An eine Aeolsharfe

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

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.

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

Winds, you come from afar,
Ah! from that lad,
So dear to me,
From off his freshly greening grave.
On the way you skim spring blossoms
Laden with precious scents;
With what sweetness you torment my heart!
You play upon these strings
Tuned to the pleasant sound of sadness,
Swelling as my longing deepens,
And slowly dying away.

But of a sudden,
With the breeze growing stronger,
A soft shrill cry from the harp,
Dismaying but sweet, matches
The sudden stirring of my soul,
And before me, the perfect rose now shaken,
Has strewn 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.

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. . . Delightful how Moerike uses a musical instrument and the winds to eulogize his brother . . .