by Khalil Gibran (1883 - 1931)

Love
Language: English 
Available translation(s): GER ITA
And he raised his head and looked upon the people, 
and there fell a stillness upon them.
And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you follow him, 
though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams 
as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he ascends to your height 
and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them 
in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,
that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you 
that you may know the secrets of your heart,
and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only 
love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness 
and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, 
but not all of your laughter,
and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself 
and takes naught but from itself. 
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; 
for love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," 
but rather, I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, 
for love, if it finds you worthy,
directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, 
let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook 
that sings its melody to the night.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart 
and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer 
for the beloved in your heart 
and a song of praise upon your lips.

Love gives naught but itself 
and takes naught but from itself. 
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed, 
for love is sufficient unto love.

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , title 1: "Amore", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , title 1: "Liebe", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Maria Nimmerfall

This text was added to the website: 2010-11-06
Line count: 57
Word count: 444