Ferdinand Freiligrath: “Emigrants”





I cannot take my eyes away

From you, ye busy, bustling band,

Your little all to see you lay

Each in the waiting boatman’s hand.


Ye men, that from your necks set down

Your heavy baskets on the earth,

Of bread, from German corn baked brown,

By German wives, on German hearth.


And you, with braided tresses neat,

Black Forest maidens, slim and brown,

How careful, on the sloop’s green seat,

You set your pails and pitchers down.


Ah! oft have home’s cool shady tanks

Those pails and pitchers filled for you;

By far Missouri’s silent banks

Shall these the scenes of home renew–


The stone-rimmed fount, in village street,

Where oft ye stooped to chat and draw–

The hearth, and each familiar seat–

The pictured tiles your childhood saw.


Soon, in the far and wooded West

Shall log-house walls therewith be graced;

Soon, many a tired, tawny guest

Shall sweet refreshment from them taste.


From them shall drink the Cherokee,

Faint with the hot and dusty chase;

No more from German vintage, ye

Shall bear them home, in leaf-crowned grace.


Oh say, why seek ye other lands?

The Neckar’s vale hath wine and corn;

Full of dark firs the Schwarzwald stands;

In Spessart rings the Alp-herd’s horn.


Ah, in strange forests you will yearn

For the green mountains of your home;

To Deutschland’s yellow wheat-fields turn;

In spirit o’er her vine-hills roam.


How will the form of days grown pale

In golden dreams float softly by,

Like some old legendary tale,

Before fond memory’s moistened eye!

The boatman calls–go hence in peace!

God bless you, wife and child, and sire!

Bless all your fields with rich increase,

And crown each faithful heart’s desire!