Monday, September 6, 2010

''Oppressive Dream''


Justinus Kerner (1786-1862)

I dreamt I flew all fearful
Into the world afar,
To Strassburg through the side-streets,
Before my sweetheart's door.

Sweetheart is so saddened,
My flying makes her cry:
"It was the Evil Spirit
Who taught you how to fly!"

Now Sweetheart, what use lying,
Since you know all full well.
The one who taught me flying,
It was the Fiend from Hell!

And Sweetheart weeps, a-crying
And wakes me with her cry,
And here, alas! in Augsburg
A prisoner I lie.

Tomorrow I'll be hanging,
No Sweetheart calls to me,
Tomorrow I'll be soaring,
A bird in the air and free.

-trans. John Fitzell
-German title: Der schwere Traum (Ikaros).

(Illustration is Herbert James Draper, The Lament for Icarus, 1898.)

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