The Historian’s Complaint

We present this work in honor of the 25th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Heiner Müller
1921 – 1995

In the fourth book of the Annals Tacitus complains
About the duration of peacetime, seldom interrupted
By silly border wars with whose description he
Has to make do, filled with envy
Of the historians before him
Who had mammoth wars at their disposal
Conducted by emperors who thought Rome was not grand enough
Subjugated nations, captured kings
Uprisings and state crises: great stuff.
And Tacitus apologizes to his readers.
As for me two thousand years after him
I have no need to apologize and can not
Complain about the lack of great stuff.

Translation by Carl Weber

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