Karl Marx

Wild Songs

Written: 1837;
First published: Athenaum, Zeitschrift fur das gebildete Deutschland, January 23, 1841;
Translated: by Alex Miller in consultation with Diana Miller and Victor Schnittke;
Source: Marx and Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 1, International Publishers, 1975.
Transcribed: by jim.esch@launchpad.unc.edu;

The Fiddler

The Fiddler saws the strings,
His light brown hair he tosses and flings.
    He carries a sabre at his side,
    He wears a pleated habit wide.

“Fiddler, why that frantic sound?
Why do you gaze so wildly round?
    Why leaps your blood, like the surging sea?
    What drives your bow so desperately?”

“Why do I fiddle? Or the wild waves roar?
That they might pound the rocky shore,
    That eye be blinded, that bosom swell,
    That Soul’s cry carry down to Hell.”

“Fiddler, with scorn you rend your heart.
A radiant God lent you your art,
    To dazzle with waves of melody,
    To soar to the star-dance in the sky.”

“How so! I plunge, plunge without fail
My blood-black sabre into your soul.
    That art God neither wants nor wists,
    It leaps to the brain from Hell’s black mists.

“Till heart’s bewitched, till senses reel:
With Satan I have struck my deal.
    He chalks the signs, beats time for me,
    I play the death march fast and free.

“I must play dark, I must play light,
Till bowstrings break my heart outright."
    The Fiddler saws the strings,
    His light brown hair he tosses and flings.

    He carries a sabre at his side,
    He wears a pleated habit wide.

Nocturnal Love

Frantic, he holds her near,
    Darkly looks in her eye.
"Pain so burns you, Dear,
    And at my breath you sigh.

“Oh, you have drunk my soul.
    Mine is your glow, in truth.
My jewel, shine your fill.
    Glow, blood of youth.”

“Sweetest, so pale your face,
    So wondrous strange your words.
See, rich in music’s grace
    The lofty gliding worlds.”

“Gliding, dearest, gliding,
    Glowing, stars, glowing.
Let us go heavenwards riding,
    Our souls together flowing.”

His voice is muffled, low.
    Desparate, he looks about.
Glances of crackling flame
His hollow eyes shoot out.

“You have drunk poison, Love.
    With me you must away.
The sky is dark above,
    No more I see the day.”

Shuddering, he pulls her close to him.
    Death in the breast doth hover.
Pain stabs her, piercing deep within,
    And eyes are closed forever.