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.
 
Free Art
By Ludwig Uhland (1787–1862)
 
THOU, whom song was given, sing
In the German poets’ wood!
When all boughs with music ring,
Life is sweet and pleasure good.
 
Nay, this art doth not belong        5
To a small and haughty band;
Scattered are the seeds of song
All about the German land.
 
Music set thy passions free
From the heart’s confining cage!        10
Let thy love like murmurs be
And like thunder-storms thy rage!
 
Singest thou not all thy days,
Joy of youth should make thee sing.
Nightingales pour forth their lays        15
In the blooming months of spring!
 
Though in books they hold not fast
What the hour imparts to thee,
Stray leaves to the breezes cast!
Youth will seize them gratefully.        20
 
Fare thou well, thou secret lore:
Necromancy, alchemy!
Formulas shall bind no more,
And our art is poesy.
 
Names we deem but empty air,        25
Spirits we revere alone;
Though we honour masters rare,
Art is free—it is our own!
 
Not in haunts of marble chill,
Temples drear where ancients trod,—        30
Nay, in oaks on woody hill
Lives and moves the German God.
 
 
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