Verse > Anthologies > Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans. > A Harvest of German Verse
Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans.  A Harvest of German Verse.  1916.
The Blind and the Lame
By Christian Fürchtegott Gellert (1715–1760)
IT happens that a man quite blind
A lame man on the street doth find.
With hope the blind man’s heart is gay:
There’s one to lead him on his way!
“I help you?” says the lame. “What talk!        5
Helpless myself, I cannot walk.
It seems, your healthy shoulders there
With ease a little load could bear.
Come, carry me upon your way;
Which path to follow, I shall say.        10
Your hardy foot my foot shall be,
And with my bright eye you shall see.”
The lame man with his crutch we find
Upon the broad back of the blind.
United they can do what one        15
Alone could nevermore have done.
What you have not, will be possessed
By others not with your gifts blessed.
And from such imperfection springs
The bond that men together brings.        20
Did not my neighbour lack the gift
That nature gave me in her thrift,
He, thinking of himself alone,
A care for me would scarce have known.
Vex not the gods with discontent:        25
The gift upon another spent
Shall truly be a common good,
If we but live in brotherhood.

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