Sopor Aeternus And The Ensemble Of Shadows : Poetica

Dark Ambient / Germany
(2013 - Apocalyptic Vision)
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By a route obscure and lonely
Haunted by ill angels only
Where an Eidolon named night
On a black throne reigns upright
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule
From a wild clime that lieth sublime
Out of space out of time.
Bottomless vales and boundless floods
And chasms and cave and titans woods
With forms that no man can discover
For the tears that drip all over
Mountains toppling evermore
Into seas without a shore
Seas that restlessly aspire
Surging unto skies of fire
Lakes tha endlessly outspread
Their lone waters, lone and dead
Their still waters, still and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily.
By the lakes that thus outspread
Their lone waters, lone and dead
Their sad waters, sad and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily
By the mountains near the river
Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever
By the grey woods by the swamp
Where the toad and te newt encamp
By the dismal tarns and pool
Where dwell the ghouls
By each spot the most unholy
In each nook most melancholy
There the traveller meets aghast
Sheeted forms that start and sigh
As they pass the wanderer by
White-robed forms of friends long given
In agony to the earth and heaven.
For the heart whose woes are legion
'Tis a peaceful soothing region
For the spirit that walks in shadow
'Tis oh 'tis an Eldorado
But the traveller, travelling through it
May not dare not openly view it
Nevet its mysteries are exposed
To the weak human eye unclosed
so will its king who hath forbid
The uplifting of the fringer lid
And thus the sad soul that here passes
Beholds it but through darkened glasses.
By a route obscure and lonely
Haunted by ill angels only
Where an Eidolon named night
On a black throne reigns upright
I have wandered home but newly
From this ultimate dim Thule.


Gaily Bedight
A gallant knight
In sunshine and in shadow
Had journeyed long
Singing a song
In search of Eldorado.
But he grew old
This knight so bold
And o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.
And as his strenghth
Failed him at length
He met a pilgrim shadow
"Shadow", said he,
"Where can it be
This land of Eldorado"?
"Over the mountains
Of the moon
Down the valley of the shadow
Ride, boldly ride"
The shade replied
"If you seek for Eldorado"!
But he grew old
This knight so bold
And o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.


At midnight in the month of june
I stand beneath the mystic moon
An opiate vapor dewy dim
Exhales from out her golden rim
And softly drippind drop by drop
Upon the quiet mountain top
Steals drowsily and musically
Into the universal valley.
The rosemary nods upon the grave
The lily lolls upon the wave
Wrapping the fog about its breast
The ruin molders into rest
Looking like Lethe see the lake
A conscious slumber seems to take
And would not for the world awake
All beauty sleeps and lo where lies
Irene with her destinies who groaned within.
O, lady bright! can it be right-
This window open to the night?
The wanton airs, from the tree-top,
Laughingly through the lattice drop-
The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,
Flit through thy chamber in and out,
And wave the curtain canopy
So fitfully- so fearfully-
Above the closed and fringed lid
'Neath which thy slumb'ring soul lies hid,
That, o'er the floor and down the wall,
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!
Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear?
Why and what art thou dreaming here?
Sure thou art come O'er far-off seas,
A wonder to these garden trees!
Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress,
Strange, above all, thy length of tress,
And this all solemn silentness!
The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
Which is enduring, so be deep!
Heaven have her in its sacred keep!
This chamber changed for one more holy,
This bed for one more melancholy,
I pray to God that she may lie
For ever with unopened eye,
While the pale sheeted ghosts go by!
My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep
As it is lasting, so be deep!
Soft may the worms about her creep!
Far in the forest, dim and old,
For her may some tall vault unfold-
Some vault that oft has flung its black
And winged panels fluttering back,
Triumphant, o'er the crested palls,
Of her grand family funerals-
Some sepulchre, remote, alone,
Against whose portal she hath thrown,
In childhood, many an idle stone-
Some tomb from out whose sounding door
She ne'er shall force an echo more,
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin!
It was the dead who groaned within.

