Hyperion's Song of Destiny

by Friedrich Holderlin

English version by James Mitchell
Original Language German

Holy spirits, you walk up there
     in the light, on soft earth.
          Shining god-like breezes
               touch upon you gently,
                    as a woman's fingers
                         play music on holy strings.

Like sleeping infants the gods
     breathe without any plan;
          the spirit flourishes continually
               in them, chastely kept,
                    as in a small bud,
                         and their holy eyes
                              look out in still
                                   eternal clearness.

A place to rest
     isn't given to us.
          Suffering humans
               decline and blindly fall
                    from one hour to the next,
                         like water thrown
                              from cliff to cliff,
                                   year after year,
                                        down into the Unknown.

-- from Poems of Friedrich Holderlin, by Friedrich Holderlin / Translated by James Mitchell

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