Early Works of Karl Marx: Book of Verse

Two Singers Accompanying Themselves on the Harp

A Ballad

"What brings you to this Castle here
To breathe Song's radiant aureole?
Seek you a loving comrade dear
    For whom in longing yearns your soul?"

"Know you him who soulful dwells therein,
Ask you if he set my heart a-burning?
Can you tell me if the sight of him
    Ever favoured mortals drawn by yearning?

"Never have I seen that shine of his,
Yet the gleam of precious stone
Burning on that splendid edifice
Surely needs must lure me on.

"Truly, it might be my place of birth,
Here might be my native land.
Ah! 'twas chosen by the gentle South,
Turned towards the glow it stands.

"Here my melody more free resounds,
And my breast the higher swells.
Sweet the golden Lyre's music sounds,
As in joy of grief it wells.

"And I do not know that High Master,
Him who strikes the heart-strings powerfully,
Nor the heavenly spirits that the
Harbours in its womb so secretly.

"And in vain is my desire's hot burning,
Not for me the fair gates opening.
I lean on the columns, sadly yearning,
Here Love's tribute I must sing!"

In despair her jet black hair she shakes,
Bursts into a flood of tears,
And the other kisses dry her cheeks,
Clasps her to her bosom's warming fires.

"I too am drawn by secret bonds
To this divine and holy fane.
I quested wandering through the lands,
Was pierced, as if by lightning's flame.

"But why the burning dew so spill,
The tears of bitter sorrow weep?
We may enjoy the view at will,
    On flowery meadow dance and leap!

"The heart may glow more full in us,
And sorrow may more sweetly come.
The looks may shine more luminous,
Here the Most Beautiful's soon won!

"A humble cottage let us find
    Where we our songs of praise may sing,
Where the sweet West may play around
In spirits' secret struggling."

Full many a day they lingered there,
At eventide the strings were heard
That held entranced with sad allure
Full many a flower and many a bird.

Once, as they both lay fast asleep,
Arms clasped the gentle bodies round
On bed of moss full soft and deep,
A Demon wondrous tall was found.

He bore them up on wings of gold;
They were as bound in magic bonds,
And where that cottage stood of old
A wondrous melody resounds.