6 December 1791. The night has come, Mozart…

The papers of divorce 

between the world and the genius

were deposited

in the common grave of the Vienna cemetery

on 6 December

1791,

there where,

to its glory,

the World

threw Mozart

under the  septic lime

of final oblivion.

And since then

the scene

has kept repeating. 

The night has come, 

Mozart…   

Mozart - portrait by Lange

He drew his last breath on the day of 5 December, at one in the morning, watched by his wife’s sister. His body was washed by loyal friends. They accompanied him when he left his house for the last time. It was them again who brought him to the Saint Stephen Cathedral, in a chapel in which he would wait for the religious ceremony – a simple one, according to the low fee of the third class funeral paid for by Baron Van Swieten. His wife had left the house a few hours after his death, “out of too much pain”, and would stay with friends for the next days. She didn’t keep vigil over his dead body, she didn’t follow him on his last journey. It was winter in Vienna, it was cold, it was almost night… God, what a terrible night of mankind!… One by one, the living abandoned the funeral convoy, and so by the time the hearse had passed the Stubenthor and reached the graveyard of St Marx, Mozart‘s lifeless body was being attended only by the driver of the carriage. By that time, in St Marx there had already been two pauper funerals. Mozart was the third. His body was deposited in the common grave, uppermost, by the gravedigger’s assistant and the driver of the hearst. Then came the night. 

Mozart left alone. He remained alone. His wife, “dearest, most beloved little wife”, as he would address  her in his letters, didn’t look for his grave for eleven years. Although her state of health seemed to have quickly improved, since only a few weeks after his demise she was already corresponding with a few well-known editors with a view of selling his manuscripts. And never again, after his death, was she in need to go to Baden for cures; she capitalized his musical inheritance, she remarried, she rewrote his life together with her second husband, and she outlived her first husband fifty years. 

None of his close friends, none of those who knew and loved his music and being, no one looked for his grave, not after one day, not after one month, not after one year. The regulations of the time indicated the deposition in a “common” grave according to the amount of money paid by the Baron, but they did not forbid the placing of a funeral stone on the cemetery wall. Neither Constanze Mozart nor his friends, nor the nobles he had ennobled with his feeling and creation, neither the Viennese who would hum his melodies in cafes, no one searched for him… No one felt the need to prove their respect and affection by marking the place where, on top of other bodies, he found his rest – he, the angel God had sent to the earth of humans who never understood and loved him in truth… 

Ten years after, the common grave was opened, the bones taken out, to make space for other mortals. This was what the third class funeral meant: a grave which confined more bodies together for ten years, and that was all. After ten years, a pile of bones, taken out to be deposited where?… we will never know. A higher class funeral would have meant a grave in the family’s property in the St Marx Cemetery. But it would have cost more: for his wife, for his close friends, for his admirers, for Vienna! And none of those who knew him, who were close to him, no one of those whom he had honored with the divine touch of his being, no one felt that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart deserved a funeral of a higher class. 

The papers of divorce 

between the world and the genius

were deposited

in the common grave of the Vienna cemetery

on 6 December

1791,

there where,

to its glory,

the World

threw Mozart

under the  septic lime

of final oblivion.

And since then

the scene

has kept repeating. 

The night has come, 

Mozart…   

Rest in peace, beloved friend! 

Mozart-Grab

“The night has come, Mozart…” © Claudiu Iordache – published with the author’s permission. 

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