Sunday, December 23

Ariadne's Lament

Who will warm me, who loves me still?
Give warm hands!
Give the heart's brazier!
Prone, shuddering
Like one half dead, whose feet are warmed;
Shaken, alas! by unknown fevers,
Trembling at pointed arrows of glacial frost,
Hunted by you, Thought!
Nameless! Cloaked! Horrid!
You hunter behind clouds!
Struck down by your lightning,
Your scornful eye, glaring at me out of the dark!
Thus I lie,
Writhing, twisted, tormented
By all the eternal afflictions,
Struck
By you, cruelest hunter,
You unknown—god ...

Strike deeper!
Strike one more time!
Stab, break this heart!
Why all this affliction
With blunt-toothed arrows?
How can you gaze evermore,
Unweary of human agony,
With the spiteful lightning eyes of gods?
You do not wish to kill,
Only to torment, torment?
Why torment—me,
You spiteful unknown god?

Aha!
You creep closer
Around midnight? ...
What do you want?
Speak!
You push me, press upon me,
Ah, already much too close!
You hear me breathing,
You eavesdrop on my heart,
Most jealous one! —
What are you jealous of anyway?
Away! Away!
What's the ladder for?
Do you want inside,
Would you get into my heart,
And enter
My most secret thoughts?
Shameless one! Unknown! Thief!
What do you wish to steal for yourself?
What do you wish to hear for yourself?
What will you gain by torture,
You torturer!
You—executioner-god!
Or am I, like a dog,
To wallow before you?
Devoted, eager due to my
Love for you—fawning over you?
In vain!
It stabs again!
Cruelest sting!
I am not your dog, only your prey,
Cruelest hunter!
Your proudest prisoner,
You robber behind clouds ...
Speak finally!
You, cloaked by lightning! Unknown! Speak!
What do you want, highwayman, from—me?...

What?
A ransom?
What do you want for ransom?
Demand much—so advises my pride!
And talk little—my pride advises as well!

Aha!
Me?—you want me?
Me—all of me? ...

Aha!
And tormenting me, fool that you are,
You wrack my pride?
Give me love—who warms me still?
Who loves me still?
Give warm hands,
Give the heart's brazier,
Give me, the loneliest one,
Ice, alas! whom ice sevenfold
Has taught to yearn for enemies,
Even for my enemies
Give, yes, surrender to me,
Cruelest enemy —
Yourself! ...

Gone!
He has fled,
My only companion,
My splendid enemy,
My unknown,
My executioner-god! ...

No!
Come back!
With all your afflictions!
All my tears gush forth
To you they stream
And the last flames of my heart
Glow for you.
Oh, come back,
My unknown god! my pain!
My ultimate happiness! ....
(Dionysus Dithyrambs VII)

Even at that hour when the grey sky of St. Petersburg is shrouded in total darkness and all its race of officials have dined and sated the...