Novalis: Hymns to the Night

1 Before all the wondrous shows of the widespread space around him, what living, s entient thing loves not the all-joyous light -- with its colors, its rays and un dulations, its gentle omnipresence in the form of the wakening Day? The giant-wo rld of the unresting constellations inhales it as the innermost soul of life, an d floats dancing in its blue flood -- the sparkling, ever-tranquil stone, the th oughtful, imbibing plant, and the wild, burning multiform beast inhales it -- bu t more than all, the lordly stranger with the sense-filled eyes, the swaying wal k, and the sweetly closed, melodious lips. Like a king over earthly nature, it r ouses every force to countless transformations, binds and unbinds innumerable al liances, hangs its heavenly form around every earthly substance. -- Its presence alone reveals the marvelous splendor of the kingdoms of the world. Aside I turn to the holy, unspeakable, mysterious Night. Afar lies the world -sunk in a deep grave -- waste and lonely is its place. In the chords of the boso m blows a deep sadness. I am ready to sink away in drops of dew, and mingle with the ashes. -- The distances of memory, the wishes of youth, the dreams of child hood, the brief joys and vain hopes of a whole long life, arise in gray garments , like an evening vapor after the sunset. In other regions the light has pitched its joyous tents. What if it should never return to its children, who wait for it with the faith of innocence? What springs up all at once so sweetly boding in my heart, and stills the soft a ir of sadness? Dost thou also take a pleasure in us, dark Night? What holdest th ou under thy mantle, that with hidden power affects my soul? Precious balm drips from thy hand out of its bundle of poppies. Thou upliftest the heavy-laden wing s of the soul. Darkly and inexpressibly are we moved -- joy-startled, I see a gr ave face that, tender and worshipful, inclines toward me, and, amid manifold ent angled locks, reveals the youthful loveliness of the Mother. How poor and childi sh a thing seems to me now the Light -- how joyous and welcome the departure of the day -- because the Night turns away from thee thy servants, you now strew in the gulfs of space those flashing globes, to proclaim thy omnipotence -- thy re turn -- in seasons of thy absence. More heavenly than those glittering stars we hold the eternal eyes which the Night hath opened within us. Farther they see th an the palest of those countless hosts -- needing no aid from the light, they pe netrate the depths of a loving soul -- that fills a loftier region with bliss in effable. Glory to the queen of the world, to the great prophet of the holier wor lds, to the guardian of blissful love -- she sends thee to me -- thou tenderly b eloved -- the gracious sun of the Night, -- now am I awake -- for now am I thine and mine -- thou hast made me know the Night -- made of me a man -- consume wit h spirit-fire my body, that I, turned to finer air, may mingle more closely with thee, and then our bridal night endure forever.

never suspect it is thou. -.powerless. unable to go on or to turn back.As there I looked about me for help. and c . when. silent messenger of secrets infinite. bearing the key to the dwellings of the b lessed.Endless is the d uration of sleep. but everlasting and boundless is the dominion of the Night. my hope was melt ing away.lonely as never yet was lonely man.in the ma gic oil of the almond tree -. knowing nought of sleep but the shadow which. thou pitifully ca stest over us. that steppes t to meet them out of ancient stories.and the brown juice of the poppy. They feel thee not in the golden flood of the grapes -. the devoted servant of the Night. dissolved in pain. and I stood alone by the barren mound which in its narrow dark bosom h id the vanished form of my life -. opening the doors to Heaven. Fools alone mistake thee. and makest a heaven o f her lap -. Will the time never come w hen Love's hidden sacrifice shall burn eternally? To the Light a season was set. 3 Once when I was shedding bitter tears. -. They know not th at it is thou who hauntest the bosom of the tender maiden. driven by anxiety unspeakable -. and no longer anything but a conscious misery . Holy Sleep -.2 Must the morning always return? Will the despotism of the earthly never cease? U nholy activity consumes the angel-visit of the Night.gladden not too seldom in this earthly day-labor . in the twilight of the real Night.

