Madness (Poem by Rainer Maria Rilke)

the Old Poems

By Rainer Maria Rilke

She thinks: I am — Have you not seen?
Who are you then, Marie?
I am a Queen, I am a Queen!
To your knee, to your knee!

And then she weeps: I was — a child —
Who were you then, Marie?
Know you that I was no man's child,
Poor and in rags — said she.

And then a Princess I became
To whom men bend their knees;
To princes things are not the same
As those a beggar sees.

And those things which have made you great
Came to you, tell me, when?
One night, one night, one night quite late,
Things became different then.

I walked the lane which presently
With strung chords seemed to bend;
Then Marie became Melody
And danced from end to end.

The people watched with startled mien
And passed with frightened glance
For all know that only a Queen
May dance in the lanes: dance!...

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