Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BABYLONIAN SORROWS, by HEINRICH HEINE



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BABYLONIAN SORROWS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I'm summon'd by death. I'd fain, my love
Last Line: Ere I myself from this earth can pass.
Subject(s): Babylon; Death; Grief; Sea; Dead, The; Sorrow; Sadness; Ocean


I'M summon'd by death. I'd fain, my love,
Have left thee behind in a wood to rove,
In one of those forests of firs so drear,
Where vultures build, and wolves' howlings we hear,
Where the wild sow fearfully grunts evermore,
The lawful spouse of the light-grey boar.
I'm summon'd by death. 'Twere better far
If I, where the stormy billows are,
Had had to leave thee, my wife, my child,
And straightway the northpole's tempest wild
The waters had flogg'd, and out of the deep
The hideous monsters that in it sleep,
The crocodile fierce and the shark, had come
With open jaws, and around thee swum.
Believe me, my child, Matilda, my wife,
That the angry sea, in its wildest strife,
And the cruel forest less dangers give
Than the city where we're now fated to live.
Though fearful the wolf and the vulture may be,
The shark, and the monsters dread of the sea,
Far fiercer, more furious beasts have their birth
In Paris, the capital proud of the earth.
Fair Paris, the singing, so gay in her revels,
That hell to the angels, that heaven to devils. --
That thee I must leave in this dungeon sad,
This drives me crazy, this drives me mad.

With scornful buzzing around my bed
The black flies come; on my nose and head
They perch themselves -- detestable race!
Amongst them are some with a human face,
And elephants' trunks (though small in span)
Like the god Ganesa in Hindostan.
In my brain I hear noises and heavy knocks,
It sounds as if they were packing a box,
And my reason departs, alas! alas!
Ere I myself from this earth can pass.





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