Download document



I am of the race of spirits,

But do not abide in Heaven's realm,

And whenever I attain the clouds,

Strength fails me and I fall.

Heaven lies beyond these waves, I know,

So I rush about, a winged sigh,

'Twixt the earth and sky

I adore the shining sun!

In the heights I frolic

'midst its vivifying rays.

I caress them like a cloudlet

With my playful wings;

I am free and light,

Gaily the thin air I drink,

Like a chirping bird I sing.

Foul weather soon comes nigh

Blowing earthly dust and leaves,

High up to the very clouds,

Dimming heaven's vault:

Poor spirit! Irrelevant spirit!

Fateful, stormy whirling

Like a feather throws me high

'neath the thundering sky.

Roaring tempest, whistling tempest!

Icy whirlwind, fiery whirlwind!

I am battered by leaves,

Choke on whirling dust!

Whether heavenward I turn,

Whether earthwards I look back -

Both are terrible and drear;

And I cry out in despair.

Muffled roars betimes of warring

Peoples fill my ears,

And the cries of carefree peasants

Crushed by horrible campaigns,

War's commotion, passions' wails,

And a sickly child's cry…

From my eyes flow streams of tears:

And I pity earthly creatures.

Tortured by the pangs of yearning

I dash about the heavenly fields

The fields above me while below me -

Limitless-over-small for sorrow!

Cloaked by cloud rush,

Alien to the earthly sphere,

While the storm's voice overwhelms

Sorrowing voices of the human realm.

I descry the world in darkness:

As I heed the faint vibration

Of celestial harps…On earth

I brought back to life a premature child.

Never having lived, he left:

Fateful transience!

Your abundance burdens me

Meaningless eternity!

Translation: Rawley Grau