A translation of a Swedish poem by the artist Ernst Josephson (1851-1906),
set dramatically to music by Sibelius.
Why are you so melancholy,
you that always were so happy?
– I can not be merry any more,
for sorrow has brought me black roses.
There is in my brain a tree of roses
growing, that will never leave me any peace,
and there is a thorn by every stem
which constantly brings me much pain and ire,
since my sorrow brings me all black roses.
But there is a treasure out of roses,
white as death and red as blood,
that keeps on growing into me,
so that I certainly will perish,
since they keep on fretting at my heart
to fill it up and overwhelm it
with the plague of sorrows of black roses.