Say that I write bad verses,
Say that I steal the silverware,
Say I'm a rotten German
Because my diet says I can't eat Jews
And Slavs for breakfast;
Or that I betray our Austria
Because I sing the praise of Bismarck.
Say that I'm stricken with grief because
Praise for me is sadly lacking,
Slandered I am basely on occasion —
But I ask one thing only:
Do not say that I'm a pessimist,
That the last word in my singing
Belongs to blasé-modern
Stupid, dull unhappiness with living!
What? The poet is a pessimist
Because he makes complaining noises?
Just because the world is lovely
And life seems so charming to him
He would painfully regret it
If his part he were to forfeit.
If you call pessimists all persons
Who complain, then pessimistic
Is the man from whom a cry
Escapes while he is at the dentist!
Everything the critics say, believe them,
Except that I'm a pessimist!
I hate this word. To me it smells
Rather like its final syllable.