Early Works of Karl Marx: Book of Verse


A Ballad


All decked with finery
    She stands, in purple dressed;
A satin ribbon coy
    Is hidden in her breast.

And playfully there glow
Sweet roses in her hair,
Some are like flakes of snow,
The others--blood and fire.

But never a rose is playing
Upon her pallid face.
She sinks, distressful, bowing,
As hart shot in the chase.

Tremulous, pale she looks
In diamonds' full display.
The blood drains from her cheeks
Into her heart away.

"I have been driven again
To gaiety's false allure,
My heart oppressed with pain,
My wavering steps unsure.

"O'er soul's high-billowing sea
Other desires have called.
Enough of this display,
So loveless and so cold.

"I cannot understand it,
    Within my breast this flame;
Heaven alone can grant it,
No mortal speak its name.

"I would bear suffering even,
Willingly I would die,
That I might merit Heaven,
A better land might see."

She lifts her tearful gaze
To Heaven's radiance,
Her bosom's fantasies
    In sighs give utterance.

Quietly she lays her down
    And says a heartfelt prayer.
Sleep folds her gently round,
An angel watches her.


Years have flown swiftly by,
    Hollow her cheeks have grown.
Quieter, sadder she,
    More distant, more withdrawn.

She struggles, but in vain,
Fighting great agony,
Those mighty powers to tame;
Her heart leaps violently.

Dreaming, one day she lies
In bed, but not asleep,
Drowning in nothingness...
   The blow has struck full deep.

Her look becomes a stare,
   Hollow, and void, and numb.
She raves, all unaware,
In wild delirium.

And from her eye there streams
The blood that nothing stays.
The pain now quieter seems,
Now flash the Spirit's rays.

"The gates of Heaven yield,
And I am moved with awe.
My hopes shall be fulfilled,
Nearer the stars I'll draw."

Trembling on lips so pale,
   The soul would seek to roam.
The gentle spirits sail
   To their aethereal home.

Striving profound has drawn her,
Lured by a magic bond.
Too cold has life been for her,
Too poor this earthly land.