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

Neckar, the River

The Passage

By Johann Ludwig Uhland (1787–1862)

Translated by Sarah Austin

MANY a year is in its grave

Since I crossed this restless wave;

And the evening, fair as ever,

Shines on ruin, rock, and river.

Then in this same boat beside

Sat two comrades old and tried,—

One with all a father’s truth,

One with all the fire of youth.

One on earth in silence wrought,

And his grave in silence sought;

But the younger, brighter form

Passed in battle and in storm.

So, whene’er I turn my eye

Back upon the days gone by,

Saddening thoughts of friends come o’er me,

Friends that closed their course before me.

But what binds us, friend to friend,

But that soul with soul can blend?

Soul-like were those hours of yore;

Let us walk in soul once more.

Take, O boatman, thrice thy fee,—

Take, I give it willingly;

For, invisible to thee,

Spirits twain have crossed with me.