Et la tristesse de tout cela, oh, mon âme …

Dagny Juel Przybyszewska

Go back…

She is standing by the grand piano, singing.

He is resting reclined, listening.

She is standing, singing inwards, drowning in this one, single emotion that elevates her soul into the heavens, into the sun. Time and space fade away in a glowing fog, past and present meet on the lofty peak of eternity.

And the melody spreads its wings and flutters dreamingly into space, searching, searching, then returns with a sigh.

Yet again it lifts its white wings, and as light as sundust it flies up between the stars and sits among them, an equal.

And now the melody spreads its broad wings and sails nobly over wide, wide oceans, over mountains and peaks, higher, higher, vertiginous, amnesiac, everything — now it flies into the sun!

The song has fallen silent. Pale she stands, casting him shy glances. She feels she has betrayed herself, sung herself nude. Her pain, her longings shot their arrows so far, far beyond him.

But he is not pale: “How brilliant you sang”, he says contentedly, “you have never hit B like that before.”

First published 1899. This translation is based on the text as published in 'Samlede tekster' (1996). July 2024. Contact info: