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To My Mother

Was it you, dear mother, keened so plaintively,

Cursed me for three long years

To wander a hapless vagabond,

To encounter what my soul despises?


Haven't I squandered father's savings

Wounding you deeply -

While my green youth, dear mother

Dries up and fades, sorely afflicted!


My good friends deem me happy

Because I laugh together with them.

They don't know how I rot inside -

How my youth has felt the frost's sting!


How could they know? I have no friend

To confide the secrets of my heart:

Whom I love - what I believe in -

My dreams and thoughts... my suffering.


Besides you there's no one, dear mother -

You are my love and my faith;

But I no longer hope to embrace you here,

My heart turns to ash!


I dreamed many a dream, dear mother -

We'd share happiness and glory together.

I had the strength - what didn't I desire?!

But for all my desires - a pit lay in wait.


One thing remained, poor one:

To fall into your dear embrace -

So this young heart, this suffering soul

Might seek your solace, poor wretch ...


Father and sister, and dear brothers

I want to embrace you without hard feelings,

Then let my veins turn cold -

Then let me rot in the grave!


Translated by © Thomas Butler. All rights reserved!


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