Two Poems of Hoffmann von Fallersleben

Translated from the German 
by Michael Shindler (March 2021)

 
The Weariness of Life, René Magritte, 1927
 
 

The Weary Wanderer

Already the sun's gone down,
It's gotten very late:
The wanderer like a shadow
Limps down the mass of slate.

And he remembers his home,
A lively boyhood day:
But boyhood is all gone now
And home so far away.

Then he hears faraway bells,
Which seem to him addressed.
O bring the weary wanderer,
O bring me also rest!

They bewilder him, he falls
From the path he had clave.
Deep below in the ravines,
There he will find his grave.

The evening bells are silent;
The mild brook rushes low,
Below in the dark ravines,
Below with weal and woe.

Der müde Wandrer

Schon sank die Sonne nieder,
Es ist geworden spät:
Ein Wandrer wie ein Schatten
Zieht hin am Felsenpfad.

Er denkt an seine Heimat,
An seine Jugendzeit:
Die Jugend ist verschwunden,
Die Heimat ist so weit.

Da hört er fernher Glocken,
Als riefen sie ihm zu.
O bringt dem müden Wandrer,
O bringet mir auch Ruh!

Da schwindelt's ihm, er stürzet
Vom Pfade gäh hinab.
Tief unten in den Schluchten,
Da findet er sein Grab.

Die Abendglocken schweigen;
Nur leise rauscht der Bach,
Hinab die dunklen Schluchten,
Hinab mit Weh und Ach.

 

The Red of Evening and Morning

The mosquito on the sill
In evening's golden gleam,
Gently polishes its wings
And drifts into a dream.

And in the silent chamber
There slumbers a young girl,
Whom death has come to knock down
Ere her bloom could unfurl;

And as the new morning's light
Strikes the windowsill's edge,
Then is the pale-faced dead girl
Wreathed with a crown of sedge;  

And as the corpse is borne down
From that snug chamber's height,
There plays the blithe mosquito
In the golden daylight.

Abend- und Morgenroth

Die Mücke sitzt am Fenster
Im goldnen Abendschein,
Sie putzt sich ihre Flügel
Und nickt dann ruhig ein.

Und in der stillen Kammer
Da schlummert eine Maid,
Die hat der Tod geknicket
In ihrer Blütezeit;

Und als die Morgensonne
Die Fenster hell beglänzt,
Da wird die blasse Tote
Geschmücket und bekränzt;

Und als man trägt die Leiche
Hinaus zum Kämmerlein,
Da spielt die Mücke fröhlich
Im goldnen Sonnenschein.

 
 
 
__________________________________
Michael Shindler is a writer living in Washington, DC. His work has appeared in publications including The American Conservative, The American Spectator, National Review Online, New English Review, University Bookman, and Providence. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelShindler.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast
 
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