Verse > Anthologies > Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans. > A Harvest of German Verse
Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans.  A Harvest of German Verse.  1916.
Prologue to “May-Beetle’s Comedy”
By Joseph Victor Widmann (1842–1911)
A NIGHT of spring on valley and on height!
The first that follows on chill winter-tide.
The mild south wind is roused again to flight,
The gentle billows of his breathing glide
Into the deeps of earth, so dark as night,        5
And dwell where still and secret beings hide
Which yon blue stream of light can never show
That from the island of the moon doth flow.
The deep is not the realm of death alone.
Of life-seeds there a host of millions lies.        10
From grubs, so pale and weak and bloodless grown,
Soon legions of them, armed in mail, will rise,
Who still in caves, dark chambers of their own,
Are dwelling like a shadow-folk. Surmise
Of its salvation has begun to grow        15
Upon the restless little world below.
Now that the breath of May its greeting brings,
Come, let us hark to what they do and say.
For resurrections to the beat of wings
Each clod of earth a coffin is to-day.        20
Now from the earth-born heavenly courage springs;
Within them life’s sweet poison works away
That with delirious longing makes them pine
For worlds far distant from their own confine.

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