Hölderlin: “Evening Phantasie”
by Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843)
Translator: Charles Warton Stork
Before his hut reposes in restful shade,
The ploughman; wreaths of smoke from his hearth ascend.
And sweet to wanderers comes the tone of
Evening bells from the peaceful village.
The sailor too puts into the haven now,
In distant cities cheerily dies away
The busy tumult; in the arbor
Gleams the festal repast of friendship.
But whither I? In labor, for slight reward,
We mortals live, in alternate rest and toil
Contentment dwells; but why then sleeps not
Hid in my bosom the thorn unsparing?
The evening heaven blooms as with springtime’s hue;
Uncounted bloom the roses, the golden world
Seems wrapt in peace; oh, bear me thither.
Purple-wrought clouds! And may for me there
Both love and grief dissolve in the joyous light!
But see, as if dispelled by the foolish prayer,
The wonder fades! ‘Tis dark, and lonely
Under the heaven I stand as erstwhile.
Come then to me, soft Sleep. Overmuch requires
The heart; and yet thou too at the last shalt fade,
Oh youth, thou restless dream-pursuer!
Peaceful and happy shall age then follow.