Book of verse--Karl Marx

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Early Works of Karl Marx: Book of Verse

Siren Song

A Ballad

The wave">


Early Works of Karl Marx: Book of Verse

Siren Song

A Ballad

The wave, soft murmuring,
With the wind frolicking,
Leaps up into the air.
You see it tremble, hover,
Tumble and topple over,
It is the Sirens' lair.

They pluck the lyre to enthrall
In heavenly festival,
In melody divine.
They draw both near and far,
Earth and distant star
    Into their song sublime.

Its charm is so profound
One cannot chide the sound
That soars so radiantly.
As if great spirits there
Would lure the listener
Into the dark blue sea.

As if there swells and grows
From waves a world that flows
Loftily, secretly.
As if in waters deep
The Gods are all asleep
     Down in the dark blue sea.

A little boat draws near,
The waves are charmed to hear
A gentle bard exalted,
His looks so frank and free,
Image and melody
     Like love and hope transfigured.

His lyre rules o'er the deep.
Naiads that were asleep
    Lend him their song-charmed ear.
And all the waves resound
With song and lyre's sweet sound
And dance high in the air.

But hear the sad refrains,
The Sirens' far-off strains
Of sweet melodiousness.
The poet to enthrall,
The Goddesses shine all
In sound and loveliness.

"O youth, soar up and play,
Rule o'er the listening sea;
The goal you seek is high,
     Your breast swells rapturously.

"Here, sumptuous water-halls
Your song alone surprises,
And as the great tide falls,
Ev'n so your music rises.

"Sportive waves bear it up
And send it surging high.
The eye, bright, full of hope,
Encompasses the sky.

"Enter our Spirit-Ring;
     Magic your heart shall gain,
Hear the waves dance and sing,
They sound like True Love's pain.

"Worlds came from the Ocean,
Spirits were borne on the tide
Which dared to cradle the High Ones,
While the All was void.

"As Heaven and star-glow
    Look downwards, ever glancing
Into the waves below,
     Into the blue waves' dancing--

"As droplets, shivering, shaking,
Enfold the Worlds in pride,
The spirits' life, awaking,
Emerges from the tide.

"Seeking the All inspires you?
     You'd burn in song away?
The lyre's sweet music stirs you?
     You'd blaze in Heaven's ray?--

"Then come down to us all,
And tender us your hand;
Your limbs shall Spirit be,
     You'll see the deep, deep Land."

They rise up from the sea,
Hair weaving in roundelay,
Heads resting on the air.
Their eyes flash blazing fires,
And, shooting sparks, their lyres
Glow through the waters fair.

The Youth yields to Delusion,
His tears flow in profusion,
     His heart pounds in his breast.
He cannot turn away,
Held captive in Love's sway,
To burning passion lost.

Deep thoughts stir in his soul,
It fights to gain control,
     Soars higher, ever higher,
Looks up with prideful bearing,
In God's own image daring,
And this the Sirens hear:

"In your cold depths below
Nothing that's High can go,
Nor God burn deathlessly.
You glitter but to ensnare,
For me you have no care,
Your songs are mockery.

"You lack the bosom's beat,
The heart's life-giving heat,
     The soul's high flight so free.
The Gods in my breast rule,
And I obey them all;
     I mean no treachery.

"You shall not captivate
Me, nor my love, nor hate,
Nor yet my yearning's glow.
It shoots like lightning shafts
That gentle power uplifts
In melodies that flow.

The Sirens all sink down
Before his blazing frown
     In weeping springs of light.
They seek to follow him,
But ah, the Flood so grim
     Engulfs them all from sight.