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.
 
Vow
By Angelus Silesius (Pseud. for Johannes Scheffler) (1624–1677)
 
I WANT to love Thee, strength divine,
I want to love Thee, holy grace,
With works I offer at Thy shrine,
With longings time cannot efface.
I want to love Thee, fairest light,        5
Till my heart’s night.
 
I want to love Thee, love Thee so
As I would love my dearest friend;
And, basking in Thy beauty’s glow,
I’ll love and praise Thee without end.        10
Oh, lamb of God, my love for Thee
As for a bridegroom e’er shall be.
 
Alas, that I so late have known
Thy glory’s might, to praise with zest,
Nor sooner called Thee quite mine own,        15
Thou highest good and safest rest!
I do bemoan my sorry state
Because I loved so late.
 
Ah, blinded I had gone astray,
I could not find Thee in my plight;        20
For I from Thee had turned away,
And loved but the created light.
But now it is vouchsafed by Thee
That I Thyself may see.
 
I thank Thee, oh my sun: my night        25
Is now illumined by Thy ray;
I thank Thee, heavenly delight,
That Thou hast made me free and gay.
Thou golden mouth, my thanks I give:
In health renewed Thou let’st me live.        30
 
My footsteps, on Thy pathways led,
May never stray or turn aside:
Upon Thy roads, oh, let me tread,
Nor halt, nor stumble—be my guide!
Illumine soul and body quite,        35
Thou strong celestial light!
 
Pour sweetest tears into mine eyes,
Chaste ardour give unto my heart;
Oh, teach my soul and make it wise
To practise love’s most gentle art;        40
And let my spirit, sense and mind
E’er be to Thee inclined.
 
I want to love Thee, oh my crown,
I want to love Thee, oh my God,
To love without reward, renown,        45
E’en when in greatest pain I plod;
I want to love Thee, fairest light,
Till my heart’s night.
 
 
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