Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Germany: Vols. XVII–XVIII. 1876–79.



By Heinrich Heine (1797–1856)

Translated by H. W. Dulcken

THE SICKLE moon of autumn

Peers white through clouds around;

The parsonage by the churchyard

Lies hushed in rest profound.

The mother reads in the Bible,

The son at the candle stares,

Sits yawning the elder daughter,

While the younger thus declares:—

“Alas! for the days we live here!

How creep they so wearily;

Save when one to the grave is carried

What have we here to see?”

The mother says, mid her reading,

“Thou ’rt wrong; but four have died

Since that thy father was carried

To rest by the church-door side.”

Then yawneth the elder daughter:—

“I ’ll not starve here with ye;

I will to the count to-morrow,—

He ’s rich, and he loveth me.”

The son breaks forth in laughter:

“There drink at the Star below

Three who make gold, and who ’ll teach me

Their secret gladly, I know.”

The mother flings the Bible

Right in his face so wan:

“And wouldst thou, God-accurséd,

Become a highwayman?”

They hear a knock at the window,

They see a beckoning hand;

Without, in his black-priest garment,

Doth their dead father stand.