What needs the poet for his singing?
What knowledge must he call his own?
Comfort to thousand hearts he’s bringing:
He surely has a magic stone.
Yet little is required for fitting
The poet to perform his task,
The while in spirit he is flitting
In sunbright upland meads to bask.
When, daily labor terminating,
Sleep doth thee to its arms entice,
He groans in fierce throes of creating,
And strives for the lost Paradise.
His breast is filled with eager yearning,
Nor peace nor rest doth he e’er find;
With all men’s tears his eyes are burning,
He bears the burdens of mankind.
Deep into beauty’s fountain diving,
He seeks the noblest treasure there;
In heartfelt prayers forever striving
With God to grant ye flow’rets fair.
Not for himself he asketh blessing;
Content is he if, in his song,
He bringeth aught for your refreshing:
For gold or thanks he doth not long.
With his heart’s blood he dyes the roses,
His hot tears blanch the lilies pale;
The smallest leaf which here reposes
Doth from his heavy sighs exhale.
The gray hairs in his locks unheeding,
He cares not for his own deep grief;
The cordial other hearts are needing,
To bring, his genius deemeth chief.
Therefore his songs in your hearts treasure
As fondly as your child you hold;
None know what anguish beyond measure
Each birth has cost, what grief untold!
Karl Schrattenthal (ed.) (pseudonym of Carl Karlweis, or Karl Franz Joseph Weiss); Mary J. Safford (translator), Poems by Johanna Ambrosius, Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1896, pp.127-128
Notes by Andrew Guild:
This poem is by Johanna Ambrosius, who was born in Lengwethen, Eastern Prussia, in 1854, and died in 1939.
Usually I would give a link to the relevant page on the English-language Wikipedia, but no such page exists for this poetess, as yet; however, there is a page on Johanna Ambrosius in the German-language Wikipedia (and here is the Google Translate version).