Book of verse--Karl Marx

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Early Works of Karl Marx: Book of Verse

Human Pride

When these stately Halls I scan
    And the giant burden of these Houses">


Early Works of Karl Marx: Book of Verse

Human Pride

When these stately Halls I scan
    And the giant burden of these Houses,
And the stormy pilgrimage of Man
And the frenzied race that never ceases,

Pulse's throbbing do I sense
    And the giant flame of Soul so proud?
Shall the Waves then bear you hence
Into Life, into the Ocean's flood?

Shall I then revere these forms
    Heavenward soaring, proud, inviolate?
Should I yield before the Life that storms
Towards the Indeterminate?

No! You pigmy-giants so wretched,
And you ice-cold stone Monstrosity,
See how in these eyes averted
Burns the Soul's impetuosity.

Swift eye scans the circles round,
Hastens through them all exploringly,
Yearning, as on fire, resounds,
Mocking through the vast Halls and away.

When you all go down and sink,
Fragment-world shall lie around,
Even though cold Splendour blink,
    Even though grim Ruin stand its ground.

There is drawn no boundary,
    No hard, wretched earth-clod bars our way,
And we sail across the sea,
    And we wander countries far away.

Nothing bids to stay our going,
Nothing locks our hopes inside;
Swift away go fancies fleeing,
    And the bosom's joy and pain abide.

All those monstrous shapes so vast
Tower aloft in fearfulness,
Feeling not love's fiery blast
    That creates them out of nothingness.

No giant column soars to Heaven
In a single block, victorious;
One stone on the other meanly woven
Emulates the timid snail laborious.

But the Soul embraces all,
    Is a lofty giant flame that glows,
Even in its very Fall
    Dragging Suns in its destructive throes.

And out of itself it swells
    Up to Heaven's realms on high;
Gods within its depths it lulls,
    Thunderous lightning flashes in its eye.

And it wavers not a whit
    Where the very God-Thought fares,
On its breast will cherish it;
     Soul's own greatness is its lofty Prayer.

Soul its greatness must devour,
In its greatness must go down;
Then volcanoes seethe and roar,
    And lamenting Demons gather round.

Soul, succumbing haughtily,
     Raises up a throne to giant derision;
Downfall turns to Victory,
     Hero's prize is proud renunciation.

But when two are bound together,
When two souls together flow,
Each one softly tells the other
     No more need alone through space to go.

Then all Worlds hear melodies
     Like the Aeolian harp full sighing,
In eternal Beauty's rays
     Wish and Soul's desire together flowing.

Jenny! Do I dare avow
     That in love we have exchanged our Souls,
That as one they throb and glow,
     And that through their waves one current rolls?

Then the gauntlet do I fling
     Scornful in the World's wide open face.
Down the giant She-Dwarf, whimpering,
Plunges, cannot crush my happiness.

Like unto a God I dare
    Through that ruined realm in triumph roam.
Every word is Deed and Fire,
    And my bosom like the Maker's own.