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The future is as God ordaineth;
He who the birds, and brooks, and sea, And earth, and heaven itself sustaineth
I WANDER with the Spirit of the Night;
Through wide and silent streets my footstep paces ;
E'en now were heard the peals of laughter light,
And sobs of grief, within these lonely places.
Pleasure is sleeping like a folded flower,
The maddest toper's glass no more is creaming;
Fled with the sun, Sorrow has had her hour;
The world is weary-leave it, leave it dreaming !
How all my hate, my grudges, melt away
When, spent the storms of day, the earth reposes;
The moon pours down her soft, consoling ray-
Ay, though it were but over withered roses !
Light as a tone, and silent as a star,'
My soul pervades the space around me, seeming
To be released from earthly bound or bar,
That I may lose myself in others' dreaming.
Mute-like a spy—my shadow dogs me on;
I stand before a prison iron-grated :
O Fatherland, thy too devoted son
Right bitterly his love has expiated!
He sleeps; what recks he of oppression now?
Dreams he of home—the rill beside it streaming ?
Dreams he perchance of laurels round his brow?
O God of freedom, leave him in his dreaming !
I pass the palace of a sceptred lord ;
Behind the purple folds, the shadows thicken
On one in slumber clutching at a sword,
With mien of guilt, and features terror-stricken.
Leicht wie ein Ton, unhöriir wie ein Stern.
Wan as his diadem, the despot quakes;
Escape and flight his frenzied brain is scheming ;
He springs to earth-beneath his feet it breaks
O God of vengeance, leave him in his dreaming !
I mark in yonder hut—'tis scant, I deem-
Hunger and Innocence one bed partaking ;
Yet to the peasant God has given a dream,
To compensate awhile the pangs of waking :
From every grain that Morpheus may let fall
A seed-plot rises, with abundance teeming;
The world can scarce contain the widening wall-
God of the poor, o leave the poor man dreaming !
By the last house, upon the bench of stone
I rest awhile, with tenderer emotion :
I love thee well, child, yet not thee alone;
Freedom divides with thee my heart's devotion.
Thy fancies flutter through a golden sky;
I see a people, roused, their rights redeeming;
Thou dreamst of butterflies—of eagles I-
O God of love! O leave my maiden dreaming !
Thou Star, like Joy, emerging from a cloud,
Thou silent Night, in garments azure-tinted,
Hasten ye not to let the awakened crowd
Behold my face with sorrow's vigil printed !
On tears the earliest light of day is poured,
Freedom must vanish ere the sun is beaming,
Then Tyranny again unsheaths the sword-
O God of dreams, leave all of us our dreaming !
HERWEGH.—Der Gang um Mitternacht."
* Mr. Buchheim will, it is hoped, pardon my quoting the following passage from his note on this poem :—Herwegh is one of the most enthusiastic “poets of liberty." His Gedichte eines Leben. digen, in which the present poem first appeared, were published at a time (1841-43) when political life was quite stagnant on the Continent; and the gloom of despotism prevailed in Germany as well as in other countries. It was during this period that Herwegh's poems fell like a flash of lightning, arousing the youth of Germany to that enthusiasm which, effectively fanned by other poets and writers, gradually brought about her unity' (Deutsche Lyrik, p. 395).