumpet,
the sword greasy with blood, the thundering cannon
have consumed everyone’s sweat and industry and provisions.
The towers are on fire, the church is cast down, the town hall lies in ruins,
the strong are maimed, the virgins raped,
and wherever we look there is [nothing but] fire,
plague, and death that pierces heart and mind.
Here through the bulwarks and the town ever-fresh blood is running.
Three times six years ago the water of our rivers
slowly found its way past the corpses that almost blocked it;
but I will say nothing of what is worse than death itself,
more dreadful than the plague and fire and famine –
that so many have been despoiled of the treasure of the soul.

Andreas Gryphius

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