Anonymous (12th Century), ‘Du bist mein’ (‘You are mine’)

I am yours and you, mine are;
Of this ought you be ‘ware.
You are a part of, prisoner in, my heart;
The little key is gone afar.
You must remain there, where you are.

 

The original (modernised):

Du bist mein, ich bin dein;
Des sollst du gewiß sein.
Du bist verschlossen in meinem Herzen;
Verloren ist das Schlüsselein.
Du musst immer drinnen sein.

 

Georg Weerth (1822–56), ‘Die Goldne Sonne’ (‘The Golden Sun’)

The golden sun has now
Betaken him away,
And o’er the grey town grow
The clouds of closing day.

Now quiet, now loud, the bell
Lets out a lovely tone;
Leave off your work a spell:
For now, the day is done.

 

The original:

Die gold’ne Sonne hat
Sich nun hinwegbegeben,
Und über der grauen Stadt
Die Abendwolken schweben.

Die Glocke, groß und klein,
Geben ein lieb’ Geläute;
Laßt nun die Arbeit sein:
Es ist genug für heute.

 

Charles Eager is a scholar, teacher, and poet in Yorkshire, England. He is co-author of the poetry volume Synkronos (2017) with Vlad Condrin Toma. Although sold-out, it is available to be read freely online. His poetry has been published by EPIZOOTICS! and The Society of Classical Poets. His coming projects include a book on Shakespeare’s gods; books on Wordsworth and Dickens’s religion; compositions for classical guitar; a book on distinctions; and poetry, translated and original.
@sircharleseager
c.eager@leeds.ac.uk

 


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3 Responses

  1. Bieder C. Weslau

    There is a memorial plaque to Georg Weerth in Havana, Cuba, where he died. Among the words in Spanish and German are the following, all in caps:

    “ER WAR DER ERSTE BEDEUTENDE DICHTER DES DEUTSCHEN PROLETARIATS KAMPFGEFÄRTE UND FREUND VON KARL MARX UND FRIEDRICH ENGELS”

    Reply
    • Charles Eager

      Thank you for this interesting note, Bieder. I actually completed this translation of Weerth before I found out about his Communism.—Indeed, I loved this simple and beautiful poem for several years whilst quite blithely ignorant of this association. How wonderful, though, that a great writer (or artist of any kind) can be given a just appreciation quite apart from their political opinions, thus allowing us to enjoy them without any regard to those parts of their life with which we might disagree.

      I might also add that, since Weerth died very young (in his early thirties, I believe), he is to be associated with Communism’s early, idealistic days, which I think are somewhat nobler (if naïve) and thus more easily forgivable than its later realisations.

      Reply
      • Monty

        Very well said, Charles.

        We should be able to appreciate an artist “quite apart from their political opinions” . . and to enjoy them “without any regard to those parts of their life with which we may disagree”.

        Also, you make a valid point about the nascent days of Communism, when it was indeed a more noble ideal than its “later realisations” . . which should render it more forgivable.

        Sensible words in these insensible times . . .

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