Verse > Anthologies > Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans. > A Harvest of German Verse
Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans.  A Harvest of German Verse.  1916.
Harvest Song
Catholic Church Song (1638)
THERE is a reaper, Death his name;
His might from God the highest came.
To-day his knife he’ll whet,
’Twill cut far better yet;
Soon he will come and mow,        5
And we must bear the woe—
Beware, fair flower!
The flowers fresh and green to-day,
To-morrow will be mowed away:
Narcissus so white,        10
The meadows’ delight,
The hyacinthias pale
And morning-glories frail.
Beware, fair flower!
Full many thousand blossoms blithe        15
Must fall beneath his deadly scythe:
Roses and lilies pure,
Your end is all too sure!
Imperial lilies rare
He will not spare.        20
Beware, fair flower!
The bluet wee, of heaven’s hue,
The tulips white and yellow too,
The dainty silver bell,
The golden phlox as well—        25
All sink upon the earth.
Oh, what a sorry dearth!
Beware, fair flower!
Sweet lavender of lovely scent,
And rosemary, dear ornament,        30
Sword-lilies proud, unfurled,
And basil, quaintly curled,
And fragile violet blue,
He soon will seize you too!
Beware, fair flower!        35
Death, I defy thee: hasten near
With one great sweep—I have no fear!
Though hurt, I’ll stay undaunted,
For I shall be transplanted
Into the garden by heaven’s gate,        40
The heavenly garden we all await.
Rejoice, fair flower!

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