Hugo von Hofmannsthal

(1 February 1874 – 15 July 1929 / Vienna)

Ariadne Auf Naxos


There is a land where all is pure,
And this land is called
The land of death.
Here nothing is pure.
All things suffer corruption.
But soon a herald will come.
Hermes is his name,
his winged wand rules all souls.
Like birds affrighted,
like withered leaves before him they fly.
O beautiful, peaceful god,
See, Ariadne waits.
Ah, from all pains and miseries
must my heart be purified;
then you will nod to me,
your steps will reach my cave,
on my eyes there falls a darkness,
on my heart you'll lay your hand.
In the regal festal garments
that my mother wove for me,
I will wrap my weary body,
and this cave will be my tomb.
But my soul in solemn silence
follows its new-made lord,
like a leaf by winds driven
downward falling, gladly following.
On my eyes there falls a darkness,
darkness too will fill my heart,
and within this cave my body
richly robed alone will lie.
It is you who will save me,
my captive soul freed of
this burden of being.
Lift it from me.
To you I will lose all myself
with you will Ariadne dwell.

Submitted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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