James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

May 9

The Death of Schiller

By William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878)

  • Johann von Schiller, the famous German poet and dramatist, died May 9, 1805.

  • ’TIS said, when Schiller’s death drew nigh,

    The wish possessed his mighty mind,

    To wander forth wherever lie

    The homes and haunts of human-kind.

    Then strayed the poet, in his dreams,

    By Rome and Egypt’s ancient graves;

    Went up the New World’s forest streams,

    Stood in the Hindoo’s temple-caves;

    Walked with the Pawnee, fierce and stark,

    The sallow Tartar, midst his herds,

    The peering Chinese, and the dark

    False Malay uttering gentle words.

    How could he rest? even then he trod

    The threshold of the world unknown;

    Already, from the seat of God,

    A ray upon his garments shone;—

    Shone and awoke the strong desire

    For love and knowledge reached not here,

    Till, freed by death, his soul of fire

    Sprang to a fairer, ampler sphere.