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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


TO wander is the miller’s joy,

To wander!

He must a wretched miller be

Who would not wander merrily,

And wander!

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!

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!

The stones themselves forget their weight,

The millstones!

They join the merry dancing crew,

And try to move much faster too,

The millstones!

To wander, wander is my joy,

To wander!

Good master and good mistress, pray,

Let me in peace now go my way

And wander!


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,

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,

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

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.

Ah, heed not song nor rushing,

But wander onward still;

There must be merry mill-wheels

In every flashing rill.


I SPY a mill forth peeping

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!

And the house with its windows

Is so cozy and still.

And the sunshine above me

Makes heaven seem gay!

Ah, brooklet, lovely brooklet,

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?

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,

Or foolest thou me?

Oh, this only tell me,

If her wish it be.

Howe’er it was meant,

I’ll rest me content;

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,

I’ve all that I need!


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.

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,

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”;

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—

Say, brooklet, loves she me?


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,

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,

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;

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,

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.


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?

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!

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?

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,

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,

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,

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,

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.

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

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;

She said, “A shower is coming:

Good-night—I’m going in.”


BROOKLET, cease that song of thine!

Mill-wheels, stop your whirr and whine!

All ye merry wood-songsters fine,

Make no sign;

Silent be and close your eyne!

Every line

I’ll design—

It shall but one rhyme enshrine:

For the miller’s lovely maid is mine!


Springtime, are there then no fairer flowers thine?

Sunlight, canst thou then no brighter shine?

Ah, alone I must repine

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

With me in the grave.

Why gaze ye sadly

Upon me so,

As if with pity

Ye saw my woe?

Ah, all ye flowers

Of pale regret,

Ah, all ye flowers,

How came ye wet?

But tears can’t freshen

The flowers like rain,

Cannot make dead passion

To bloom again.

The winter’s dying,

And spring will appear,

And flowers will blossom

Around me here.

And flowers will cover

My new-made grave,—

Ah, all the flowers,

That she once gave!

And when she wanders

The church-yard through,

And softly murmurs,

“His love was true!”—

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

Must break and must die,

The lilies all withered

And broken lie.

In clouds then the full moon

Must veil her head,

And hide from all mortals

The tears she doth shed.

In heaven the angels

Their eyes gently close;

They’re sobbing and soothing

The soul to repose.

The Brook:
When love has o’ermastered

Its hopes and fears,

A new star, bright shining,

In heaven appears.

Then blossom three roses,

Half white, half red,

That never shall wither

In garden bed.

And in heaven the angels

Their pinions will clip,

And earthwards each morning

Will fairily trip.

The Miller:
Ah, brooklet, lovely brooklet,

Thou’rt faithful and true;

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,

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

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;

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,

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

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!

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,

And the heaven above me how wide and how great!