Translation From Heine: Lyrisches Intermezzo by George MacDonald


The phantoms of times forgotten
Arise from out their grave,
And show me how once in thy presence
I lived the life it gave.

In the day I wandered dreaming,
Through the streets with unsteady foot;
The people looked at me in wonder,
I was so mournful and mute.

At night, then it was better,
For empty was the town;
I and my shadow together
Walked speechless up and down.

My way, with echoing footstep,
Over the bridge I took;
The moon broke out of the waters,
And gave me a meaning look.

I stopped before thy dwelling,
And gazed, and gazed again–
Stood staring up at thy window,
My heart was in such pain.

I know that thou from thy window
Didst often look downward–and
Sawest me, there in the moonlight,
A motionless pillar stand.



I dreamt of the daughter of a king,
With white cheeks tear-bewetted;
We sat ‘neath the lime tree’s leavy ring,
In love’s embraces netted.

“I would not have thy father’s throne,
His crown or his golden sceptre;
I want my lovely princess alone–
From Fate that so long hath kept her.”

“That cannot be,” she said to me:
“I lie in the grave uncheerly;
And only at night I come to thee,
Because I love thee so dearly.”



In the sunny summer morning
Into the garden I come;
The flowers are whispering and talking,
But for me, I wander dumb.

The flowers are whispering and talking;
They pity my look so wan:
“Thou must not be cross with our sister,
Thou sorrowful, pale-faced man!”

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Night lay upon mine eyelids;
Upon my mouth lay lead;
With rigid brain and bosom,
I lay among the dead.

How long it was I know not
That sleep oblivion gave;
I wakened up, and, listening,
Heard a knocking at my grave.

“Tis time to rise up, Henry!
The eternal day draws on;
The dead are all arisen–
The eternal joy’s begun.”

“My love, I cannot raise me;
For I have lost my sight;
My eyes with bitter weeping
They are extinguished quite.”

“From thy dear eyelids, Henry,
I’ll kiss the night away;
Thou shalt behold the angels,
And Heaven’s superb display.”

“My love, I cannot raise me;
Still bleeds my bosom gored,
Where thou heart-deep didst stab me
With a keen-pointed word.”

“Soft I will lay it, Henry,
My hand soft on thy heart;
And that will stop its bleeding
And soothe at once the smart.”

“My love, I cannot raise me–
My head is bleeding too;
When thou wast stolen from me
I shot it through and through!”

“I with my tresses, Henry,
Will stop the fountain red;
Press back again the blood-stream,
And heal thy wounded head.”

She begged so sweetly, dearly,
I could no more say no;
I tried, I strove to raise me,
And to my darling go.

Then the wounds again burst open;
With torrent force outbrake
From head and breast the blood-stream,
And, lo, I came awake!

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