There was a tumult in the city
In the (wunderlich) quaint old Quaker town,
And the streets were (voll von) rife with people
(schreiten) Pacing restless up and down–
People (sich versammeln) gathering at corners,
Where they (flüsterten) whispered each to each,
And the (Schweiß) sweat stood on their (Schläfen) temples
With the earnestness of speech.
As the (kalt) bleak Atlantic (Strömungen) currents
(peitschen (an)) Lash the wild Newfoundland (Ufer, Küste) shore,
So they (klopfen, schlagen) beat against the State House,
So they (hier: klopfen, schlagen) surged against the door;
And the (vermischen) mingling of their voices
Made the harmony (tiefsinnig, tiefgründig) profound,
Till the quiet street of Chestnut
Was all turbulent with sound.
“Will they do it?” “ (trauen, wagen) Dare they do it?”
“Who is speaking?” “What’s the news?”
“What of Adams?” “What of Sherman?”
“Oh, God (hier: mach, dass) grant they won’t (weigern, verneinen) refuse!”
“Make some way there!” “Let me nearer!”
“I am (ersticken) stifling!” “Stifle then!
When a nation’s life’s at (Gefahr) hazard,
We’ve no time to think of men!”
So they surged against the State House,
While all (feierlich) solemnly inside,
Sat the Continental Congress,
Truth and (Vernunft) reason for their guide,
Over a simple (hier: Schriftstück) scroll debating,
Which, though simple it might be,
Yet should shake the cliffs of England
With the thunders of the free.
Far aloft in that high (Glockenturm) steeple
Sat the bellman, old and gray,
He was (müde, überdrüssig) weary of the tyrant
And his (eisernen Herrschaft) iron-sceptered sway;
So he sat, with one hand ready
On the (Glockenschwengel, Glockenklöppel) clapper of the bell,
When his eye could catch the signal,
The long-expected news to tell.
See! See! The (dicht gedrängte Menge) dense crowd (bebt) quivers
Through all its lengthy line,
As the boy beside the portal
(loseilt) Hastens forth to give the sign!
With his little hands uplifted,
(der Wind spielt) Breezes dallying with his hair,
(Hört! / Horcht!) Hark! with deep, clear (hier: Stimme) intonation,
Breaks his young voice on the air.
(verstummt) Hushed the people’s (lauter werdendes Gemurmel) swelling murmur,
Whilst the boy crys (froh, erfreut) joyously;
“Ring!” he shouts, “Ring! Grandpapa,
Ring! oh, ring for Liberty!”
Quickly, at the given signal
The old bellman lifts his hand,
Forth he sends the goods news, making
Iron music through the land.
How they shouted! What (Freude) rejoicing!
How the old bell shook the air,
Till the clang of freedom (hier: durchdrang) ruffled,
The calmly gliding Delaware!
How the bonfires and the torches
Lighted up the night’s (Ruhe) repose,
And from the flames, like fabled Phoenix,
Our glorious liberty arose!
That old State House bell is silent,
(verstummt) Hushed is now its (zauberhaft) glamorous tongue;
But the spirit it awakened
Still is living—ever young;
And when we greet the smiling sunlight
On the fourth of each July,
We will never forget the bellman
Who, between the earth and sky,
Rung out, loudly, “Independence”;
Which, please God, shall never die!