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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Sonnets to his Mother
By Heinrich Heine (1797–1856)
 
Translation of Ernest Beard

TO bear me proudly is my custom aye;
  My spirit too unbending is, and high;
  What though the King should look me in the eye?
I would not flinch, or turn my head away.
Yet, dearest mother, let me truly say:        5
  Whatever else my stubborn pride deny,
  When to thy loving, trustful side I fly,
Submissive awe possesses me alway.
Is it the secret influence of thy soul,
Thy lofty soul, that reaches every goal        10
  And like the lightning flashes to and fro?
Or bitter pangs of memory, that proceed
From countless acts that caused thy heart to bleed,—
  That dearest heart, that ever loved me so?
 
I LEFT thee lately in my frenzied state,        15
  Resolved to wander all the wide world o’er,
  To ask for love on every distant shore,—
Love that alone might ease my spirit’s weight.
I sought for love from early morn till late;
  With fevered hand I knocked at every door        20
  In Love his name, a token to implore,
Yet never gathered aught but chilling hate.
  And on, and ever on, with growing pain
  I searched for Love through many a heavy mile;
Till, sick and weary, to my homestead turning,        25
  Thou camest to greet me with a mother’s smile,—
  And there, upon thy dearest features burning,
I saw that Love I long had sought in vain.
 
 
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