|Evening Scene with Moon (1801) Abraham Pether|
"An dem Himmel herauf mit leisen Schritten
Kommt die duftende Nacht; ihr folgt die süße
Liebe. Ruhet und liebet!
Phöbus, der liebende, ruht."
Up in the heavens, night descends quietly, the smells of the night are fragrant, damp, refreshing. "Ruhet und Liebet!" repeated twice, for emphasis. Beloved Phoebus (Apollo, the sun) rests and loves. What is Der Abend about? Perhaps it's about sleep, offering an escape from toil. Yet it could also be about Death, the sleep from which you don't wake because you've gone on further. About 20 years ago I went to the funeral of someone my own age who died young after a long struggle. I'll swear the song was being played! Tactfully, I tried to ask. "Joni Mitchell" said someone. This year, as the world seems to be hurtling, hell bent, towards Armageddon, it's tempting to think on Lethe. But better to stay, struggle and fight back.