Bohemian legends and other poems/Songs of the Heavens

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For other English-language translations of this work, see Cosmic Songs.



Oh, most beautiful summer night,
Enraptured my soul with thy light;
In the daytime ’tis suffocating,
But evening is invigorating.

From the vaulted heavens, the moon,
Heaven’s old father, very soon,
With silvery light all over the world,
Will shine, changing water to pearl.

Around him then his children small,
The little stars good-hearted all,
With their golden voices seem to say,
To-morrow will be a lovely day.


Believe me, the bright stars also feel pain,
Much, very much, troubles them sore
And they feel, and can condole with our pain,
In this tearful vale of sorrow.

They also have their work, around the sun,
Round, round they spin, and glide and shine;
About a hundred thousand miles they run,
Paid only by a span of life.

They also have to work themselves to death,
And martyrize their golden forms.
The bright haze we sometimes see is their breath,
Which we vaguely call falling stars.


All the bright, fiery stars,
That cluster round the moon.
Once flew away from the sun
To shine on our world like stars,
But they were cradled in the sun.

All the bright, fiery stars,
After their destined time,
Must fly away from our sky,
For the sun will be their grave,
And there the gleaming stars shall die.


The voice of the prophet said,
That all that live must also die.
Oh, yes, we know ’tis truth he said—
Before the world dies, we must die.

Whatever blooms will also fade—
What comes to earth, must from earth go—
The world’s poor knowledge, it will fade,
Like any white rose that doth blow.

And so the thought of death should not
Stab our poor weary human heart.
We live, and outlive, ’tis our lot
Examples to be, ’tis our part.

Before birth, we knew not the earth—
Nor know we now its secret power.
We cannot even know our earth—
What know we of God’s mighty power.

And should calamity overtake
Our world well, God is mighty still.
He still can save us for His sake,
All might is His, if He but will.

We know that we must die so live
That when we die our lowly grave
Be honored by the souls that live,
Let fame attend us to our grave.