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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
From ‘The Pretty Maid of the Mill’
By Wilhelm Müller (1794–1827)
 
Translation of Charles Harvey Genung and Edward Breck

Wandering

TO wander is the miller’s joy,
            To wander!
He must a wretched miller be
Who would not wander merrily,
            And wander!        5
 
We learned it from the water brook,
            The water!
It takes no rest by night or day,
But ever wends its laughing way,
            The water!        10
 
We learn it from the mill-wheel too,
            The mill-wheel!
That will not stand a moment still,
But tireless turns the mighty mill,
            The mill-wheel!        15
 
The stones themselves forget their weight,
            The millstones!
They join the merry dancing crew,
And try to move much faster too,
            The millstones!        20
 
To wander, wander is my joy,
            To wander!
Good master and good mistress, pray,
Let me in peace now go my way
            And wander!        25
 
Whither?

I HEARD a brooklet gushing
  From out the rocky spring,
Down through the valley rushing
  With clear and laughing ring.
 
I know not what came o’er me,        30
  What longing filled my breast;
Down to the vale it bore me,
  And onward without rest.
 
Far downward, ever onward,
  I followed its dancing gleam,        35
And louder still and clearer
  Sang ever the happy stream.
 
And this way must I wander?
  O brooklet, whither, say?
Thou hast with thy sweet rushing        40
  My reason charmed away.
 
What, prate I then of rushing?
  That can no rushing be!
’Tis the voice of the water-nixies,
  That sing their songs to me.        45
 
Ah, heed not song nor rushing,
  But wander onward still;
There must be merry mill-wheels
  In every flashing rill.
 
Halt!

I SPY a mill forth peeping
        50
  By the alder-lined mere;
The rushing and singing
  Of mill-wheels I hear.
 
Hey, welcome, hey, how welcome,
  Sweet old song of the mill!        55
And the house with its windows
  Is so cozy and still.
 
And the sunshine above me
  Makes heaven seem gay!
Ah, brooklet, lovely brooklet,        60
  Was it this thou wouldst say?
 
Thanksgiving to the Brook

WAS it this thou wouldst say,
My friend, by thy lay?
  By ringing and singing,
Was it this thou wouldst say?        65
 
To the miller’s maid go!
Thou meanest it so.
  Ah! Have I not guessed it?
To the miller’s maid go!
 
Can her wish it be,        70
Or foolest thou me?
  Oh, this only tell me,
If her wish it be.
 
Howe’er it was meant,
I’ll rest me content;        75
  I have found what I sought for,
Howe’er it was meant.
 
I sought work, indeed,
I’ve now all I need;
  For my hands, for my heart,        80
I’ve all that I need!
 
Curiosity

I’LL ask no pretty flower,
  I’ll ask no starry sphere;
For none of them can tell me
  What I so long to hear.        85
 
Besides, I’m not a gardener,
  The stars all hang too high;
My brooklet here shall tell me
  If my fond heart doth lie.
 
O brooklet, my belovèd,        90
  Why singest thou no more?
I ask for one word only,
  One answer o’er and o’er.
 
“Yes” is the word I long for,
  The other word is “no”;        95
In one of these two answers
  Is all my weal or woe.
 
O brooklet, my belovèd,
  Why shouldst thou wayward be?
I’ll promise not to tell it—        100
  Say, brooklet, loves she me?
 
Impatience

I’D carve it deep in every forest tree,
On every stone I’d grave it lastingly;
In every garden plot the words I’d sow,
With seed that soon my sweet device would show,        105
That she should see my faithful heart’s endeavor:
Thine is my heart, and shall be thine forever.
 
A magpie young and lusty I would teach,
Until he sang aloud that sweetest speech,
And sang it with my voice’s counterpart,        110
With all the yearning of my loving heart;
He’d sing it then to her and cease it never:
Thine is my heart, and shall be thine forever.
 
I’d fling it forth to every morning breeze,
I’d sigh it softly to the swaying trees;        115
Oh, that it shone from every blossom fair!
Oh, that she breathed it in the perfumed air!
Are mill-wheels all that thou canst move, O river?
Thine is my heart, and shall be thine forever.
 
I thought it looked from out my loving eyes,        120
And burned upon my cheeks in telltale guise;
Imprinted on my speechless lips it were,
And every breath I drew cried out to her;
But she, alas, heeds naught of my endeavor:
Thine is my heart, and shall be thine forever.        125
 
Good-Morning

GOOD-MORNING, pretty miller’s lass!
Why hide thy head, whene’er I pass,
  Behind the curtain yonder?
Dost think my greetings boldness show?
Disturb thee then my glances so?        130
  Then onward I must wander.
 
Oh, let me linger by the brook,
And only at thy window look,
  Below there, just below there!
Thou flaxen head, now hide no more!        135
Come forth from out your oval door,
  Ye morning stars that show there!
 
