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August von Platen's ballad “Das Grab im Busento” mobilizes an old lyric trope, the comparison of poetic discourse with the flow of a river, to interrogate the philosophy of history and memory implicit in the ballad form. By telling the story of a river that covers and protects a king's dead body and his memory, the ballad reenacts and re-encodes the biographical circumstances of its inception: Platen signals the unspeakability of homoerotic love and the difficulty of its transmission by staging the story of a deliberate obfuscation of memory, thereby contravening the traditional relationship between ballad and memory. Since he casts a story of frustrated love as a report of a Germanic burial ritual, the ballad became an important element of literary nationalism in the nineteenth century—and as a poem that dealt with the impossibility of memorialization became one of the most frequently memorized.