Lately in a dream I saw on flowing waters
an oarless boat moving away,
stream and sky stood in faint embers
like at approaching or flying of day.

Sat boys in it, crowned with lotus-wreaths,
girls slimly overboard they bent,
circling through their rows I saw the gleams
of a bowl from which each one drank.

Now a song sounded out so sweet and wistfully
that the flock of wreathed companions sang,
I recognised thy neck’s humility,
thy voice that through the choir rang.

I dived into the wave so strangely cold.
Fright’ning chills into my bones it put.
I reached the gently gliding boat,
squeezed myself into the consecrated lot.

And it was thy turn to drink,
and the full bowl thou raisest to me,
and spokest with an intimate wink:
“Heart, forgetfulness I drink to thee!”

Away from thee in love’s wild heat
I wrenched the bowl, cast it in the flood,
it sank, and lo, thy cheek
coloured with a shine of blood.

Pleadingly I kissed thee in griefly harm,
thy pale mouth so willingly offerèd,
then thou melted away smiling in my arm,
and I knew it again – thou art dead.


Conrad Ferdinand Meyer (1825-1898)




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