Death Poems - Poems For Death - The Dance Of Death - Poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | Poem Hunter

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The Dance Of Death - Poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

THE warder looks down at the mid hour of night,
On the tombs that lie scatter'd below:
The moon fills the place with her silvery light,
And the churchyard like day seems to glow.

When see! first one grave, then another opes wide,
And women and men stepping forth are descried,
In cerements snow-white and trailing.

In haste for the sport soon their ankles they twitch,
And whirl round in dances so gay;
The young and the old, and the poor, and the rich,
But the cerements stand in their way;

And as modesty cannot avail them aught here,
They shake themselves all, and the shrouds soon appear
Scatter'd over the tombs in confusion.

Now waggles the leg, and now wriggles the thigh,
As the troop with strange gestures advance,
And a rattle and clatter anon rises high,
As of one beating time to the dance.

The sight to the warder seems wondrously queer,
When the villainous Tempter speaks thus in his ear:
"Seize one of the shrouds that lie yonder!"

Quick as thought it was done! and for safety he fled
Behind the church-door with all speed;
The moon still continues her clear light to shed
On the dance that they fearfully lead.

But the dancers at length disappear one by one,
And their shrouds, ere they vanish, they carefully don,
And under the turf all is quiet.

But one of them stumbles and shuffles there still,
And gropes at the graves in despair;
Yet 'tis by no comrade he's treated so ill
The shroud he soon scents in the air.

So he rattles the door--for the warder 'tis well
That 'tis bless'd, and so able the foe to repel,
All cover'd with crosses in metal.

The shroud he must have, and no rest will allow,
There remains for reflection no time;
On the ornaments Gothic the wight seizes now,
And from point on to point hastes to climb.

Alas for the warder! his doom is decreed!
Like a long-legged spider, with ne'er-changing speed,
Advances the dreaded pursuer.

The warder he quakes, and the warder turns pale,
The shroud to restore fain had sought;
When the end,--now can nothing to save him avail,--
In a tooth formed of iron is caught.

With vanishing lustre the moon's race is run,
When the bell thunders loudly a powerful One,
And the skeleton fails, crush'd to atoms.


Comments about The Dance Of Death by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  • Rookie Sakthi (6/30/2018 3:07:00 AM)

    It is full of own imagination nice I tharowly enjoyed. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 498,459 Points Edward Kofi Louis (12/18/2015 12:56:00 PM)

    First one grave; then Another! Nice work. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

Poems About Death

  1. 1. Let Me Die A Youngman's Death , Roger McGough
  2. 2. And Death Shall Have No Dominion , Dylan Thomas
  3. 3. Death Be Not Proud , John Donne
  4. 4. Death Is Nothing At All , Henry Scott Holland
  5. 5. Because I Could Not Stop For Death , Emily Dickinson
  6. 6. Nothing But Death , Pablo Neruda
  7. 7. A Refusal To Mourn The Death, By Fire, O.. , Dylan Thomas
  8. 8. Father Death Blues , Allen Ginsberg
  9. 9. A Poet's Death Is His Life Iv , Khalil Gibran
  10. 10. A Dream Of Death , William Butler Yeats
  11. 11. Death , Rainer Maria Rilke
  12. 12. An Irish Airman Forsees His Death , William Butler Yeats
  13. 13. The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner , Randall Jarrell
  14. 14. A Death Blow Is A Life Blow To Some , Emily Dickinson
  15. 15. Death Xxvii , Khalil Gibran
  16. 16. The Beauty Of Death Xiv , Khalil Gibran
  17. 17. After Death , Sara Teasdale
  18. 18. A City's Death By Fire , Derek Walcott
  19. 19. Death Wants More Death , Charles Bukowski
  20. 20. On The Death Of A Young Lady Of Five Yea.. , Phillis Wheatley
  21. 21. A Funeral Poem On The Death Of C. E. An .. , Phillis Wheatley
  22. 22. First Death In Nova Scotia , Elizabeth Bishop
  23. 23. The Death Of Joy Gardner , Benjamin Zephaniah
  24. 24. Death Leaves Us Homesick, Who Behind , Emily Dickinson
  25. 25. Go Down, Death , James Weldon Johnson
  26. 26. A Ballad Of Death , Algernon Charles Swinburne
  27. 27. Gacela Of The Dark Death , Federico García Lorca
  28. 28. On The Death Of That Most Excellent Lady, , Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
  29. 29. The Death Of The Hired Man , Robert Frost
  30. 30. A Thought For A Lonely Death-Bed , Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  31. 31. Holy Sonnet X: Death Be Not Proud , John Donne
  32. 32. Death Fugue , Paul Celan
  33. 33. I Have A Rendezvous With Death , Alan Seeger
  34. 34. On Death , Anne Killigrew
  35. 35. For The Anniversary Of My Death , William Stanley Merwin
  36. 36. On The Death Of Anne Brontë , Charlotte Brontë
  37. 37. Love &Amp; Fame &Amp; Death , Charles Bukowski
  38. 38. Death &Amp; Fame , Allen Ginsberg
  39. 39. Fugue Of Death , Paul Celan
  40. 40. If Death Is Kind , Sara Teasdale
  41. 41. On Hearing Of A Death , Rainer Maria Rilke
  42. 42. Death , Heinrich Heine
  43. 43. Absence Disembodies—so Does Death , Emily Dickinson
  44. 44. Death , William Butler Yeats
  45. 45. As At Thy Portals Also Death , Walt Whitman
  46. 46. On Death , Percy Bysshe Shelley
  47. 47. On The Death Of Rev. Mr. George Whitefield , Phillis Wheatley
  48. 48. An Elegy On The Death Of Kenneth Patchen , Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  49. 49. The Death Of The Flowers , William Cullen Bryant
  50. 50. A Death-Bed , Rudyard Kipling
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