translated by Franklin D. Lewis:
How could I know melancholia
Would make me so crazy,
Make of my heart a hell
Of my two eyes raging rivers?
How could I know a torrent would
Snatch me out of nowhere away,
Toss me like a ship upon a sea of blood
That waves would crack that ship’s ribs board by board,
Tear with endless pitch and yaw each plank
That a leviathan would read its head,
Gulp down the ocean’s water,
That such an endless ocean could dry up like a desert,
That the sea-quenching serpent could then split that desert
Could jerk me of a sudden, like Korah, with the hand of wrath,
Deep into a pit?
When these transmutations came about
Nod desert, not sea remained in sight
How should I know how it all happened
Since how is drowned in the Howless?
What a multiplicity of how could I knows!
But I don’t know
For to counter
The sea rushing in my mouth
I swallowed a froth of opium.