I am cold and pale and the halls of the palace are silent. I am dying slowly…too slowly. The monotony is deadening. If only someone would sing to me! Music would drive away the doom that weighs on my chest. Even the moonlight streaming through the window is silent.

Where is everybody? They have all left me…. There is no one to wind up the mechanical nightingale. It is broken, anyway, and I am tired of its song. Where is the real bird? I chased her away. Where has she gone?

The Dying Emperor in The Nightingale, Hans Christian Andersen. Illustration by Edmund Dulac.

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