Honor to woman! To her it is given
To garden the earth with the roses of heaven!
All blessed, she linketh the loves in their choir
In the veil of the graces her beauty concealing,
She tends on each altar that's hallowed to feeling,
And keeps ever-living the fire!
From the bounds of truth careering,
Man's strong spirit wildly sweeps,
With each hasty impulse veering
Down to passion's troubled deeps.
And his heart, contented never,
Greeds to grapple with the far,
Chasing his own dream forever,
On through many a distant star!
But woman with looks that can charm and enchain,
Lureth back at her beck the wild truant again,
By the spell of her presence beguiled--
In the home of the mother her modest abode,
And modest the manners by Nature bestowed
On Nature's most exquisite child!
Bruised and worn, but fiercely breasting,
Foe to foe, the angry strife;
Man, the wild one, never resting,
Roams along the troubled life;
What he planneth, still pursuing;
Vainly as the Hydra bleeds,
Crest the severed crest renewing--
Wish to withered wish succeeds.
But woman at peace with all being, reposes,
And seeks from the moment to gather the roses--
Whose sweets to her culture belong.
Ah! richer than he, though his soul reigneth o'er
The mighty dominion of genius and lore,
And the infinite circle of song.
Strong, and proud, and self-depending,
Man's cold bosom beats alone;
Heart with heart divinely blending,
In the love that gods have known,
Soul's sweet interchange of feeling,
Melting tears--he never knows,
Each hard sense the hard one steeling,
Arms against a world of foes.
Alive, as the wind-harp, how lightly soever
If wooed by the zephyr, to music will quiver,
Is woman to hope and to fear;
All, tender one! still at the shadow of grieving,
How quiver the chords--how thy bosom is heaving--
How trembles thy glance through the tear!
Man's dominion, war and labor;
Might to right the statue gave;
Laws are in the Scythian's sabre;
Where the Mede reigned--see the slave!
Peace and meekness grimly routing,
Prowls the war-lust, rude and wild;
Eris rages, hoarsely shouting,
Where the vanished graces smiled.
But woman, the soft one, persuasively prayeth--
Of the life that she charmeth, the sceptre she swayeth;
She lulls, as she looks from above,
The discord whose bell for its victims is gaping,
And blending awhile the forever escaping,
Whispers hate to the image of love!
Top Friedrich von Schiller Poems