O kennst du Herz die beiden (The Two Angels)

O kennst du Herz die beiden

by EMANUEL GEIBEL (1815-1884)

O kennst du, Herz, die beiden Schwesterengel,
Herabgestiegen aus dem Himmelreich:
Stillsegnend Freundschaft mit dem Lilienstengel,
Entzndend Liebe mit dem Rosenzweig?

Schwarzlockig ist die Liebe, feurig glühend,
Schön wie der Lenz, der hastig sprossen will;
Die Freundschaft blond, in sanftern Farben blühend,
Und wie die Sommernacht so mild und still;

Die Lieb’ ein brausend Meer, wo im Gewimmel
Vieltausendfltig Wog’ an Woge schlägt;
Freundschaft ein tiefer Bergsee, der den Himmel
Klar widerspiegelnd in den Fluten trägt.

Die Liebe bricht herein wie Wetterblitzen,
Die Freundschaft kommt wie dämmernd Mondenlicht;
Die Liebe will erwerben und besitzen,
Die Freundschaft opfert, doch sie fordert nicht.

Doch dreimal selig, dreimal hoch zu preisen
Das Herz, wo beide freundlich eingekehrt,
Und wo die Glut der Rose nicht dem leisen,
Geheimnisvollen Blühn der Lilie wehrt!

The Two Angels

Know’st them, O heart! the two fair sister angels
That have descended to us from above;
Friendship, with her pale lilies, peace bestowing,
And, with her branch of roses, glowing Love?

Dark are Love’s locks, her eyes with lustre glowing,
Lovely as spring, dawning in golden light;
Friendship is fair, in softer colours blooming,
And mild and tranquil as a summer night.

Love is a tossing sea, where, in the tumult,
Thousands of dashing billows foaming rise;
Friendship a mountain lake, whose limpid waters
In their clear depths do mirror back the skies.

Love enters like a flash of gleaming lightning;
Friendship steals in, like threads by moonlight spun.
Love is resolved to win, and keep for ever;
Friendship makes offerings, but she asks for none.

But, ah! thrice blessed, thrice blessed the happy bosom,
Where both the sister angels may abide;
Where the bright glowing rose and gentle lily
Dwell ever in sweet concord, side by side.

Translated by Lady John Manners in Gems of German Poetry,
(page 77) By Janetta Manners, John Manners (pub. by W. Blackwood & Son, 1865)

Emanuel Geibel

“The 6th of April last [1884] was a sorrowful day for all Germany, for on that day died Emanuel Geibel, the writer of popular ballads and songs. His name is indeed a household word in the Fatherland, and babes begin to lisp in Geibel’s ballads. The newspapers which have commented on his death have scarcely understood the real nature of his literary position, and even German critics may readily mistake it. So great a chasm lies between the Germany of his youth and the Germany of his old age, so vast a change has come over the national ideals, that Geibel, who was much younger than Victor Hugo and younger than Lord Tennyson, seems to belong to a far more distant and unfamiliar generation than they ….” from Frank Leslie’s Sunday Magazine (Pg. 217) by C. F. Deems (1884)

Emanuel Geibel Contemporaries
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
José Zorilla
Lewis Carroll

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