Young Brahms played piano in a brothel parlor:
He watched the beery patrons go upstairs
And said, “Non olet,” pocketing his thaler,
But something nasty caught him unawares.
He never made it with a girl it seems;
His love was Clara Schumann, who had far
Too much to cope with to indulge his dreams—
Mad Robert flared out like a shooting star.

I couldn’t take to Brahms when I was young—
Too sentimental, learnèd, ponderous,
I thought. Now that I find I live among
Such damning adjectives myself, I’m less
Inclined to carp, and if the cap fits wear it;
Let’s hear your heartache, Brahms; yes, I can bear it.

A Message from the Editors

As a reader of our efforts, you have stood with us on the front lines in the battle for culture. Learn how your support contributes to our continued defense of truth.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 32 Number 6, on page 29
Copyright © 2021 The New Criterion |