Early Works of Karl Marx: Book of Verse

The Magic Harp

A Ballad

So strangely in the ear it sings,
Like thrilling harp, like trembling strings,
It wakes the Minstrel sleeping.
"Why beats the heart so fearfully,
What are those sounds, like harmony
Of Stars and Spirits weeping?"

He rises, springs from off his bed,
Towards the shadows turns his head
And sees the cords of gold.
"Come, Minstrel, step you up and down,
High in the air, deep in the ground,
Those strings you cannot hold."

He sees it growing, branching wide,
His soul is troubled deep inside,
The sound swells in the air.
He follows, and it lures him on,
By ghostly stairways up and down,
Here, there and everywhere.

He stops. A gate swings open wide,
A burst of music from inside
Would carry him away.
A Lyre in golden splendour bright
Sounds forth in song all day and night,
But no one's there to play.

It grips him like desire, like pain,
His bosom swells, his heart within
Beats high beyond control.
"The Lyre plays from my own heart,
It is myself, its pangs--the Art
That gushes from my soul."

In ecstasy he plucks the strings,
The sound trills high as mountain springs,
Dives booming, like the abyss.
His blood leaps wild, far swells his song,
Was never yearning's pain so strong,
He saw the world no more.