like a tempest. runs free thr ough hidden ways to the region beyond. cheerful Light. impercepti ble to the ordinary sense. and i s swept back in storms.from the hills of my ancient bliss. extinguished life with an endless longing: -. 4 Now I know when will come the last morning -.and into me po urest joyous life -. and but one continuous dr eam. heavenly Slumber.afloat above remains what is earthly. springs in the dark bosom of the mound against whose foot breaks the flood of the world. but what became holy by the touch of love. the Beloved. I nto the distance swept by. The crystal wave.lung to the fleeting. newborn spirit. It was the first. it mingles with l ove asleep. out of the blue distances -.when sleep shall be without waking. unfathomable world -. where. On her neck I wel comed the new life with ecstatic tears. Still wakest thou. until the welcomest of all hours draws him d own into the waters of the spring -. into the abode of the Night -.then. In her eyes eternity reposed -. and the tears became a sparkling bond that could not be broken.when the Light no more scares away Night and Love -. The mound became a cloud of dust -.the sadness flowed together into a new. Night-inspiration. and with it my mourning -. over it hovered my unboun d. I feel in me a celestial exhaustion. which. and its Light. came a shiver of twil ight -. and looked across into the new land. that weary man to his labor -. like fragrances.but thou wilest me not away from Memory's moss-grown monume . he who has tasted it.and just since then I have held fast an eternal. he who has stood on th e mountain frontier of the world.truly he turns not again into the tumult of the world. the only dream -.the chains of the Light.I laid hold of her hands. Away fle d the glory of the world. and crushing was the cross. di dst come upon me -. Long and weariful was my pilgrimage to the holy grave.Thou. unchangeable faith in the heaven of the Night.and at once snapt the bond of birth -. ther e longs and loves and gazes across.tabernacles of peace.and through the cloud I s aw the glorified face of my beloved. On those heights he builds for himself tabernacles -.the region gently upheaved itself. int o the land where dwells the Light in ceaseless unrest. thousands of years.

victory-banner of our breed. thy resistance against the ancient. . be extinguished and die. Gladly will I stir busy hands. to outweigh the transports of Death? Wears not everything that inspires us t he color of the Night? She sustains thee mother-like.in boundless space thou wouldst d issolve.or was it she who gave to thy jewels a higher. Oh draw at my heart. With wild pangs I recognize thy distance from our h ome.praise the lustre of thy splendor -. what pleasure offers thy li fe. and flaming. everywhere behold where thou hast need of me -. a dearer weight? What delight. Yet in a few moments Then free am I. Life everlasting Lifts. and shalt. before thou wast -. her daughter. at me. Thou wouldst vanish into thyself -. I feel the flow of Death's youth-giving flood To balsam and ether Transform my blood -I live all the daytime In faith and in might And in holy fire I die every night.pursue unwearied the lovely harmonies of thy skilled handicraft -. if she did not hold thee fast. and blessed return. As yet they have not ripened. wave-like. Over I journey And for each pain A pleasant sting only Shall one day remain. Your lustre must vanish Yon mound underneath -A shadow will bring thee Thy cooling wreath. begot the universe. to hallow i t with love that it might be an ever-present memorial -.explore the balance of the forces and the laws of the wondrous pl ay of countless worlds and their seasons. so that thou g rewest warm.gladly contemplate the clever pace of thy mighty.to plant it with flower s unfading. full of ardent longi ng. Unscorchable stands the cross -. I Still may love on. fallen asleep. these thoughts divine -. That. And intoxicated In Love's lap lie. Thy rage and thy ravin g are in vain. I feel in me the close of thy activity -.heavenly freedom. glorious heaven. But true to the Night remains my secre t heart. and to her thou owest all thy glory. lum inous clock -. Draw till I'm gone.nt. love.as yet is the re small trace of our coming revelation -. if she swaddled thee not. Canst thou show me a heart eternall y true? has thy sun friendly eyes that know me? do thy stars lay hold of my long ing hand? and return me the tender pressure and the caressing word? was it thou did adorn them with colors and a flickering outline -. Truly I was. I gaze from its summit Down after thee.One day thy clock will point to the e nd of time. and then thou shalt be as one of us. and to creative Love.t he mother sent me with my brothers and sisters to inhabit thy world.

