Song of the Mountain

By Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805)




The footbridge leads o'er the giddy crevasse,
Between life and death its transition,
Where giants are barring the desolate pass,
And threaten eternal perdition,
And lest thou the avalanche there shouldst awaken
Tread lightly the terrible path thou hast taken.

This bridge, how it hovers high over the land,
O'er the horrible chasm it transits,
It was not constructed by human hands,
There never was one who would chance it.
The torrent roars under it night and day,
Spews upward, but carries it not away.

Then there stands open a dreadful gate,
As if to the realm of the shadows,
But instead a laughing region awaits,
Spring and autumn conjoin in its meadows.
From the toils of this life and its endless travail
Would I flee into this delightful vale.

Four rushing streams to the lowlands are hurled,
We'll never know whence they're aborning,
They flow into all the four ways of the world,
Toward evening, north, mid-day, and morning,
Like the mother who gave them their noisy birth,
They flee forth to be lost in the ends of the earth.

Through the blue reaches two pinnacles rise,
So high o'er the world that we live in,
And dancing, in bright veils of mist, through the skies
Are the clouds, the daughters of heaven.
Up there they proceed in a lonely array,
With no earthly witness to view their display.

There sits a vivid, lofty queen
Upon a throne forever,
She wears upon her brow serene
A crown of diamond splendor.
An arrow of light from the sun is shot,
It gilds her indeed, but it warms her not.

Posted by permission of the translator ~ 2010
"For my father, the mountaineer, on his 80th birthday"

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