An eine Aeolsharfe


Tu semper urges flebilibus modis
Mysten ademptum: nec tibi Vespero
Surgente decedunt amores,
Nec rapidum fugiente Solem.
--Horaz


Angelehnt an die Efeuwand
Dieser alten Terrasse,
Du, einer luftgebor'nen Muse
Geheimnisvolles Saitenspiel,
Fang' an,
Fange wieder an
Deine melodische Klage!

Ihr kommet, Winde, fern herueber,
Ach! von des Knaben,
Der mir so lieb war,
Frischgruenendem Huegel.
Und Fruehlingsblueten unterwegs streifend,
Uebersaettigt mit Wohlgeruechen,
Wie suess, wie suess bedraengt ihr dies Herz!
Und saeuselt her in die Saiten,
Angezogen von wohllautender Wehmut,
Wachsend im Zug meiner Sehnsucht,
Und hinsterbend wieder.

Aber auf einmal,
Wie der Wind heftiger herstoesst,
Ein holder Schrei der Harfe
Wiederholt mir zu suessem Erschrecken
Meiner Seele ploetzliche Regung,
Und hier, die volle Rose streut geschuettelt
All' ihre Blaetter vor meine Fuesse!



Eduard Moerike  1837

To an Aeolian Harp


But you keep pursuing in tearful ways
The loss of your Mystes, and your endearments
Do not ebb with the evening star’s rising
Or when it sinks before the swift sunrise.
--Horace


Leaning against the ivy-clad wall
On this old terrace,
You, mysterious harp
Of a breeze-borne Muse,
Begin,
Begin anew
Your melodious lament!

Winds, you come from afar,
Ah! from
that lad,
Who was so dear to me,
From off his grave, greening already.
And on your way you skim spring blossoms
Drenched with pleasant scents,
How sweet, how sweetly you torment my heart!
C
ome, play upon these strings
Tuned to the pleasant sound of sadness,
Swelling as my longing deepens,
Then slowly fad
es away.

But of a sudden,
With the breeze growing stronger,
A soft shrill cry from the harp
Direful but sweet, matches
The sudden stirring of my soul,
And before me, the perfect rose now shaken,
Strews its every petal at my feet!


Translation: Charles L. Cingolani      Copyright © 2009




The boy mentioned in the second stanza was Moerike's  brother,
August, who died in childhood.
. . . . Delightful how Moerike uses a musical instrument and the winds to eulogize his brother. . . .