by: Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805)

      O! on high the moon, her lustre dead,
      O'er the death-like grove uplifts her head,
      Sighing flits the spectre through the gloom--
      Misty clouds are shivering,
      Pallid stars are quivering,
      Looking down, like lamps within a tomb.
      Spirit-like, all silent, pale, and wan,
      Marshall'd in procession dark and sad,
      To the sepulchre a crowd moves on,
      In the grave-night's dismal emblems clad.
      Who is he, who, trembling on his crutch,
      Walks with gloomy and averted eye,
      And bow'd down by Destiny's hard touch,
      Vents his sorrow in a mournful sigh
      O'er the coffin borne in silence by?
      Was it "Father!" from the youth's lips came?
      Soon a damp and fearful shudder flies
      Through his grief-emaciated frame,
      And his silv'ry hairs on end uprise.
      All his fiery wounds now bleed anew!
      Through his soul, hell's bitter torments run!
      "Father!" 'twas that from the youth's lips flew,
      And the Father's heart hath whispered "Son!"
      Ice-cold, ice-cold, in his shroud he lies,--
      By thy dream, so sweet and golden erst,
      Sweet and golden, Father, thou art curst!
      Ice-cold, ice-cold, in his shroud he lies,
      Who was once thy joy, thy Paradise!
      Mild, as when, fann'd by Elysian gale,
      Flora's son over the verdant plain skips,
      Girded with roses that fragrance exhale,
      When from the arms of Aurora he slips,--
      Onward he sped o'er the sweet-smelling field,
      Mirror'd below in the silvery flood;
      Rapturous flames in his skies were conceal'd,
      Chasing the maidens in amorous mood.
      Boldly he sprang 'mid the stir of mankind,
      As o'er the mountains a youthful roe springs;
      Heav'nward ascended his wish unconfin'd,
      High as the eagle his daring flight wings.
      Proud as the steeds that in passion their manes,
      Foaming and champing, toss round in wild waves,
      Rearing in majesty under the reins,
      Stood he alike before monarchs and slaves.
      Bright as a spring-day, his life's joyous round
      Fleeted in Hesperus' glory away;
      Sighs in the grape's juice all-golden he drown'd,
      Sorrow he still'd in the dance light and gay.
      Worlds were asleep in the promising boy,
      Ha! when he once as a man shall be ripe,--
      Father, rejoice -- in thy promising boy,
      Soon as the slumbering germ shall be ripe!
      Not so, Father -- hark! the churchyard gates
      Groan, and lo, the iron hinges creak! --
      See the dreaded tomb its prey awaits! --
      Not so -- let the tears course down thy cheek!
      Tow'rd Perfection lov'd one, hasten on,
      In the sun's bright path with joy proceed!
      Quench thy noble thirst for bliss alone
      In Walhalla's peace, from sorrow freed!
      Ye will meet -- oh thought of rapture full! --
      Yonder, at the gate of Paradise!
      Hark! the coffin sinks with echo dull;
      As it re-ascends the death-rope sighs!
      Then, with sorrow drunk, we madly roll'd,
      Lips were silent, but the mute eye spoke --
      Stay, oh, stay! -- we grudg'd the tomb so cold;
      But soon warmer tears in torrents broke.
      Lo! on high the moon, her lustre dead,
      O'er the deathlike grove uplifts her head,
      Sighing flits the spectre through the gloom--
      Misty clouds are shivering,
      Pallid stars are quivering,
      Looking down like lamps within a tomb.
      Dully o'er the coffin earth-flakes rise, --
      All the wealth of earth for one looks more!
      Now the grave barr'd up for ever lies;
      Duller, duller o'er the coffin earth-flakes rise;
      Never will the grave its prey restore!

"A Funeral Phantasy" is reprinted from The Poems of Schiller. Trans. Edgar A. Bowring. New York: Hurst & Company, 1872.




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