Home  »  library  »  poem  »  Voluntary Exile

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

Voluntary Exile

By August, Graf von Platen (1796–1835)

Translation of Charles Harvey Genung

MY ranging spirit seeks the far and wide,

And fain would soar and ever further soar:

I never long could linger on one shore,

Though Paradise should bloom on every side.

My spirit, sore perplexed and inly tried,

In this short life must often needs deplore

How easy ’tis to leave the homestead door;

But ah, how bitter elsewhere to abide!

Yet whoso hates things base with fervid soul,

Is driven from his country in despair,

When men, grown sordid, seek a sordid goal.

Far wiser then the exile’s lot to share,

Than ’midst a folk that plays a childish rôle

The yoke of blind plebeian hatred bear.