Sonnet 30 [from Homeward Bound – 1823-1824]
by Heinrich Heine
The pale half-moon of autumn
Through clouds peers doubtfully.
Within the lonely churchyard
The parsonage I see.
The mother reads in her Bible,
The son at the light doth gaze;
One drowsy daughter is nodding,
While another speaks and says:
“Ah me! how dreary the days are!
How dull, and dark, and mean!
Only when there’s a funeral
Is anything to be seen.”
The mother looks from her Bible:
“Nay, only four in all
Have died since thy father was buried
Without by the churchyard wall.”
Then yawns the eldest daughter,
“I will starve no longer here;
I will go to the Count to-morrow,
He is rich, and he loves me dear.”
The son bursts out a-laughing:
“At the ‘Star’ three huntsmen drink deep;
They are making gold, and they promise
To give me their secret to keep.”
Toward his lean face, flings the mother
Her Bible, in wrath and grief.
“Out! God-forsaken beggar,
Thou wilt be a common thief!”
They hear a tap on the window,
And behold a beckoning hand.
There in his sable vestments
They see the dead father stand.