The towering masses with their silent life
Brim up the air with riddles manifold,
Yet ask no maddening questions such as slay
A soul that seeks not for experience
But only for serenity in which
It may behold life's revelation clear.
See how these colours play among these cliffs,
How calmly dumb the bare expanses lie,
How twilight clothes the woods in green and blue;
This is the world in which Johannes' soul
Will rest and weave to-morrow's fantasies.
Johannes' soul shall feel within itself
The depths and distances of this its world;
And by creative powers this soul shall be
Delivered of its hidden energy
And make known that the world's enchantment is
Only appearance glorified by art.
Yet could Johannes ne'er accomplish this
Did not Maria through her love awake
With gentle soul-warmth forces in his soul.
I must acknowledge fate's wise leadership
In drawing me so closely unto her.
How short a time it is since I have known
That she is by my side; how closely knit
Hath been in these few weeks Johannes' soul
Into a living unity with hers.
As spirit she lives in me though far off;
She thinks within my thought when I call up
Before my soul the objects of my will.
(Maria appears as a thought of Johannes.)
Maria here before me! but how strange!
She must not thus reveal herself to me!
This stern cold spirit-face, this dignity
That chills my earthly feelings —
'tis not thus Johannes will or can Maria see
Draw nigh to him. 'Tis not Maria — this —
Whom by kind fate's decree wise powers have sent.
(Maria disappears from Johannes' vision.)
Where is Maria whom Johannes loved
Before she had transformed his soul in him
And led it up to ice-cold spirit-heights?
And where Johannes, whom Maria loved,
Where is he now? — He was at hand e'en now.
I see no more Johannes, who did give
Me back unto myself with joy. The past
Cannot and shall not rob me of him thus.
(Maria again appears before Johannes' vision.)
Maria as thou fain wouldst her behold
Lives not in worlds where shines the light of truth.
Johannes' spirit treads illusion's realm
By fantasy misled; set thyself free
From strong desire and its alluring power.
I feel in me the turmoil of thy soul;
It robs me of the calmness that I need.
'Tis not Johannes who directs the storm
Into my soul; it is another being,
O'er whom he was victorious in the past.
Now as a wraith it roams the spirit-plains; —
Once known for such, it straight will fade away.
That is Maria as she really is,
Who of Johannes speaks as he appears
To his own vision at the present time.
Long since into another form he rose
Than that which errant fancy paints for me
Because I am content to let my soul
Amuse itself with dreams in slothful ease.
But not yet doth this being hold me fast.
Escape from him I still can — and I will —
He often calls me to his side and strives
To win me for myself by his own powers —
Vet will I strive to free myself from him.
Long years ago he flooded my soul's depth
With spirit being; none the less to-day
No more do I desire to harbour him.
Thou stranger being in Johannes' soul
Forsake me — give me back my pristine self
Before thou didst commence thy work in me.
I would behold Johannes free of thee.
(Benedictus appears at Maria's side, equally as a thought
Johannes, heed the warning of thy soul;
The man who, flooding thee with spirit, rose
To be thy nature's primal energy,
Must at thy side still hold his faithful sway
And claim that thou transform his being's powers
Through thy will into human deeds. He must
Himself concealed, work out his task in thee,
That thou some day mayst reach what thou dost know
To be thy being's distant future goal.
Thy personal sorrow thou must bear through life
Fast locked within the chamber of thy soul.
So only shalt thou win thyself, if thou
Dost bravely let him own thee more and more.
as a thought of Johannes):
My holy earnest vow doth pour out strength,
Which shall preserve for thee what thou hast won.
Me shalt thou find in those cold fields of ice,
Where spirits must create light for themselves,
When darkness wounds and maims the powers of life.
Seek me within those cosmic depths where souls
Wrestle to win God-knowledge for themselves
By conquest that wins being from the void;
But never seek me in the realm of shades,
Where outlived soul-experience wins by guile
A transient life from out illusion's web,
And dream's frail phantoms can the spirit cheat;
So that in pleasure it forgets itself
And looks on serious effort with distaste.
(Benedictus and Maria disappear.)
She saith illusion ...
... yet 'tis passing fair.
It lives; Johannes feels in it himself,
He feels Maria's nearness in him too.
Johannes would not know how spirit works
To solve the riddles of the soul's dark depths.
He would create and would as artist work.
So may that part of him still lie concealed,
Which consciously would gaze on cosmic heights,