Sieben Lieder nach Walt Whitman

by Klaus Miehling

Word count: 689

1. Darest thou now, O Soul [sung text not yet checked]

Darest thou now O Soul,
Walk out with me toward the Unknown Region,
Where neither ground is for the feet
   nor any path to follow?

No map there, nor guide,
Nor voice sounding, nor touch of human hand,
Nor face with blooming flesh,
   nor lips, nor eyes, are in that land.

I know it not O Soul;
Nor dost thou -- all is a blank before us;
All waits, undream'd of, in that region,
   [that inaccessible land]1.

Till when the [ties loosen]2,
All but the ties eternal, Time and Space,
Nor darkness, gravitation, sense,
   nor any bounds, [bound]3 us.

Then we burst forth -- we float,
In Time and Space, O Soul, prepared for them;
Equal, equipt at last, -- 
   (O joy! O fruit of all!) them to fulfil, O Soul.

Authorship

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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Note: the indented lines have been broken off from the preceding lines so that parallel translations will be easier to see. This poem has five stanzas of three lines each.

1 W. Schuman: "the inaccessible land,/ The unknown region."
2 Bacon: "tie is loosened"
3 Bacon: "bounding"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

2. In clouds descending, in midnight sleep [sung text not yet checked]

In clouds descending, in midnight sleep, of many a face of anguish,
Of the look at first of the mortally wounded—of that indescribable look;
Of the dead on their backs, with arms extended wide,
   I dream, I dream, I dream.

Of scenes of nature, the fields and the mountains;
Of the skies, so beauteous after the storm — and at night the moon so unearthly bright,
Shining sweetly, shining down, where we dig the trenches and gather the heaps,
   I dream, I dream, I dream.

Long have they pass'd, long lapsed—faces and trenches and fields;
Long through the carnage I moved with a callous composure — or away from the fallen,
Onward I sped at the time—But now of their forms at night,
   I dream, I dream, I dream.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Look down, fair moon [sung text not yet checked]

Look down, fair moon and bathe this scene,
Pour softly down night's nimbus floods, on faces ghastly, swollen, purple;
On the dead, on their backs, with [their]1 arms toss'd wide,
Pour down your unstinted nimbus, sacred moon.

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1 omitted by Rands.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. O captain! My captain! [sung text not yet checked]

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
[The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:]1
    But O heart! heart! heart!
      O the bleeding drops of red,
        Where on the deck my Captain lies,
          Fallen cold and dead.

[O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
    Here Captain! dear father!
      This arm beneath your head;
        It is some dream that on the deck,
          You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
    Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
      But I, with mournful tread,
        Walk the deck my Captain lies,
          Fallen cold and dead.]1

Authorship

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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1 omitted by Neidlinger.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Tears [sung text not yet checked]

Tears! tears! tears!
In the night, in solitude, tears,
On the white shore dripping, dripping, suck'd in by the sand,
Tears, not a star shining, all dark and desolate,
Moist tears from the eyes of a muffled head;
O who is that ghost? that form in the dark, with tears?
What shapeless lump is that, bent, crouch'd there on the sand?
Streaming tears, sobbing tears, throes, choked with wild cries;
O storm, embodied, rising, careering with swift steps along the beach!
O wild and dismal night storm, with wind - O howling and desperate!
O shade so sedate by day, with calm countenance and steady pace,
But away at night as you fly, none looking - O then the unloosen'd ocean,
Of tears! tears! tears!

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

6. A clear midnight [sung text not yet checked]

This is thy hour, O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death, and the stars.

Authorship

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Portions of this text were used in Idyll by Frederick Delius.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

7. Gliding o'er all  [sung text not yet checked]

Gliding o'er all, through all,
Through Nature, Time, and Space,
As a ship on the waters advancing,
The voyage of the soul--not life alone,
Death, many deaths I'll sing.

Authorship

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]