Ye slumber-laden eyes so blue,
Ye flowers wet with morning dew,
  Doth ruddy sunlight blind you?        140
Were they so sweet, the joys of sleep,
That now you close and droop and weep,
  Because they’re left behind you?
 
Now shake ye off the dreamland haze,
And fresh and free your heads upraise,        145
  To greet the shining morrow!
Aloft the lark doth gayly soar,
And at the deep heart’s inmost core
  Awake love’s care and sorrow.
 
Showers of Tears

WE sat nestled close to each other,
        150
  In shady alder nook;
We gazed long and fondly together
  Down into the murmuring brook.
 
The moon uprose in heaven,
  The stars began to glow,        155
And gazed long and fondly together
  At the silvery mirror below.
 
’Twas not the moon that I gazed at,
  And not the starry skies:
Her picture was all I gazed at,        160
  And all I saw was her eyes.
 
I saw them there winking and blinking
  Deep down in my brooklet so true;
The flowers on the margin, the blue ones,
  Are winking and blinking there too.        165
 
And in the waters sunken
  The whole wide heaven shone,
And into its glistening bosom
  It seemed to lure me on.
 
And over the clouds and the starlight        170
  The brook rippled joyous and free,
And called me, ringing and singing:—
  “Come hither, O brother, to me!”
 
And blurred were my eyes with hot tear-drops;
  Before me the brook seemed to spin;        175
She said, “A shower is coming:
  Good-night—I’m going in.”
 
Mine!

BROOKLET, cease that song of thine!
Mill-wheels, stop your whirr and whine!
All ye merry wood-songsters fine,        180
            Make no sign;
Silent be and close your eyne!
            Every line
            I’ll design—
It shall but one rhyme enshrine:        185
For the miller’s lovely maid is mine!
                Mine!
Springtime, are there then no fairer flowers thine?
Sunlight, canst thou then no brighter shine?
        Ah, alone I must repine        190
With that sweetest of all words, “Mine,”
Understood by none in all this world divine!
 
Withered Flowers

AH, all ye flowers
  That she once gave,
Ye shall be buried        195
  With me in the grave.
 
Why gaze ye sadly
  Upon me so,
As if with pity
  Ye saw my woe?        200
 
Ah, all ye flowers
  Of pale regret,
Ah, all ye flowers,
  How came ye wet?
 
But tears can’t freshen        205
  The flowers like rain,
Cannot make dead passion
  To bloom again.
 
The winter’s dying,
  And spring will appear,        210
And flowers will blossom
  Around me here.
 
And flowers will cover
  My new-made grave,—
Ah, all the flowers,        215
  That she once gave!
 
And when she wanders
  The church-yard through,
And softly murmurs,
  “His love was true!”—        220
 
Then, all ye flowers,
  Oh bloom, oh blow!
For May is coming,
  And gone is the snow.
 
The Miller and the Brook

The Miller:
    WHEN a heart so constant
        225
      Must break and must die,
    The lilies all withered
      And broken lie.
 
    In clouds then the full moon
      Must veil her head,        230
    And hide from all mortals
      The tears she doth shed.
 
    In heaven the angels
      Their eyes gently close;
    They’re sobbing and soothing        235
      The soul to repose.
 
The Brook:
    When love has o’ermastered
      Its hopes and fears,
    A new star, bright shining,
      In heaven appears.        240
 
    Then blossom three roses,
      Half white, half red,
    That never shall wither
      In garden bed.
 
    And in heaven the angels        245
      Their pinions will clip,
    And earthwards each morning
      Will fairily trip.
 
The Miller:
    Ah, brooklet, lovely brooklet,
      Thou’rt faithful and true;        250
    Ah, brooklet, but thou know’st not
      What love can do.
 
    Ah, down there, far down there,
      ’Tis cool and deep.
    Ah, brooklet, lovely brooklet,        255
      Now sing me to sleep.
 
Cradle Song of the Brook

        SWEETLY sleep, sweetly sleep!
            I’ll thy vigil keep!
Wanderer, so weary, thou’rt now at home.
            Securely rest        260
            Asleep on my breast,
Till the brooklets mingle with ocean foam.
 
            Thy bed shall be cool
            In moss-lined pool,
In the chamber of sparkling blue crystal clear;        265
            Come, wavelets, wave,
            His cradle lave,
Soothe him and rock him, my comrade so dear.
 
            When the sound of horn
            From the greenwood’s borne,        270
I will rush and I’ll gush, that thou mayst not hear.
            Peep ye not through,
            Little flow’rets blue!
You make all the dreams of my sleeper so drear.
 
            Away, away        275
            From my margin stay,
Wicked maiden, lest from thy shadow he wake!
            But throw me down
            Thy kerchief brown,
So for his eyes I’ll a bandage make!        280
 
            Now good-night, now good-night!
            Till all’s made right,
Forget all thy hopes, and forget thy fate!
            The moon shines bright,
            The mists take flight,        285
And the heaven above me how wide and how great!
 
 
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