What art thou, Mignon, child of mystery?
A woodbird e'en in galling fetters caught?
Dwelling apart in charmed reverie,
Crushed by the weight of undeveloped thought,
Thou seem'st some weird, sad spirit of the Past,
Guarding a secret life cannot unfold;
Yet was thy soul's calm rapture lily-pure,
Thy heart's fond treasures bright as rarest gold.
Dim pictures of soft skies and orange groves,
Of marble statues with their pitying gaze,
Lured thee to musing; while the cloudlets built
An airy path for thee amid the haze.
Sweet are thy songs of longing; thou didst dream
Of sunny isles where no rude questioner
Shall need to ask of man or woman more,
(*) Sie fragen nitch nach Mann
Goethe's Wilhelm Meister
And no unrest thy weary soul shall stir.
What depths of sorrow in thy dreamy life,
Around which Mem'ry wove a subtle chain;
Thy ev'ry gesture, ev'ry glance expressed
Intensity of yearning deep with pain,
Yet lit by Hope's illuminating smile;
Faith hov'ring over thee, thou phantom bright.
Shed gleams along thy tragic path, until
Thy spirit's wings unfolded in the Light.