Oh the long nights of winter, executioners of my life!
Give me patience and let me sleep;
Your name alone makes my whole body
Sweat and shiver, so cruel are you to me.
Sleep, little as it is, cannot make my eyes
Droop with his wings; they are always open, and I cannot close
Eyelid on eyelid, can do nothing but groan,
Suffering, like Ixion, eternal torments.
Old ghost of the earth, and likewise ghost of hell,
You have kept my eyes open with a fiery chain
Wearing me out in my bed, deeply wounded by a thousand pricks:
To chase away my pains, bring me death –
Ah, death, the haven for us all, the comfort of men,
Come and bury my ills, I beg you with clasped hands.
With the depths of winter upon us, perhaps we can all identify with at least the first two-thirds of the poem! Unsurprisingly, there are no later revisions by the poet…