Verse > Anthologies > Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans. > A Harvest of German Verse
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Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans.  A Harvest of German Verse.  1916.
 
Song of the Blue Thrush
By Joseph Victor Widmann (1842–1911)
 
(From “The Saint and the Beasts”)

OH, lovely world, good-bye! For woe,
I must be gone, my heart is ill.
But, dearest world, before I go,
My life’s last thanks, oh, take thou still.
 
It seems, at first I was not there,        5
I was not at the very start.
Yet round me waved the light and air,
When once a prison broke apart.
 
Oh, light and air, you long stayed true,
Until this twilight sank to-day,        10
And you were daily fair and new,
And I was young and I was gay.
 
My blood was warm, my blood would boil,
My breast would rise in joyful song,
And there was joy in busy toil:        15
The longest day was not too long.
 
I wove a house of many a blade
And hung it on the steep cliff-side.
One early morn my flight I made
Away into the world so wide.        20
 
Then came the unforgotten day
When once, on such a flight in spring,
In answer to my fairest lay,
I first heard love’s sweet echoing.
 
It seemed a game and was an aim        25
And helped our lives at last unfold.
And even care that often came
Would give us but a stronger hold.
 
Ah, why does all the past seem blest,
E’en what in pain I scarce could brook?        30
The serpent crept into our nest!
The falcon wild my life-mate took!
 
When I had reared with pain and care
My youthful brood, soon came the day
When all had left, away to fare        35
And their own courage to essay.
 
And once more lonely was my flight,
And many a gloomy night passed by
When all my heart would beat in fright,
For murder tracked me on the sly.        40
 
That life was easy, who can say?
’Twas after all but full of woe!
Now that I feel it pass away,
It showers over me a glow.
 
Oh, mighty world! I am so small        45
And now must go—my heart is ill—
And now I shall not be at all—
Oh, lovely world—thanks—thank you, still—
 
 
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