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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Emigrants
By Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810–1876)
 
Translation of Charles Timothy Brooks

I CANNOT take my eyes away
  From you, ye busy, bustling band,
Your little all to see you lay
  Each in the waiting boatman’s hand.
 
Ye men, that from your necks set down        5
  Your heavy baskets on the earth,
Of bread, from German corn baked brown
  By German wives on German hearth,—
 
And you, with braided tresses neat,
  Black-Forest maidens, slim and brown,        10
How careful on the sloop’s green seat
  You set your pails and pitchers down!
 
Ah! oft have home’s cool shady tanks
  Those pails and pitchers filled for you;
By far Missouri’s silent banks        15
  Shall these the scenes of home renew,—
 
The stone-rimmed fount in village street
  Where oft ye stooped to chat and draw,—
The hearth, and each familiar seat,—
  The pictured tiles your childhood saw.        20
 
Soon, in the far and wooded West
  Shall log-house walls therewith be graced;
Soon many a tired tawny guest
  Shall sweet refreshment from them taste.
 
From them shall drink the Cherokee,        25
  Faint with the hot and dusty chase;
No more from German vintage, ye
  Shall bear them home, in leaf-crowned grace.
 
O say, why seek ye other lands?
  The Neckar’s vale hath wine and corn;        30
Full of dark firs the Schwarzwald stands;
  In Spessart rings the Alp-herd’s horn.
 
Ah, in strange forests you will yearn
  For the green mountains of your home,—
To Deutschland’s yellow wheat-fields turn,—        35
  In spirit o’er her vine-hills roam.
 
How will the form of days grown pale
  In golden dreams float softly by,
Like some old legendary tale,
  Before fond memory’s moistened eye!        40
 
The boatman calls,—go hence in peace!
  God bless you,—wife, and child, and sire!
Bless all your fields with rich increase,
  And crown each faithful heart’s desire!
 
 
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