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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Oh, Love So Long as Love Thou Canst
By Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810–1876)
 
Translation of Dr. Edward Breck

OH, love so long as love thou canst!
  Oh, love so long thy soul have need!
The hour will come, the hour will come,
  When by the grave thy heart shall bleed!
 
And let thy heart forever glow        5
  And throb with love, and hold love’s heat,
So long on earth another heart
  Shall echo to its yearning beat.
 
And who to thee his heart shall show,
  Oh raise it up and make it glad!        10
Oh make his every moment blithe,
  And not a moment make him sad!
 
Guard well thy tongue; a bitter word
  Soon from the mouth of anger leaps.
O God! it was not meant to wound,—        15
  But ah! the other goes and weeps.
 
Oh, love so long as love thou canst!
  Oh, love so long thy soul have need!
The hour will come, the hour will come,
  When by the grave thy heart shall bleed!        20
 
Thou kneelest down upon the grave,
  And sink’st in agony thine eyes,—
They never more the dead shall see,—
  The silent church-yard hears thy sighs.
 
Thou mourn’st:—“Oh, look upon this heart,        25
  That here doth weep upon this mound!
Forgive me if I caused thee pain,—
  O God, it was not meant to wound!”
 
But he, he sees and hears thee not;
  He comes not, he can never know:        30
The mouth that kissed thee once says not,
  “Friend, I forgave thee long ago!”
 
He did forgive thee long ago,
  Though many a hot tear bitter fell
For thee and for thy angry word;        35
  But still he slumbers soft and well!
 
Oh, love so long as love thou canst!
  Oh, love so long thy soul have need!
The hour will come, the hour will come,
  When by the grave thy heart shall bleed!        40
 
 
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