I hear thee when the ocean-tides
And on the lonely moor in silence yearning
I hear thy voice.
I dwell with thee; though thou art
Yet thou art near.
The sun goes down, the stars shine out,—Beloved
If thou wert here!
From the German of Goethe, 1898.
A fir-tree standeth lonely
On a barren northern height,
Asleep, while winter covers
His rest with robes of white.
In dreams, he sees a palm-tree
In the golden morning-land;
She droops alone and silent
In burning wastes of sand.
“DU BIST WIE EINE BLUME”
Fair art thou as a flower
And innocent and shy:
I look on thee and sorrow;
I grieve, I know not why.
I long to lay, in blessing,
My hand upon thy brow,
And pray that God may keep thee
As fair and pure as now.
THE IVORY CRADLE
The cradle I have made for thee
Is carved of orient ivory,
And curtained round with wavy silk
More white than hawthorn-bloom or milk.
A twig of box, a lilac spray,
Will drive the goblin-horde away;
And charm thy childlike heart to keep
Her happy dream and virgin sleep.
Within that pure and fragrant nest,
I’ll rock thy gentle soul to rest,
With tender songs we need not fear
To have a passing angel hear.
Ah, long and long I fain would hold
The snowy curtain’s guardian fold
Around thy crystal visions, born
In clearness of the early morn.
But look, the sun is glowing red
With triumph in his golden bed;
Aurora’s virgin whiteness dies
In crimson glory of the skies.
The rapid flame will burn its way
Through these white curtains, too, one day;
The ivory cradle will be left
Undone, and broken, and bereft.
Often I dream your big blue eyes,
Though loth their meaning to confess,
Regard me with a clear surprise
Of dawning tenderness.
Often I dream you gladly hear
The words I hardly dare to breathe,—
The words that falter in their fear
To tell what throbs beneath.
Often I dream your hand in mine
Falls like a flower at eventide,
And down the path we leave a line
Of footsteps side by side.