Verse > Anthologies > Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans. > A Harvest of German Verse
Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans.  A Harvest of German Verse.  1916.
The Recognition
By Johann Nepomuk Vogl (1802–1866)
A WANDERING youth with a cane in his hand
Comes home again from a foreign land.
His hair is dusty, his face is brown;
Who will know him first in the little town?
He enters the town by the ancient gate.        5
At the toll-bar leans a former mate:
The publican once was a cherished friend,
Gay hours at the tavern they used to spend.
But see, his old comrade knows him not:
His face is so sunburnt that he is forgot.        10
The youth wanders on with a greeting fleet,
And shakes off the dust from his tired feet.
From a window his love looks with gentle eyes.
“Be welcome, oh, loveliest maiden!” he cries.
See, even the maiden knows him not:        15
His face is so sunburnt that he is forgot.
So on he is strolling across the town:
A tear gleams bright on his cheek so brown.
There totters his mother from the church-door.
“God bless you!” he says, and nothing more.        20
But see, his old mother is sobbing with joy:
“My son!”—And she sinks on the breast of her boy.
No matter how sunburnt his face has grown,
By a mother’s eye he is straightway known.

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