5. ALONE (PT. 1)

From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were, I have not seen
As others saw, I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow, I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone
And all I loved I loved alone.
Then in my childhood in the dawn
Of a most stormy life was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still
From the torrent or the fountain
From the red cliff of the mountain
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by
From the thunder and the storm
And the cloud that took the form
When the rest of heaven was blue
Of a demon in my view.


Lo! 'tis a gala night
Within the lonesome latter years
An angel throng bewinged, bedight
In veils, and drowned in tears
Sit in a theatre to see
A play of hopes and fears
While the orchestra breathes fitfully
The music of the spheres.
Mimes in the form of god on high
Mutter and mumble low
And hither and thither fly
Mere puppets they who come and go
At bidding of vast formless things
That shift the scenary to and fro
Flapping from out their condor wings
Invisible woe.
That motley drama, oh be sure
It shall not be forgot
With its phantom chased for evermore
By a crowd that seize it not
Through a circle that ever returneth in
To the self-same spot
And much of madness, and more of sin
And horror the soul of the plot.
But see, amid the mimic rout
A crawling shape intrude
A blood-red thing that writhes from out
The scenic solitude
It writhes, it writhes with mortal pangs
The mimes become its food
And seraphs sob at vermin fangs
In human gore imbued.
Out, out are the lights, out all
And over each quivering form
The curtain, a funeral pall
Comes down with the rush of a storm
While the angels all pallid and wan
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, "man"
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.

7. ALONE (PT. 2)



Lo! death has reared himself throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim west
Where the good and the bad
And the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
There shrines and palaces and towers
Time-eaten towers that tremble not
Resemble nothing that is ours
Around, by lifting winds forgot
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
No rays from the holy heaven come down
On the long night-time of that town
But light from out the lurid sea
Streams up the turrets silently
Gleams up the pinnacles far and free
Up domes, up spires, up kingly halls
Up fanes, up Babylon, like walls
Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers
Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers.
Up many and many a marvellous shrine
Whose wreathed friezes intertwine
The viol, the violet and the vine
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in air
While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down.
There open fanes and gaping graves
Yawn level with luminous waves
But not the riches there that lie
In each idol's diamond eye
Not the gaily-jewelled dead
Tempt the waters from their bed
For no ripples curl, alas!
Along that wilderness of glass
No swellings tell that winds may be
Upon some far-off happier sea
No heavings hint winds have been
On seas less hideously serene.
But lo! a stir in the air
The wave, there is a movement there
As if towers had thrust aside
In slightly sinking the dull tide
As if their tops had feebly given
A void within the filmy heaven.
The waves have now a redder glow
The hours are breathing faint and low
And when, amid no earthly moans
Down, down that town shall settle hence
Hell, rising from a thousand thrones
Shall do it reverence.




In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted
Once a fair and stately palace
Radiant palace, reared its head
In the monarch thought's dominion
It stood there
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair.
Banners yellow, glorious, golden
On its roof did float and flow,
This, all this, was in the olden time long ago
And every gentle air that dallied
In that sweet day
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid
A winged odor went away.
Wanderers in that happy valley
Through two luminous windows saw
Spirits moving musically
To a lute's well-tuned law
Round about a throne where sitting
In state his glory well-befitting
The ruler of the realm was seen.
And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing
And sparkling evermore
A troop of echoes whose sweet duty
Was but to sing
In voices of surpassing beauty
The wit and wisdom of their king.
But evil things in robes of sorrow
Assailed the monarch's high estate
(Ah, let us mourn! for never morrow
Shall dawn upon his desolate !)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.
And travellers, now, within that valley
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
And laugh but smile no more.


Take this kiss upon the brow
And, in parting from you now
Thus much let me avow
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night or in a day
In a vision or in none
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf tormented shore
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand
How few! Yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep
While I weep, while I weep
O god! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O god! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seen
But a dream within a dream?

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