by Heinrich Heine (1797 - 1856)
Translation by Leonard J[ordan] Lehrman (b. 1949)

While up above you could hear
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
While up above you could hear 
a little trilling and singing wren,
Here down below to inspect my bags 
came the Prussian customsmen.

Through everything sniffing, rifling around 
in trousers, shirts and underwear
A-looking for jewelry, lace, and especially forbidden books! 
"What is that there!?"

You fools, sticking your nose in my bags, 
just what do you think I'm hiding?
All of the contraband that I have 
lies here in my head residing!

Here you'll find jewels so finely made, 
and lace that a Belgian can't bring you,
And if I start to unpack the rest, 
you'll find it will tickle and sting you!

And many a book I've here in my head! 
Contagious, you'll discover -- 
My head is a dangerous carrier 
from which you never recover!

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Researcher for this text: Leonard Lehrman

This text was added to the website: 2010-09-13
Line count: 20
Word count: 127