The public slanderers

The public slanderers

acrylic / HDF panel / 50x70cm / 2011


The public slanderers

From his dark den there comes
A robber to waylay us;
He wants to snatch our purses,
But finds a better booty:
A quarrel over nothing,
Confused and ignorant rant,
A nation’s banner torn,
A people dull and stupid.

Wherever he goes he finds
The times are lean and empty,
So he can step forth brazenly
And play the role of prophet.
He boldly plants his foot
On the rubbish heap around him
And hisses his venal message
To an astonished world.

Cloaked in deceit and malice,
That wrap him like a cloud,
He stands before the people,
The mightiest in the land.
The hands of many helpers
Of low and high degree,
Espying their advantage,
Bring service to his will.

They carry forth his message
As formerly the angels
Had done with the five loaves.
It rattles on and on!
Where once but one man lied,
Today they come by thousands:
And roaring like the storm,
His gold draws interest now.

It grows to a great harvest.
The social order overthrown,
The masses live in infamy
And laugh at every scurvy deed.
It turns out to be true,
What was first fabrication:
The good have disappeared,
The bad come out in crowds.

When one day this trouble
Will melt like winter’s ice,
The people will recall it
Like the very Plague itself.
They’ll raise an effigy of straw;
Let children play on the heath
Burn joy out of sorrow,
And light from ancient woe.

Gottfried Keller, 1819 – 1890


Title The public slanderers
Year 2011
Technique Acrylic
Medium HDF-board
Framed No
Dimensions: 50cm x 70cm x 2cm