The time approaches for me to part!
Now winter's voice is compelling;
A bird of passage I know my heart
In other climes has its dwelling.
I have long known that I cannot stay;
This does not cause any grieving,
So free from care as I wend my way
I sing at times before leaving.
I should at times have perhaps sung more –
Or should perhaps have sung better;
But dark days crowded oft to the fore,
And gales my feathers did scatter.
In God's fair world I would fain have tried
To spread my wings out in freedom;
But I'm imprisoned on every side
And can't escape from my thralldom.
From lofty skies I would have fain have tried
To blithely sing and not fretted;
But for my shelter and food must bide
A jailbird poor and indebted.
At times I make the consoling choice
To let my gaze outward wander:
And sometimes send my poor mournful voice
Through prison bars yearning yonder.
Then listen, traveller, to this song;
To pass this way please endeavour!
It might, God knows, not last very long
Before this voice fades for ever.
This coming evening, I can foretell,
May see my prison bars breaking;
For I will sing now a fond farewell,
Perhaps my final leave-taking.