Why, Beloved, do I think of thee
Suddenly now with a thousand tears,
And can be satisfied with nothing,
And would expand my breast into open space?
Ah, yesterday in that bright children's room,
Where slender flickering candles were,
Where I could lose myself in noise and jesting,
Thou didst enter, o image of kind-compassionate pain;
It was thy ghost that sat down at table,
Strangers we, sitting wordless repressing grief;
Finally it was I who broke out in loud sobbing,
And hand in hand we left the house.
Translation: Charles L. Cingolani Copyright © 2005
Unable to forget the bride the speaker concentrates now on his own suffering. He still calls her his
"Beloved". Remembering is pain in itself. The very thought of her overwhelms him with pain. It
expands in all directions. It doesn't let up. It is measured in the time it take to shed a thousand
tears? There is no substitute for his loss. It will be unending.
Recalling now their first encounter in early childhood, it is as if he first met her in a dream. What
made her desirable was the awareness of another being that could partake of his pain an suffering.
Warum, Geliebte, denk ich dein
Auf einmal nun mit tausend Traenen,
Und kann gar nicht zufrieden sein,
Und will die Brust in alle Weite dehnen?
Ach, gestern in den hellen Kindersaal,
Beim Flimmer zierlich aufgesteckter Kerzen,
Wo ich mein selbst vergass in Laerm und Scherzen,
Tratst du, o Bildnis mitleid-schoener Qual;
Es war dein Geist, er setzte sich ans Mahl,
Fremd sassen wir mit stumm verhaltnen Schmerzen;
Zuletzt brach ich in lautes Schluchzen aus,
Und Hand in Hand verliessen wir das Haus.
Eduard Moerike 1824