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THE STEPS OF THE COMMANDER, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: On the door a thick and heavy curtain
Last Line: "anna rises at your hour of death."

ON the door a thick and heavy curtain,
Through the window night mists peer.
What is left of all your hateful freedom,
Juan, now that you know fear?

Cold and lonely is the sumptuous bedroom,
Servants sleep in night profound.
Out of happy lands unknown and distant
You can hear the cock-crow sound.

What can that blest sound mean to a traitor?
Numbered now life's moments seem.
Donna Anna sleeps, hands crossed on bosom,
Donna Anna dreams a dream.

Whose the cruel features, hard and frozen,
That the looking-glass displays?
Anna, is the grave so sweet to sleep in?
Sweet to dream unearthly days?

Life is empty, bottomless, and senseless!
Now advance to battle, ancient Doom!
In reply, enamoured and triumphant,
Sounds a horn in snowy gloom.

Then flies swiftly, splashed by flames at night-time,
Silent, black, the owl-eyed motor on.
To the house, in darkness, the Commander
With unsounding heavy steps has gone.

Door is opened. From the frost enormous
Hoarse clocks striking in the nightly sky,
Clocks are striking.... "You asked me to supper.
Are you ready? Here am I."

To the cruel question comes no answer,
Comes no answer. Voices fail.
Dread is the rich bedroom at the dawn-hour;
Servants slumber, night is pale.

At the dawn-hour it is pale and chilly,
At the dawn-hour night's thick veil.
"Queen of Light! where are you, Donna Anna?
Anna! Anna!" Voices fail.

Only in the fearful mist of morning
Hours resound with their last breath,
"Donna Anna rises at your death-hour,
Anna rises at your hour of death."

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