Heine’s “Night Lay Upon My Eyelids”

image source: deviantart.com

image source: deviantart.com

Night lay upon my eyelids,
About my lips earth clave;
With stony heart and forehead
I lay within my grave.

How long I cannot reckon,
I slept in that strait bed;
I woke and heard distinctly
A knocking overhead.

“Wilt thou not rise, my Henry?
The eternal dawn is here;
The dead have re-arisen,
Immortal bliss is near.”

“I cannot rise, my darling,
I am blinded to the day.
Mine eyes with tears, thou knowest,
Have wept themselves away.”

“Oh, I will kiss them, Henry,
Kiss from thine eyes the night.
Thou shalt behold the angels
And the celestial light.”

“I cannot rise, my darling,
My blood is still outpoured
Where thou didst wound my heart once
With sharp and cruel word.”

“I’ll lay my hand, dear Henry,
Upon thy heart again.
Then shall it cease from bleeding.
And stilled shall be its pain.”

“I cannot rise, my darling,
My head is bleeding–see!
I shot myself, thou knowest,
When thou wast reft from me.”

“Oh, with my hair, dear Henry,
I’ll staunch the cruel wound,
And press the blood-stream backward;
Thou shalt be whole and sound.”

So kind, so sweet she wooed me,
I could not say her nay;
I tried to rise and follow,
And clasp my loving may.

Then all my wounds burst open,
From head and breast outbreak
The gushing blood in torrents–
And lo, I am awake!

–Heinrich Heine

 

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