Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Switzerland
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Switzerland and Austria: Vol. XVI.  1876–79.
 
Switzerland: Payerne
The Song of the Spinning-wheel
Popular Swiss Song
 
Anonymous translation

JUST as we spin, of old ’t is said
Queen Bertha used to twine the thread,—
            I spin.
And with our wheels and merry song
Winter’s dark hours flow blithely on.        5
      We spin, my girl and I.
 
When my neighbor comes at night
With her niece around the light,—
            I spin.
Round the blazing fire we gather,        10
And we sing and spin together.
      We spin, my girl and I.
 
While I twist the whistling thread
The daily task is quickly said,—
            I spin.        15
And then my little happy boy
Frisks round my wheel in careless joy.
      We spin, my girl and I.
 
We may gossip as we spin,
But to backbite is a sin,—        20
            I spin.
They who slander soon shall find
Coarse and rough the thread they wind.
      We spin, my girl and I.
 
Twist it neither slack nor tight,        25
Keep between and ’t will be right,—
            I spin.
Girls who think of lovers go
Always over fast or slow.
      We spin, my girl and I.        30
 
Oil your wheel, that turning round
It may make no creaking sound,—
            I spin.
Oil of patience is the oil!
Sweetener that of every toil!        35
      We spin, my girl and I.
 
Maid whose wheel turns gratingly
Day and night shall lonely be,—
            I spin.
Of her temper ’t is a proof        40
Frightened love will keep aloof.
      We spin, my girl and I.
 
Spin, spin from morn till night,
Maidens, do your task aright,—
            I spin.        45
And in time some lover true
Shall twine a thread of love for you!
      We spin, my girl and I.
 
Spin, girls, then spin ever,
Spin long, spin well together,—        50
            I spin.
Gently go, and steadily too,
You for us and we for you.
      We spin, my girl and I.
 
 
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