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2. BEETHOVEN. Adagio, op. 27.

 

O sorrow poignant, burdened and petrified,
O sorrow of statues, which display in temples
Their white and marble-wrought nakedness to pilgrims,
Enter my spirit!

Enter my spirit, wearied with long living.
Rise amid fruitless and overcast days, that all in sable,
Trail one upon the other in sluggish greyness,
Barrenly listless.

O sorrow of exalted, majestical rhythms,
O sorrow of funereal, billowing rhythms,
Where in darkened shrine the black-robed priest
Sanctifies a requiem.

Ah bitter vainness of hope! All must end.
All vanishes, fades, congealed and chilled in ashes.
All outlived and marred. Allis wasted,
Mere shadow amid shadows.

O heaviness amid unsounding, motionless heaviness.
O hand of death, laid suddenly upon the forehead.
O horror of ending, that at the last, sets aquiver the body,
Which long has been dying.

Calm, endless calm! And final oblivion.
Calm of the dead, who are resting in vaults
Under a heavy slab with its arching scutcheon
Of perished kinsmen.

Calm of deadened waves on unquivering oceans,
That many a year no vessel has furrowed,
That darken in tints of metal and duskiness,
Barrenly day upon day. . .

Calm of divine pangs, withering in solitudes,
Calm of tottering crosses, blackened in the twilight,
In decayed and unpeopled regions, abounding
With chillness of horror.

Calm of ancient ships, astray amid oceans,
Which in the North are frozen amid eternal ice,
Whose crews long have perished beneath the masts,
Tortured by hunger.

Calm that is death's, pallid and stiffened,
As the countryside at night in the greenish moonrays,
Calm of all those, who have fared, but to falter
In the midst of the journey.. . .

"Conversations with Death" (1904).

 
Copyright.svg PD-icon.svg This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.
Original:

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.


The author died in 1951, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 60 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

 
Translation:

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.


The author died in 1970, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 30 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.