Translation From Von Salis-Seewis: The Grave by George MacDonald



The grave is deep and soundless,
Its brink is ghastly lone;
With veil all dark and boundless
It hides a land unknown.

The nightingale’s sweet closes
Down there come not at all;
And friendship’s withered roses
On the mossy hillock fall.

Their hands young brides forsaken
Wring bleeding there in vain;
The cries of orphans waken
No answer to their pain.

Yet nowhere else for mortals
Dwells their implored repose;
Through none but those dark portals
Home to his rest man goes.

The poor heart, here for ever
By storm on storm beat sore,
Its true peace gaineth never
But where it beats no more.


Psyche moans, in deep-sunk, darksome prison,
For redemption; ah! for light she aches;
Fears, hopes, after every noise doth listen–
Whether Fate her bars of iron breaks.

Bound are Psyche’s pinions–airy, soaring;
Yet high-hearted is she, groaning low;
Knows that under clouds whence rain is pouring
Sprouts the palm that crowns the victor’s brow;

Knows among the thorns the rose yet reigneth;
Golden flowers spring from the desert grave
She her garland through denial gaineth,
And her strength is steeled by winds that rave.

‘Tis through lack that she her blisses buyeth;
Sorrow’s dream comes true by longing long;
Lest light break the sleep wherein she lieth,
Round her tree of life the shadows throng.

Psyche’s wail is but a fluted sadness
Heard from willows the moon silvereth;
Psyche’s tears are dews of morning redness,
And her sighs the sweet night-violet’s breath!

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Yews o’ershade the myrtle of her probation;
Much she loves for great has been her dole;
Love leads through the paths of separation,
Leads her to reunion’s joyous goal.

She endures; bravely bears every burden,
Dumb before the will of Fate bends low;
Lies her bliss the patient tranquil word in;
Her one cordial, feeling’s overflow!

Preconviction–ah! the call, the token,
Spreading wings the darksome sky to cleave!
‘Tis but boding! ’tis but knowledge broken!
Truth’s but what she truly doth believe!

Darkness hides the goal of Psyche’s mission;
For the eyes that tears so often gall
Reach not to the summit of completion
Where illusion’s vaporous veil doth fall!

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