The Outcast, from Alfred M. Williams, Studies in Folk-Song and Popular Poetry ( Folk Songs of Roumania)

Go not over the little bridge,

It is too old.

The trees that have been felled to the earth

And the birds that still would perch upon their boughs,

Must fly very close to earth.

Why do they ask me, „Is it thou?“

Nay, nay, I know of nothing;

No one has told me aught, yet all are afraid of me,

The stones upon the road shrink from my footsteps,

But I am wearier far than if I had trodden them,

I am always left alone, and yet I hear voices always;

My sleep is never disturbed, and yet I feel

As though I had never slept.

Know ye why I am weary, so very weary,

That if the grave should say to me, „Lie down

Here in my lap and rest“ I would bless the grave?

It is this: I carry one upon my shoulders,

I carry him onward ever, and feel his hands

About my throat, his breath upon my neck.

It is he that makes my step so heavy,

And drives me wild, too, with the sound of his voice,

It is he that drinks my sleep,

And when I ask him, „Whither shall I take thee

That I may carry thee no more?“

He points to the horizon.

He is as heavy as a widow’s heart.

I know, too, all his thoughts, and his thoughts burn me,

Because he thinks upon my sorrow.

And when we pass some hut, I say,

„Let us linger here awhile, this hut seemeth pleasant to me,“

But he answers, „Never a hut may open its doors to thee,“

And when I ask him, „Friend, art thou not yet weary?“

He answers, „I? I rest in thy weariness,

Refresh myself in thy sweat.“

Even on my own hearth

I can never set him down over against me,

He clings to my shoulders always—

I know not even his face.

Then I say to him, „Thou unknown one!“

And he answers me, „Thou accurst!“

Go not over the little bridge,

It is too old.

The trees that have been felled lie on the earth

And the birds that still would perch upon their boughs

Must fly very close to earth..

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