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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.


From the German. The Bird and the Ship

  • (Schiff und Vogel)
    By Wilhelm Müller

  • “THE RIVERS rush into the sea,

    By castle and town they go;

    The winds behind them merrily

    Their noisy trumpets blow.

    “The clouds are passing far and high,

    We little birds in them play;

    And everything, that can sing and fly,

    Goes with us, and far away.

    “I greet thee, bonny boat! Whither, or whence,

    With thy fluttering golden band?”—

    “I greet thee, little bird! To the wide sea

    I haste from the narrow land.

    “Full and swollen is every sail;

    I see no longer a hill,

    I have trusted all to the sounding gale,

    And it will not let me stand still.

    “And wilt thou, little bird, go with us?

    Thou mayest stand on the mainmast tall,

    For full to sinking is my house

    With merry companions all.”—

    “I need not and seek not company,

    Bonny boat, I can sing all alone;

    For the mainmast tall too heavy am I,

    Bonny boat, I have wings of my own.

    “High over the sails, high over the mast,

    Who shall gainsay these joys?

    When thy merry companions are still, at last,

    Thou shalt hear the sound of my voice.

    “Who neither may rest, nor listen may,

    God bless them every one!

    I dart away, in the bright blue day,

    And the golden fields of the sun.

    “Thus do I sing my weary song,

    Wherever the four winds blow;

    And this same song, my whole life long,

    Neither Poet nor Printer may know.”