Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 3
Spring 2011

The Evening

Johannes Ewald

Translated from Danish by Thomas E. Kennedy

Shroud your splendor! Spare my heart
   this last trace of light!
Joy’s flash in clouds of dark
   but crushes my fragile might!
This Now which you do brighten
   will slay you — you, earth’s friend!
The dark hurries — death hastens —
   no Almighty makes it end!
Shroud you now — O! shroud your glee.
   Dilute it not with clouds of dun.
Wrapped in darkness I will weep,
   to my beloved’s foes will run.
In a groundless gloom be gone
   every glint that comforts me.
Merciless whirling storm
   deafen my wretched scream!

—Johannes Ewald (18 November 1743 – 17 March 1781; born and died in Copenhagen, Denmark.) Ewald has been called “Denmark’s greatest lyrical poet” as well as “the first modern poet in Danish literature.”

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury