O say, thou wild, thou oft deceived heart,
What mean these noisy throbbings in my breast?
After thy long, unutterable woe
Wouldst thou not rest?
Fall’n from Life’s tree the sweet rose-blossom lies,
And fragrant youth has fled. What made to seem
This earth as fair to thee as Paradise,
Was all a dream.
The blossom fell, the thorn was left to me;
Deep from the wound the blood-drops ever flow,
All that I have are yearnings, wild desires,
And wrath and woe.
They brought me Lethe’s water, saying, ‘Drink!’
‘Drink, for the draught is sweet,’ I heard them say,
‘Shalt learn how soft a thing forgetting is.’
I answered : ‘Nay.’
What tho’ indeed it were an idle cheat,
Nathless to me ’twas very fair and blest:
With every breath I draw I know that love
Reigns in my breast.
Let me go forth, and thou, my heart, bleed on:
A lonely spot I seek by night and day,
That love and sorrow I may there breathe forth
In a last lay.