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


The Emigrants

By Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810–1876)

Translated by C. T. Brooks

I CANNOT take my eyes away

From you, ye busy, bustling band!

Your little all to see you lay,

Each, in the waiting seaman’s hand!

Ye men, who from your necks set down

The heavy basket on the earth,

Of bread from German corn, baked brown,

By German wives, on German hearth!

And you, with braided queues so 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

These pails and pitchers filled for you:

On far Missouri’s silent banks

Shall these the scenes of home renew,—

The stone-rimmed fount in village street,

That, as ye stooped, betrayed your smiles;

The hearth and its familiar seat;

The mantle and the pictured tiles.

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.

O, 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 how ye ’ll 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 unearthly mystic tale,

’T will stand before fond memory’s eye.

The boatman calls! go hence in peace!

God bless ye, man and wife and sire!

Bless all your fields with rich increase,

And crown each true heart’s pure desire!