These do bring back memories. This one is still warm. What is it? The
recollections of a great lover? A catalog of conquests? We will soon
find out. You wouldn’t appreciate that, would you, Mr.
Whatever-your-name is? Not the sort of conquest you would ever
understand. Let’s see, a touch of unhappy childhood, a dash of teenage
rebellion, and last but not least, a tragic death in the family.
Ere true peace can embrace you-
God’s still and silent peace-
The peace life never giveth
Nor worldly joys beneath,
It needs God’s arm must strike
A blow and wound you deep,
So that you cry: Have mercy,
God, have mercy on my days;
It needs a cry must ring,
Ring from your soul
And darkness be within you
As ‘fore the world’s first day.
It needs that crushing pain
Must wholly vanquish you,
And not a lonely tear be left
In your poor wretched soul.
And when you’ve done with weeping
And weary art, so weary
Then comes to you a faithful guest
God’s still and silent peace.
A poem read to Dr. Daniel Paul Schreber by his wife during his stay at Sonnenstein Asylum recounted in his memoirs.