“Der Abend” – Caspar David Friedrich, 1820-21.
Sehnsucht nach der Waldgegend
Would that I had never left you,
woodlands, lofty and wondrous!
You held me lovingly in your embrace
for many a long, long year.
Where, in your twilit spots,
there was birdsong and silver streams,
there also sprang up many songs
from my bosom, fresh and bright.
Your surging, your echoes,
your never-tiring whispering,
your melodies all
awoke song in my breast.
Here in these wide meadows
everything is desolate and mute to me,
and I gaze up into the blue sky,
looking for shapes in the clouds.
While you compelled song from my breast,
it seldom stirs now,
just as the bird sings only a half song
when parted from tree and leaf.
Rest, my love, in the shade
Of green, darkening night;
The grass rustles on the meadow,
The shadows fan and cool thee
And true love is awake.
Sleep, go to sleep!
Gently rustles the grove,
Eternally am I thine.
Hush, you hidden songs,
And disturb not her sweetest repose!
The flock of birds listens,
Stilled are their noisy songs.
Close thine eyes, my darling,
Sleep, go to sleep;
In the twilight
I will watch over thee.
Murmur on, you melodies,
Rush on, you quiet stream.
Lovely fantasies of love
do these melodies evoke:
Tender dreams swim after them.
Through the whispering grove
Swarm tiny golden bees
which hum thee to sleep.
..This girl’s image speaks to me:
As I dreamt of her for restless ages,
I see her now before my eyes.
I have often lifted my eyes at dead of night,
Longing for a wife.
Satan’s spite left me but a pounding heart
To remind me of my torment.
The dull glow I feel burning here,
Can I in my misery call it love?
Ah, no! It is a yearning for redemption:
would that through such an angel it came true!
As from the mist of times long gone.
I dreamt that I was young and hale again,
It was the mansion in my native land;
I ran along the pathway to the vale,
Ran with Ottilia, racing hand in hand.
How neatly formed, her tiny figure looks!
Those sweet green eyes have such a roguish play,
And on those little feet she stands so firm,
A type of grace and strength’s united sway.
Her voice’s music is so sweet and true
You almost fancy through her heart to see;
And all she says is clever, full of sense;
Her ruddy lips a budding rose might be!
It is not sensuous longing that I feel;
I’m not in love; my senses calm remain,
And yet her manners have a wondrous charm,
And as I kiss her hand I thrill with pain.
Methinks at last I plunked a lily fair,
And gave it to her, saying: from my heart
Accept my troth, Ottilia, be my own,
That I may be as gentle as thou art.
The answer that she gave I ne’er shall know
For I awake to find myself in tears, —
That I am ill and lying on my bed,
Forlorn as I have been these many years.
“Lied des gefangenen Jägers”
My hawk is tired of perch and hood.
My idle greyhound loathes his food,
My horse is weary of his stall
And I am sick of captive thrall.
I wish I were, as I have been,
Hunting the hart in forest green,
With bended bow and bloodhound free,
For that’s the life is meet for me.
I hate to learn the ebb of time
From yon dull steeple’s drowsy chime,
Or mark it as the sunbeams crawl,
Inch after inch, along the wall.
The lark was wont my matins ring,
The sable rook my vespers sing;
These towers, although a king’s they be,
Have not a hall of joy for me.
No more at dawning morn I rise,
And sun myself in Ellen’s eyes,
Drive the fleet deer the forest through,
And homeward wend with evening dew.