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.
 
Gretchen
By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)
 
INCLINE thou,
O mother of sorrow,
Thy gracious face upon my need!
 
A sword unsparing
Thy heart is tearing.        5
Thou seest how thine own Son must bleed.
 
With eyes imploring,
Thy sighs outpouring,
Thou prayest for His and thy great need.
 
Who feeleth        10
How stealeth
My pain through every bone?
How my poor, poor heart is quaking,
How with longing it is aching,
Thou canst know alone, alone!        15
 
Wherever I am turning,
With what a sore, sore burning
My bosom ever aches!
When I am left alone now,
I weep and weep and moan now,        20
My heart within me breaks.
 
The plants before my window
I watered with tears—oh, see!—
When in the early morning
I broke these flowers for thee.        25
 
Yes, when the sun was shining
In at my room to-day,
In bed I sat up pining
So early, in dismay.
 
Help! Rescue me from death—disgrace!        30
Incline thou,
Oh, mother of sorrow,
Upon my need thy gracious face!
 
 
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