The Nacreous Oughts

17 May 2008

    Ihr alten bilder schlummert mit den toten

You ancient visions with the dead have vanished,
I lack the strength to conjure you again,
Since from the true dominions I was banished,
I now wil taste the splendor tinged with bane.

By rumors of enchantment I am stricken:
The meadows of an azure vale reveal
How herons white and rosy-colored quicken
The nearby lake that sleeps and shines as steel.

There, as in symmetry of chords she paces,
Her upward pointed finger lifts and takes
The shrouding garment by its silken laces,
That in the night she wove of willow flakes.

O subtle play divined behind these veilings!
My senses wrought the fancy we were paired,
Before through vines that screen with bloomy trailings
Down to the nearby lake she slowly fared.

--Stefan George (tr Valhope & Morwitz)

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