to sleep -The end. just like a harp's sigh. Rivers.the earth was boundle ss -.a loving. faint and thwarted. Broke lay the merry wave of human bliss On Death's inevitable. thousand-fold flame as the one sublimest thing in the worl d. and bea sts had human wits. So sang the song. Mysterious was the monster's pathless road. The ocean's dark green abyss was the lap of a goddes s. glorious race of gods. Cool shadow-floods o'er melting memory creep. Sweeter tasted the wine -. An aged giant upbore the bli ssful world. All races childlike adored the ethereal. 'Twas Death who broke the banquet up with fears. A gentle youth puts out his torch. With anguish. trees. into its sorry need. Whose rage no prayer nor tribute could requite. rocky cliff. A wrapt the spirit there in wild fright. Tossed by longing vain. glad-hearted men. and their kindred. in the sacred bosom of the se a. living Light. a horrible dream-shape -That fearsome to the merry tables strode. dire pain. Eternally from all things here disparted That sway the heart with pleasure's joyous flow. the all-enkindling. A gloomy oppression swathed their heavy souls -. over the widespread families of men an iron Fate ruled with du mb force.the abode of the gods and their home. and bitter tears. With daring spirit and a passion deep. flowers. motherly goddess upgrew in the full gol den sheaves -. comes light. Beyond the red hills of the morning. Fast beneath mountains lay the first-born sons of mother Earth.poured out by Youth-abundance -a god in the grape-clusters -. an eve r-variegated festival of heaven-children and earth-dwellers. . There was but one notion. Hel pless in their destroying fury against the new.Life rustled through the centuries like one spring-time.love's sacred inebriation was a sweet worship of the fairest of t he god-ladies -. unceasing woe -In a dull dream to struggle. In crystal grottos revelled a luxuriant folk. dwelt the sun.5 In ancient times. Divided from the loved ones who've departed. Did man ameliorate the horrid blight. Seemed all was granted to the dead below. From eternal ages stood its mysterio us structure. The gods themselves no counsel knew nor showed To fill the anxious hearts with comfort light.

the Imaginatio n. all-uniting angel-comrade. they did him homage with lustre and fragrance. and its all-transforming. Dry Number and rigid Measure bound it with iron chains. struggled t he growing man. foresaw.upturned toward the supreme face of the father. The pleasure-garden of the young race withered a way -.countless tears w ept his loved ones -. Filled with joy.buried with his own hand the old corpse in the abandoned hollow.up into more open. Yet once more he looked fondly at his mother -.and fell asleep. the soul of the world retired with all its earthly powers. The Night became the mighty womb of revelations -. and he fell asleep. there to rule unt il the dawn should break of universal Glory.delicately shape d from his dreams -.they drew over themselve s the veil of the Night. appeared the New World with a face never seen before -. The gods vanished with their retinue -.into it the gods went back -. and the rigid wonderlan d first froze. Into dust and a ir the priceless blossoms of life fell away in words obscure. and poured it out in fiery songs under the balmy sky.a son of the first virgin and mother -. Words inexhaustible and the most joyful tidings f ell like sparks of a divine spirit from his friendly lips. Ere long the most childlike souls. by tr ue love marvellously possessed.his heart intoxicated with t he sweetest love. and the good news sprang up with a thousand bran ches. The foreboding. Only a few days h ung a deep veil over the roaring sea. torn away from his beloved wor ld. and resting on the bliss-foreboding bosom of the sweetly so lemn mother. came a singer to Palestine.in ghastly fear the birth of the new world drew near. Hard he wrestled with the terrors of old Death -. Gone was wonder-wo rking Faith. . desolate regions. gathered about him.heavenly spirits heaved the an cient stone from the gloomy grave. With deifying fervor the prophetic eye of the blooming child beheld the years to come.Nature stood alone and l ifeless. His lovely mouth emptied the dark cup of unspeakable woes -.Still undeciphered lay the endless Night -The solemn symbol of a far-off might. Into the deeper sanctuary. A sign of comfort in the dusky gloom For high humanity. Pulls us forward with sweet yearning now. In everlasting life death found its goal. a joyful start. he clomb the limits of the new -born world -.the mystery was unsealed -. and gave up his who le heart to the wonder-child: The youth thou art who ages long hast stood Upon our graves. From a far shore. A cold north wind blew unkindly over the rigid plain. and his trembling friends.He died in his youth. No longer was the Light the abode o f the gods. over the quaking land -. his precious life was made a sacrifice for the deep fall of man -. The old world began to decline. Among the people who too early were become of all the most scornful and insolently estranged from the blessed innocence of youth. from his weeping mother. the singer went on to Hindustan -.awoken in new Godlike glory.A star showed the way to the humble cradle of the king. th e beloved offspring of his divine stem. In solitude the heavenly he art unfolded to a flower-chalice of almighty love -. the highest wonders of Nature. The far depths of heaven filled with glowing worlds.Heavy lay the weigh t of the old world upon him. Like flowers sprang up a str ange new life in his presence.the n came the releasing hand of eternal love. and the heavenly token of their presence -. In the name of the distant future. rich-blossoming wisdom of the East at once recognized the beginning of the new age -. so that a thousand hearts bowed to him.in the poverty of a poetic shelter -. to go abroad in new and more glorious shapes over the transfigured world. then evaporated into ether.the eternal fruit o f mysterious embrace. forsaking his childhood. into the more exalted region of feeli ng. What dropped us all into abyssmal woe. Angels sat by the Sleeper -. bor n under the clear sky of Hellas. For thou art Death who at last makes us whole. so deeply lost in thought. Soon after the singer's departure. untroubled over the earthly lot of his own days.

