In a clear stream in happy haste
The impulsive trout darted by like an arrow.
I stood on the bank and watched in sweet quiet
The bath of the lively fish in the clear stream.
A fisherman with his rod stood on the bank
And saw cold-bloodedly how the fish moved about
So long as the water stays clear, I thought,
He won’t catch the trout with his fishing rod.
At last the thief became impatient.
He maliciously made the stream opaque
And I thought, his rod quaked
The fish, the fish was writhing on it,
And I, filled with rage within, looked at the deceived.
You who linger at the Golden Spring
Of a safe youth,
Contemplate the trout;
Recognize her danger, and hurry!
Generally she is missing only
Wisdom. Maidens, keep an eye on
That seducer with the rod! –
Lest you bleed too late.
Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart, “Die Forelle” in Gedichte (1782)
“Schubart was, like the trout in the muddied waters, lured back for a visit under the pretense that all had been forgiven. He was immediately seized and thrown in the dungeon of Hohenasperg. There were no charges, no trial—the order of the tyrant was enough. Schubart spent nearly a decade of his life confined in the basement of the fortress tower, deprived of light, and initially forbidden to read or write.