Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 7/Wein-lied (A wine song)

WEIN-LIED (A WINE-SONG).
FROM THE GERMAN OF EMMANUEL GEIBEL.

 

God bless thee! heaven descended dew,—
Child of the sun, so warm and true,
The vineyard’s prize and treasure;
Thy glint how genial to behold,
A fountain all a-blaze with gold,
Filling the sheeny measure!
Come to my lips, and let me steep
My heart at once with joyous leap
Down to the deep
In all thy tide of pleasure.

Ev’n as we know the topaz bright,
From point to point alive with light,
Shalt thou my spirit brighten;
And in my mind whate’er was dark
Thy liquid flame’s refining spark
Shall clear away and whiten.
For this a meed, due long ago,
A rapturous roundelay I owe,
Whese overflow
My bosom’s weight shall lighten.

Great is in joy thy wondrous might,
Great, too, whene’er the lonely wight
In grief’s arrest is drinking
Thou quellest mild the choking care,
Dissolvest in the goblet rare
To tears the bitter thinking.
Oh! then the cup hath noble rank,
As that where Cleopatra drank,
When the pearl sank
Consumed with lustrous blinking!

Sleeps wrapt in thee the olden time,
The joy of joys, the woe sublime,
All tenderest love-fancies;
Sleeps wrapt in thee the modest lay,
The lay whose whisper storms obey,
When life with tumult dances;
Youth springs from thee anew to play,
And twined by thee the garland gay
Of rosy May
The silver hair enhances.

That which to man some god reveals,
But he in his close heart conceals,
Sunk to the world in seeming;
Thou dost with golden finger tap,
Then flies apart the casket-snap,
And all the gems lie gleaming.
Then wisdom’s word is music soft,
Then floats the hoard of Love aloft,
And oft and oft
Glimmers divinely beaming.[1]

And art thou not, in truth, Oh, wine!
An image of this life of mine,
And changeful Fate’s true mirror?
Crushed, broken, mangled to the core,
To warmth and spirit thou dost soar,
Sworn foe of pain and error:
Thy luscious fire’s all-conquering name
Tells of our woe and after-fame,
And how the flame
Of Youth surmounts Death’s terror.

So welcome, Heaven-engendered dew,
Child of the sun, as warm and true—
The vineyard’s pride and treasure.
True zest to keep our harp in tune,
For song the one right royal boon,
Thou golden fount of pleasure.
Up, clear and pure in brimming cup,
Blest, and with blessing crowned, mount up!
And let me sup
On joy that knows no measure.

G. C. Swayne.

 

  1. This image is taken from the story of the Nibelungen.