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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

My River

By Eduard Mörike (1804–1875)

Translation of James Clarence Mangan

RIVER! my river in the young sunshine!

Oh, clasp afresh in thine embrace

This longing, burning frame of mine,

And kiss my breast, and kiss my face!

So—there!—Ha, ha!—already in thine arms!

I feel thy love—I shout—I shiver;

But thou outlaughest loud a flouting song, proud river,

And now again my bosom warms!

The droplets of the golden sunlight glide

Over and off me, sparkling, as I swim

Hither and thither down thy mellow tide,

Or loll amid its crypts with outstretched limb;

I fling abroad my arms, and lo!

Thy wanton waves curl slyly round me;

But ere their loose chains have well bound me,

Again they burst away and let me go!

O sun-loved river! wherefore dost thou hum,

Hum, hum alway, thy strange, deep, mystic song

Unto the rocks and strands?—for they are dumb,

And answer nothing as thou flowest along.

Why singest so all hours of night and day?

Ah, river! my best river! thou, I guess, art seeking

Some land where souls have still the gift of speaking

With nature in her own old wondrous way!

Lo! highest heaven looms far below me here;

I see it in thy waters, as they roll,

So beautiful, so blue, so clear,

’Twould seem, O river mine, to be thy very soul!

Oh, could I hence dive down to such a sky,

Might I but bathe my spirit in that glory,

So far outshining all in ancient fairy story,

I would indeed have joy to die!

What on cold earth is deep as thou? Is aught?

Love is as deep, love only is as deep:

Love lavisheth all, yet loseth, lacketh naught;

Like thee, too, love can neither pause nor sleep.

Roll on, thou loving river, thou! Lift up

Thy waves, those eyes bright with a riotous laughing!

Thou makest me immortal! I am quaffing

The wine of rapture from no earthly cup!

At last thou bearest me, with soothing tone,

Back to thy bank of rosy flowers:

Thanks, then, and fare thee well! Enjoy thy bliss alone!

And through the year’s melodious hours

Echo forever from thy bosom broad

All glorious tales that sun and moon be telling;

And woo down to their soundless fountain dwelling

The holy stars of God!