(1790-1872 / Denmark)

Death’s Genius

Oh you who weep, brush all your tears aside!
And you who mourn, recall grief won’t abide!
For you’ll know rest when your heart beats no more,
Death’s angel you from all your wounds will cure.

Though in the grave a prince’s robes will fade,
Though only worms royal power can parade,
Be not afraid, when with a humble mind
Through that dark portal your way is assigned.

For all your efforts in your finest hour,
What the maid senses in the murky bower,
What’s woken by the organ’s deep rich sound,
What child intuits in its dream profound,

And every word that offers solace here,
Each fine resolve, each joy that’s pure and clear,
Each sweet repose on love’s arm that one takes,
Each lovely image that a poet makes,

They are but seeds that in my lap unfold,
And that when you are dead you shall behold,
That stand as flowers in a lasting wreath,
While the grave’s wave adds lustre from beneath.

For of those tears that in dust’s land were shed
There form refreshing waters in their stead,
The dew of which refreshes my small flowers,
Whose clear waves no fierce storm or gale devours.

In them sweet recollection is renewed,
In them is ancient time restored to youth,
So every maiden bathes there with a sigh
Of rapture, saying: It is sweet to die.

Rising from out the depths are shores of sand,
Where gentle glances wave you to the land,
There does the lover sit right close to love,
The best dreams are redreamed as there above.

And every friend for whom you shed a tear
Even the loved one who was not found here
You will discover where death’s wave smiles free,
And, if you will, you’ll never parted be.

And ’neath the rose’s thorns the elves all play,
The tiniest happy children – these are they,
Whose gaze I put out ere they learned to look,
Whose mouth I closed ere it with laughter shook.

And hosts of youths, ancients with shadows grey,
Babes long forgotten, girls as bright as day,
Races of heroes from a time long gone,
By countless paths I join them every one.

And men and women, spread from south to north,
Tremendous spirits from another earth,
And those who latest leapt out of time’s stream,
They meet here with antiquity’s first dream.

Night images behind the mountain wall,
Wild nature’s unborn embryos so small,
And pallid larvae who no soul-life feeds,
They fl utter here like mists among the reeds.

But your creations, which by art were made,
That here seemed but the play of light and shade,
Here in my heaven are a starry host
That gains new life, while earthly glory’s lost.

Though with no sign of ending is death’s way,
Not even distant worlds cause it to stay,
In eternity’s ring it’s lost from view,
And but its entrance can I show to you.

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Edgar Allan Poe

Annabel Lee

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