Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Song: ‘Would I the lofty spirit melt’
By Wolfram von Eschenbach (c. 1170–c. 1220)
Translation of Edgar Taylor

WOULD I the lofty spirit melt
  Of that proud dame who dwells so high,
Kind Heaven must aid me, or unfelt
  By her will be its agony.
  Joy in my soul no place can find:        5
As well might I a suitor be
  To thunderbolts, as hope her mind
Will turn in softer mood to me.
Those cheeks are beautiful, are bright
  As the red rose with dewdrops graced;        10
And faultless is the lovely light
  Of those dear eyes, that, on me placed,
Pierce to my very heart, and fill
  My soul with love’s consuming fires,
While passion burns and reigns at will,—        15
  So deep the love that fair inspires!
But joy upon her beauteous form
  Attends, her hues so bright to shed
O’er those red lips, before whose warm
  And beaming smile all care is fled.        20
She is to me all light and joy;
  I faint, I die, before her frown:
Even Venus, lived she yet on earth,
  A fairer goddess here must own….
While many mourn the vanished light        25
  Of summer, and the sweet sun’s face,
I mourn that these, however bright,
  No anguish from the soul can chase
By love inflicted: all around
  Nor song of birds, nor ladies’ bloom,        30
Nor flowers upspringing from the ground,
  Can chase or cheer the spirit’s gloom….
Yet still thine aid, beloved, impart;
  Of all thy power, thy love, make trial;
Bid joy revive in this sad heart,—        35
  Joy that expires at thy denial:
Well may I pour my prayer to thee,
  Belovèd lady, since ’tis thine
Alone to send such care on me;
  Alone for thee I ceaseless pine.        40

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