Excerpt, “The Spirit of German Poetry: A Series of translations from the German Poets, with Critical and Biographical Notices. ” Translated by Joseph Gostick. 1845.
WOULD I WERE FREE AS ARE MY DREAMS
Would I were free as are my dreams,
Sequestered from the garish crowd
To glide by banks of quiet streams
Cooled by the shadow-drifting cloud!
Free to shake off this weary weight
Of human sin, and rest instead
On Nature's heart inviolate--
All summer singing o'er my head!
There would I never disembark,
Nay, only graze the flowery shore
To pluck a rose beneath the lark,
Then go my liquid way once more,
And watch, far off, the drowsy lines
Of herded cattle crop and pass,
The vintagers among the vines,
The mowers in the dewy grass;
And nothing would I drink or eat
Save heaven's clear sunlight and the spring
Of earth's own welling waters sweet,
That never make the pulses sting.
Oh, how I roused myself in the night, in the night. And felt myself drawn further; I left the alleys, guarded by the watchmen, And wandered through quietly, In the night, in the night, The gate with the Gothic arch.
The mill brook rushed through the rocky gorge. I leaned over the bridge, Observing far below me the waves, Which rolled so quietly, In the night, in the night, Yet never did one roll back.
Overhead wanders the infinite, flickering, Melodic traffic of the stars. With them, the moon in calm splendor; They gleam quietly In the night, in the night. At a deceptively remote distance.
I gaze up into the night, in the night, And gaze down again anew: Alas, how have you spent the day! Now, softly you try to still, In the night, in the night, The remorse of your pounding heart!