Yet weep thy loved ones tears of joy.she was the first with thee in the new home. . To soothe and quiet his longing.and with a hand almighty laid upon it a stone which no power shall ever again up heave. and themselves w ith thee -. serving in the temple of heavenly Death. O Mary A thousand hearts aspire. uttering words plucked as from the Tree of Life. And vanished is our prison.joyously startled. filled with faith and longing and fidelity -. and in ever-increasing splendor have stirred your new creation -. away from pangs a nd tortures. tears of feeling and endless thanksgiving over your grave -. into thy father's arms. To never go out again. To the marriage Death doth call -The virgins standeth back -The lamps burn lustrous all -Of oil there is no lack -If the distance would only fill With the sound of you walking alone And that the stars would call Us all with human tongues and tone. From none can it be taken away. Helpful thou hast appeared To so many in pain. and forever thine. see thee hasten.behold thee weep with sweet fervor on the blessed bosom of thy mothe r. and the inexhaustible cup of the golden future. bearing with th ee youthful humanity. So many who are consumed At last from this world turning To thee have looked and fled. full of longing. With bitter torment burning. Soon the m other hastened after thee -. The gift of Love they keep.walkin g about with thee and the heavenly virgin in the kingdom of love. For Earth and Life give way At the last and final supper. O holy being Could clasp them to thy breast. Night comes and inspires -Heaven's children round him thronging Watch and guard his heart. In this life of shadows Thee only they desire. solemnly walking with thy friends. All troubles flee away Thy golden bowl before. At no grave can weep Any who love and pray. Now to them we come. followed thee. In thee they hope for delivery With visionary expectation -If only thou. Since then. Unto thee.in heavenly triumph -. long ages have flowed past. Uplifted is the stone -And all mankind is risen -We all remain thine own. they see thee rise again.and thousands have.

And as stars we will shine. The whole life heaves and surges Like a sea without a shore. Our sense becomes transfigured. Swift in the narrow little boat. Swift to the heavenly shore we float. for life is striding To endless life along. And blessed the endless slumber.Have courage. We are heated by the day too bright. And we now want our Father's home. Just one night of bliss -One everlasting poem -And the sun we all share Is the face of God. One day the stars above Shall flow in golden wine. Sign of glad departure. We're weary of a life abroad. . We will enjoy it all. Blessed be the everlasting Night. Death's pains are but a bursting forth. 6 Longing for Death Into the bosom of the earth. Stretched by inner fire. The love is given freely. And withered up with care. Out of the Light's dominion. And Separation is no more.

The Past. What yet doth hinder our return To loved ones long reposed? Their grave limits our lives. our grief resembling. through both life and pleasure spake. Yet many a heart for love did break. Our loved ones yearn as well as we. . Man's strain did burgeon glorious. Fear and torture patiently he bore So that he would be loved forever. And. And children. where to the flow of youth God still showed himself. The Past wherein. Down to the sweet bride. We can search for nothing more -The heart is full. Have courage. A dream will dash our chains apart. Thrills through us a sweet trembling -As if from far there echoed thus A sigh. with high sense. And truly to an early death Did commit his sweet life. and away To the beloved Jesus. With this world's water never we Shall find our hot thirst quenched. And the new may perish also. And sent to us this longing breeze. To our old home we have to go That blessed time again to know. The Past where the light of the senses In lofty flames did rise. With anxious yearning now we see That Past in darkness drenched. Infinite and mysterious. Alone he stands and sore downcast Who loves with pious warmth the Past. the world is void. And lay us in the Father's lap. We are all sad and afraid. evening shades grow gray To those who love and grieve. still rich in bloom. Sought pain and death victorious. And. Where the Father's face and hand All men did recognize. for the world to come.What in this world should we all Do with love and with faith? That which is old is set aside. in simplicity Many still fit the original pattern.

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