Nenia

By Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805)   Nenia: A dirge of lamentation and praise of a deceased person, sung to a flute accompaniment by a hired mourner.
Named for Nenia, the goddess of funerary lamentation.



     

     

Also Beauty must perish! What gods and humanity conquers,
Moves not the armored breast of the Stygian Zeus.
Only once did love come to soften the Lord of the Shadows,
And at the threshold at last, sternly he took back his gift.
Nor can Aphrodite assuage the wounds of the youngster,
That in his delicate form the boar had savagely torn.
Nor can rescue the hero divine his undying mother,
When, at the Scaean gate now falling, his fate he fulfills.
But she ascends from the sea with all the daughters of Nereus,
And she raises a plaint here for her glorified son.
See now, the gods, they are weeping, the goddesses all weeping also,
That the beauteous must fade, that the most perfect one dies.
But to be a lament on the lips of the loved one is glorious,
For the prosaic goes toneless to Orcus below.




Posted by permission of the translator ~ 2009

Homepage Send us Mail