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Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |

THE DANCE OF DEATH

 THE warder looks down at the mid hour of night,

On the tombs that lie scatter'd below:
The moon fills the place with her silvery light,

And the churchyard like day seems to glow.
When see! first one grave, then another opes wide, And women and men stepping forth are descried, In cerements snow-white and trailing.
In haste for the sport soon their ankles they twitch, And whirl round in dances so gay; The young and the old, and the poor, and the rich, But the cerements stand in their way; And as modesty cannot avail them aught here, They shake themselves all, and the shrouds soon appear Scatter'd over the tombs in confusion.
Now waggles the leg, and now wriggles the thigh, As the troop with strange gestures advance, And a rattle and clatter anon rises high, As of one beating time to the dance.
The sight to the warder seems wondrously queer, When the villainous Tempter speaks thus in his ear: "Seize one of the shrouds that lie yonder!" Quick as thought it was done! and for safety he fled Behind the church-door with all speed; The moon still continues her clear light to shed On the dance that they fearfully lead.
But the dancers at length disappear one by one, And their shrouds, ere they vanish, they carefully don, And under the turf all is quiet.
But one of them stumbles and shuffles there still, And gropes at the graves in despair; Yet 'tis by no comrade he's treated so ill The shroud he soon scents in the air.
So he rattles the door--for the warder 'tis well That 'tis bless'd, and so able the foe to repel, All cover'd with crosses in metal.
The shroud he must have, and no rest will allow, There remains for reflection no time; On the ornaments Gothic the wight seizes now, And from point on to point hastes to climb.
Alas for the warder! his doom is decreed! Like a long-legged spider, with ne'er-changing speed, Advances the dreaded pursuer.
The warder he quakes, and the warder turns pale, The shroud to restore fain had sought; When the end,--now can nothing to save him avail,-- In a tooth formed of iron is caught.
With vanishing lustre the moon's race is run, When the bell thunders loudly a powerful One, And the skeleton fails, crush'd to atoms.
1813.

Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |

TO THE CHOSEN ONE

 HAND in hand! and lip to lip!

Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |

NOVEMBER SONG

 To the great archer--not to him

To meet whom flies the sun,
And who is wont his features dim

With clouds to overrun--

But to the boy be vow'd these rhymes,

Who 'mongst the roses plays,
Who hear us, and at proper times

To pierce fair hearts essays.
Through him the gloomy winter night, Of yore so cold and drear, Brings many a loved friend to our sight, And many a woman dear.
Henceforward shall his image fair Stand in yon starry skies, And, ever mild and gracious there, Alternate set and rise.
1815.
*

Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |

THE BRIDE OF CORINTH

 [First published in Schiller's Horen, in connection 
with a
friendly contest in the art of ballad-writing between the two
great poets, to which many of their finest works are owing.
] ONCE a stranger youth to Corinth came, Who in Athens lived, but hoped that he From a certain townsman there might claim, As his father's friend, kind courtesy.
Son and daughter, they Had been wont to say Should thereafter bride and bridegroom be.
But can he that boon so highly prized, Save tis dearly bought, now hope to get? They are Christians and have been baptized, He and all of his are heathens yet.
For a newborn creed, Like some loathsome weed, Love and truth to root out oft will threat.
Father, daughter, all had gone to rest, And the mother only watches late; She receives with courtesy the guest, And conducts him to the room of state.
Wine and food are brought, Ere by him besought; Bidding him good night.
she leaves him straight.
But he feels no relish now, in truth, For the dainties so profusely spread; Meat and drink forgets the wearied youth, And, still dress'd, he lays him on the bed.
Scarce are closed his eyes, When a form in-hies Through the open door with silent tread.
By his glimmering lamp discerns he now How, in veil and garment white array'd, With a black and gold band round her brow, Glides into the room a bashful maid.
But she, at his sight, Lifts her hand so white, And appears as though full sore afraid.
"Am I," cries she, "such a stranger here, That the guest's approach they could not name? Ah, they keep me in my cloister drear, Well nigh feel I vanquish'd by my shame.
On thy soft couch now Slumber calmly thou! I'll return as swiftly as I came.
" "Stay, thou fairest maiden!" cries the boy, Starting from his couch with eager haste: "Here are Ceres', Bacchus' gifts of joy; Amor bringest thou, with beauty grac'd! Thou art pale with fear! Loved one let us here Prove the raptures the Immortals taste.
" "Draw not nigh, O Youth! afar remain! Rapture now can never smile on me; For the fatal step, alas! is ta'en, Through my mother's sick-bed phantasy.
Cured, she made this oath: 'Youth and nature both Shall henceforth to Heav'n devoted be.
' "From the house, so silent now, are driven All the gods who reign'd supreme of yore; One Invisible now rules in heaven, On the cross a Saviour they adore.
Victims slay they here, Neither lamb nor steer, But the altars reek with human gore.
" And he lists, and ev'ry word he weighs, While his eager soul drinks in each sound: "Can it be that now before my gaze Stands my loved one on this silent ground? Pledge to me thy troth! Through our father's oath: With Heav'ns blessing will our love be crown'd.
" "Kindly youth, I never can be thine! 'Tis my sister they intend for thee.
When I in the silent cloister pine, Ah, within her arms remember me! Thee alone I love, While love's pangs I prove; Soon the earth will veil my misery.
" "No! for by this glowing flame I swear, Hymen hath himself propitious shown: Let us to my fathers house repair, And thoult find that joy is not yet flown, Sweetest, here then stay, And without delay Hold we now our wedding feast alone!" Then exchange they tokens of their truth; She gives him a golden chain to wear, And a silver chalice would the youth Give her in return of beauty rare.
"That is not for me; Yet I beg of thee, One lock only give me of thy hair.
" Now the ghostly hour of midnight knell'd, And she seem'd right joyous at the sign; To her pallid lips the cup she held, But she drank of nought but blood-red wine.
For to taste the bread There before them spread, Nought he spoke could make the maid incline.
To the youth the goblet then she brought,-- He too quaff'd with eager joy the bowl.
Love to crown the silent feast he sought, Ah! full love-sick was the stripling's soul.
From his prayer she shrinks, Till at length he sinks On the bed and weeps without control.
And she comes, and lays her near the boy: "How I grieve to see thee sorrowing so! If thou think'st to clasp my form with joy, Thou must learn this secret sad to know; Yes! the maid, whom thou Call'st thy loved one now, Is as cold as ice, though white as snow.
" Then he clasps her madly in his arm, While love's youthful might pervades his frame: "Thou might'st hope, when with me, to grow warm, E'en if from the grave thy spirit came! Breath for breath, and kiss! Overflow of bliss! Dost not thou, like me, feel passion's flame?" Love still closer rivets now their lips, Tears they mingle with their rapture blest, From his mouth the flame she wildly sips, Each is with the other's thought possess'd.
His hot ardour's flood Warms her chilly blood, But no heart is beating in her breast.
In her care to see that nought went wrong, Now the mother happen'd to draw near; At the door long hearkens she, full long, Wond'ring at the sounds that greet her ear.
Tones of joy and sadness, And love's blissful madness, As of bride and bridegroom they appear, From the door she will not now remove 'Till she gains full certainty of this; And with anger hears she vows of love, Soft caressing words of mutual bliss.
"Hush! the cock's loud strain! But thoult come again, When the night returns!"--then kiss on kiss.
Then her wrath the mother cannot hold, But unfastens straight the lock with ease "In this house are girls become so bold, As to seek e'en strangers' lusts to please?" By her lamp's clear glow Looks she in,--and oh! Sight of horror!--'tis her child she sees.
Fain the youth would, in his first alarm, With the veil that o'er her had been spread, With the carpet, shield his love from harm; But she casts them from her, void of dread, And with spirit's strength, In its spectre length, Lifts her figure slowly from the bed.
"Mother! mother!"--Thus her wan lips say: "May not I one night of rapture share? From the warm couch am I chased away? Do I waken only to despair? It contents not thee To have driven me An untimely shroud of death to wear? "But from out my coffin's prison-bounds By a wond'rous fate I'm forced to rove, While the blessings and the chaunting sounds That your priests delight in, useless prove.
Water, salt, are vain Fervent youth to chain, Ah, e'en Earth can never cool down love! "When that infant vow of love was spoken, Venus' radiant temple smiled on both.
Mother! thou that promise since hast broken, Fetter'd by a strange, deceitful oath.
Gods, though, hearken ne'er, Should a mother swear To deny her daughter's plighted troth.
From my grave to wander I am forc'd, Still to seek The Good's long-sever'd link, Still to love the bridegroom I have lost, And the life-blood of his heart to drink; When his race is run, I must hasten on, And the young must 'neath my vengeance sink, "Beauteous youth! no longer mayst thou live; Here must shrivel up thy form so fair; Did not I to thee a token give, Taking in return this lock of hair? View it to thy sorrow! Grey thoult be to-morrow, Only to grow brown again when there.
"Mother, to this final prayer give ear! Let a funeral pile be straightway dress'd; Open then my cell so sad and drear, That the flames may give the lovers rest! When ascends the fire From the glowing pyre, To the gods of old we'll hasten, blest.
" 1797.

Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |

CELEBRITY

 [A satire on his own Sorrows of Werther.
] ON bridges small and bridges great Stands Nepomucks in ev'ry state, Of bronze, wood, painted, or of stone, Some small as dolls, some giants grown; Each passer must worship before Nepomuck, Who to die on a bridge chanced to have the ill luck, When once a man with head and ears A saint in people's eyes appears, Or has been sentenced piteously Beneath the hangman's hand to die, He's as a noted person prized, In portrait is immortalized.
Engravings, woodcuts, are supplied, And through the world spread far and wide.
Upon them all is seen his name, And ev'ry one admits his claim; Even the image of the Lord Is not with greater zeal ador'd.
Strange fancy of the human race! Half sinner frail, half child of grace We see HERR WERTHER of the story In all the pomp of woodcut glory.
His worth is first made duly known, By having his sad features shown At ev'ry fair the country round; In ev'ry alehouse too they're found.
His stick is pointed by each dunce "The ball would reach his brain at once!" And each says, o'er his beer and bread: "Thank Heav'n that 'tis not we are dead!" 1815.
*

Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |

THE FAITHLESS BOY

 THERE was a wooer blithe and gay,

A son of France was he,--
Who in his arms for many a day,

As though his bride were she,
A poor young maiden had caress'd,
And fondly kiss'd, and fondly press'd,

And then at length deserted.
When this was told the nut-brown maid, Her senses straightway fled; She laugh'd and wept, and vow'd and pray'd, And presently was dead.
The hour her soul its farewell took, The boy was sad, with terror shook, Then sprang upon his charger.
He drove his spurs into his side, And scour'd the country round; But wheresoever he might ride, No rest for him was found.
For seven long days and nights he rode, It storm'd, the waters overflow'd, It bluster'd, lighten'd, thunder'd.
On rode he through the tempest's din, Till he a building spied; In search of shelter crept he in, When he his steed had tied.
And as he groped his doubtful way, The ground began to rock and sway,-- He fell a hundred fathoms.
When he recover'd from the blow, He saw three lights pass by; He sought in their pursuit to go, The lights appear'd to fly.
They led his footsteps all astray, Up, down, through many a narrow way Through ruin'd desert cellars.
When lo! he stood within a hall, With hollow eyes.
and grinning all; They bade him taste the fare.
A hundred guests sat there.
He saw his sweetheart 'midst the throng, Wrapp'd up in grave-clothes white and long; She turn'd, and----* 1774.
(* This ballad is introduced in Act II.
of Claudine of Villa Bella, where it is suddenly broken off, as it is here.
)

Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |

FOOD IN TRAVEL

 IF to her eyes' bright lustre I were blind,

No longer would they serve my life to gild.
The will of destiny must be fulfilid,-- This knowing, I withdrew with sadden'd mind.
No further happiness I now could find: The former longings of my heart were still'd; I sought her looks alone, whereon to build My joy in life,--all else was left behind.
Wine's genial glow, the festal banquet gay, Ease, sleep, and friends, all wonted pleasures glad I spurn'd, till little there remain'd to prove.
Now calmly through the world I wend my way: That which I crave may everywhere be had, With me I bring the one thing needful--love.
1807?8.

Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |

THE BLISS OF ABSENCE

 DRINK, oh youth, joy's purest ray
From thy loved one's eyes all day,

And her image paint at night!
Better rule no lover knows,
Yet true rapture greater grows,

When far sever'd from her sight.
Powers eternal, distance, time, Like the might of stars sublime, Gently rock the blood to rest, O'er my senses softness steals, Yet my bosom lighter feels, And I daily am more blest.
Though I can forget her ne'er, Yet my mind is free from care, I can calmly live and move; Unperceived infatuation Longing turns to adoration, Turns to reverence my love.
Ne'er can cloud, however light, Float in ether's regions bright, When drawn upwards by the sun, As my heart in rapturous calm.
Free from envy and alarm, Ever love I her alone! 1767-9.

Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |

THREE ODES TO MY FRIEND

 THESE are the most singular of all the Poems 
of Goethe, and to many will appear so wild and fantastic, as to 
leave anything but a pleasing impression.
Those at the beginning, addressed to his friend Behrisch, were written at the age of eighteen, and most of the remainder were composed while he was still quite young.
Despite, however, the extravagance of some of them, such as the Winter Journey over the Hartz Mountains, and the Wanderer's Storm-Song, nothing can be finer than the noble one entitled Mahomet's Song, and others, such as the Spirit Song' over the Waters, The God-like, and, above all, the magnificent sketch of Prometheus, which forms part of an unfinished piece bearing the same name, and called by Goethe a 'Dramatic Fragment.
' TO MY FRIEND.
[These three Odes are addressed to a certain Behrisch, who was tutor to Count Lindenau, and of whom Goethe gives an odd account at the end of the Seventh Book of his Autobiography.
] FIRST ODE.
TRANSPLANT the beauteous tree! Gardener, it gives me pain; A happier resting-place Its trunk deserved.
Yet the strength of its nature To Earth's exhausting avarice, To Air's destructive inroads, An antidote opposed.
See how it in springtime Coins its pale green leaves! Their orange-fragrance Poisons each flyblow straight.
The caterpillar's tooth Is blunted by them; With silv'ry hues they gleam In the bright sunshine, Its twigs the maiden Fain would twine in Her bridal-garland; Youths its fruit are seeking.
See, the autumn cometh! The caterpillar Sighs to the crafty spider,-- Sighs that the tree will not fade.
Hov'ring thither From out her yew-tree dwelling, The gaudy foe advances Against the kindly tree, And cannot hurt it, But the more artful one Defiles with nauseous venom Its silver leaves; And sees with triumph How the maiden shudders, The youth, how mourns he, On passing by.
Transplant the beauteous tree! Gardener, it gives me pain; Tree, thank the gardener Who moves thee hence! 1767.
SECOND ODE.
THOU go'st! I murmur-- Go! let me murmur.
Oh, worthy man, Fly from this land! Deadly marshes, Steaming mists of October Here interweave their currents, Blending for ever.
Noisome insects Here are engender'd; Fatal darkness Veils their malice.
The fiery-tongued serpent, Hard by the sedgy bank, Stretches his pamper'd body, Caress'd by the sun's bright beams.
Tempt no gentle night-rambles Under the moon's cold twilight! Loathsome toads hold their meetings Yonder at every crossway.
Injuring not, Fear will they cause thee.
Oh, worthy man, Fly from this land! 1767.
THIRD ODE.
BE void of feeling! A heart that soon is stirr'd, Is a possession sad Upon this changing earth.
Behrisch, let spring's sweet smile Never gladden thy brow! Then winter's gloomy tempests Never will shadow it o'er.
Lean thyself ne'er on a maiden's Sorrow-engendering breast.
Ne'er on the arm, Misery-fraught, of a friend.
Already envy From out his rocky ambush Upon thee turns The force of his lynx-like eyes, Stretches his talons, On thee falls, In thy shoulders Cunningly plants them.
Strong are his skinny arms, As panther-claws; He shaketh thee, And rends thy frame.
Death 'tis to part, 'Tis threefold death To part, not hoping Ever to meet again.
Thou wouldst rejoice to leave This hated land behind, Wert thou not chain'd to me With friendships flowery chains.
Burst them! I'll not repine.
No noble friend Would stay his fellow-captive, If means of flight appear.
The remembrance Of his dear friend's freedom Gives him freedom In his dungeon.
Thou go'st,--I'm left.
But e'en already The last year's winged spokes Whirl round the smoking axle.
I number the turns Of the thundering wheel; The last one I bless.
-- Each bar then is broken, I'm free then as thou! 1767.

Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |

THE LEGEND OF THE HORSESHOE

 WHAT time our Lord still walk'd the earth,
Unknown, despised, of humble birth,
And on Him many a youth attended
(His words they seldom comprehended),
It ever seem'd to Him most meet
To hold His court in open street,
As under heaven's broad canopy
One speaks with greater liberty.
The teachings of His blessed word From out His holy mouth were heard; Each market to a fane turn'd He With parable and simile.
One day, as tow'rd a town He roved, In peace of mind with those He loved, Upon the path a something gleam'd; A broken horseshoe 'twas, it seem'd.
So to St.
Peter thus He spake: "That piece of iron prythee take!" St.
Peter's thoughts had gone astray,-- He had been musing on his way Respecting the world's government, A dream that always gives content, For in the head 'tis check'd by nought; This ever was his dearest thought, For him this prize was far too mean Had it a crown and sceptre been! But, surely, 'twasn't worth the trouble For half a horseshoe to bend double! And so he turn'd away his head, As if he heard not what was said, The Lord, forbearing tow'rd all men, Himself pick'd up the horseshoe then (He ne'er again like this stoop'd down).
And when at length they reach'd the town, Before a smithy He remain'd, And there a penny for 't obtain'd.
As they the market-place went by, Some beauteous cherries caught His eye: Accordingly He bought as many As could be purchased for a penny, And then, as oft His wont had been, Placed them within His sleeve unseen.
They went out by another gate, O'er plains and fields proceeding straight, No house or tree was near the spot, The sun was bright, the day was hot; In short, the weather being such, A draught of water was worth much.
The Lord walk'd on before them all, And let, unseen, a cherry fall.
St.
Peter rush'd to seize it hold, As though an apple 'twere of gold; His palate much approv'd the berry; The Lord ere long another cherry Once more let fall upon the plain; St.
Peter forthwith stoop'd again.
The Lord kept making him thus bend To pick up cherries without end.
For a long time the thing went on; The Lord then said, in cheerful tone: "Had'st thou but moved when thou wert bid, Thou of this trouble had'st been rid; The man who small things scorns, will next, By things still smaller be perplex'd.
" 1797.

Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |

THE FISHERMAN

 THE waters rush'd, the waters rose,

A fisherman sat by,
While on his line in calm repose

He cast his patient eye.
And as he sat, and hearken'd there, The flood was cleft in twain, And, lo! a dripping mermaid fair Sprang from the troubled main.
She sang to him, and spake the while: "Why lurest thou my brood, With human wit and human guile From out their native flood? Oh, couldst thou know how gladly dart The fish across the sea, Thou wouldst descend, e'en as thou art, And truly happy be! "Do not the sun and moon with grace Their forms in ocean lave? Shines not with twofold charms their face, When rising from the wave? The deep, deep heavens, then lure thee not,-- The moist yet radiant blue,-- Not thine own form,--to tempt thy lot 'Midst this eternal dew?" The waters rush'd, the waters rose, Wetting his naked feet; As if his true love's words were those, His heart with longing beat.
She sang to him, to him spake she, His doom was fix'd, I ween; Half drew she him, and half sank he, And ne'er again was seen.
1779.
*

Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |

WINTER JOURNEY OVER THE HARTZ MOUNTAINS

 [The following explanation is necessary, in order 
to make this ode in any way intelligible.
The Poet is supposed to leave his companions, who are proceeding on a hunting expedition in winter, in order himself to pay a visit to a hypochondriacal friend, and also to see the mining in the Hartz mountains.
The ode alternately describes, in a very fragmentary and peculiar manner, the naturally happy disposition of the Poet himself and the unhappiness of his friend; it pictures the wildness of the road and the dreariness of the prospect, which is relieved at one spot by the distant sight of a town, a very vague allusion to which is made in the third strophe; it recalls the hunting party on which his companions have gone; and after an address to Love, concludes by a contrast between the unexplored recesses of the highest peak of the Hartz and the metalliferous veins of its smaller brethren.
] LIKE the vulture Who on heavy morning clouds With gentle wing reposing Looks for his prey,-- Hover, my song! For a God hath Unto each prescribed His destined path, Which the happy one Runs o'er swiftly To his glad goal: He whose heart cruel Fate hath contracted, Struggles but vainly Against all the barriers The brazen thread raises, But which the harsh shears Must one day sever.
Through gloomy thickets Presseth the wild deer on, And with the sparrows Long have the wealthy Settled themselves in the marsh.
Easy 'tis following the chariot That by Fortune is driven, Like the baggage that moves Over well-mended highways After the train of a prince.
But who stands there apart? In the thicket, lost is his path; Behind him the bushes Are closing together, The grass springs up again, The desert engulphs him.
Ah, who'll heal his afflictions, To whom balsam was poison, Who, from love's fullness, Drank in misanthropy only? First despised, and now a despiser, He, in secret, wasteth All that he is worth, In a selfishness vain.
If there be, on thy psaltery, Father of Love, but one tone That to his ear may be pleasing, Oh, then, quicken his heart! Clear his cloud-enveloped eyes Over the thousand fountains Close by the thirsty one In the desert.
Thou who createst much joy, For each a measure o'erflowing, Bless the sons of the chase When on the track of the prey, With a wild thirsting for blood, Youthful and joyous Avenging late the injustice Which the peasant resisted Vainly for years with his staff.
But the lonely one veil Within thy gold clouds! Surround with winter-green, Until the roses bloom again, The humid locks, Oh Love, of thy minstrel! With thy glimmering torch Lightest thou him Through the fords when 'tis night, Over bottomless places On desert-like plains; With the thousand colours of morning Gladd'nest his bosom; With the fierce-biting storm Bearest him proudly on high; Winter torrents rush from the cliffs,-- Blend with his psalms; An altar of grateful delight He finds in the much-dreaded mountain's Snow-begirded summit, Which foreboding nations Crown'd with spirit-dances.
Thou stand'st with breast inscrutable, Mysteriously disclosed, High o'er the wondering world, And look'st from clouds Upon its realms and its majesty, Which thou from the veins of thy brethren Near thee dost water.
1777.

Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |

CAT-PIE

 WHILE he is mark'd by vision clear

Who fathoms Nature's treasures,
The man may follow, void of fear,

Who her proportions measures.
Though for one mortal, it is true, These trades may both be fitted, Yet, that the things themselves are two Must always be admitted.
Once on a time there lived a cook Whose skill was past disputing, Who in his head a fancy took To try his luck at shooting.
So, gun in hand, he sought a spot Where stores of game were breeding, And there ere long a cat he shot That on young birds was feeding.
This cat he fancied was a hare, Forming a judgment hasty, So served it up for people's fare, Well-spiced and in a pasty.
Yet many a guest with wrath was fill'd (All who had noses tender): The cat that's by the sportsman kill'd No cook a hare can render.
1810.

Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |

SONG OF FELLOWSHIP

 [Written and sung in honour of the birthday 
of the Pastor Ewald at the time of Goethe's happy connection with 
Lily.
] IN ev'ry hour of joy That love and wine prolong, The moments we'll employ To carol forth this song! We're gathered in His name, Whose power hath brought us here; He kindled first our flame, He bids it burn more clear.
Then gladly glow to-night, And let our hearts combine! Up! quaff with fresh delight This glass of sparkling wine! Up! hail the joyous hour, And let your kiss be true; With each new bond of power The old becomes the new! Who in our circle lives, And is not happy there? True liberty it gives, And brother's love so fair.
Thus heart and heart through life With mutual love are fill'd; And by no causeless strife Our union e'er is chill'd.
Our hopes a God has crown'd With life-discernment free, And all we view around, Renews our ecstasy.
Ne'er by caprice oppress'd, Our bliss is ne'er destroy'd; More freely throbs our breast, By fancies ne'er alloy'd.
Where'er our foot we set, The more life's path extends, And brighter, brighter yet Our gaze on high ascends.
We know no grief or pain, Though all things fall and rise; Long may we thus remain! Eternal be our ties! 1775.

Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |

DEDICATION

 The morn arrived; his footstep quickly scared

The gentle sleep that round my senses clung,
And I, awak'ning, from my cottage fared,

And up the mountain side with light heart sprung;
At every step I felt my gaze ensnared

By new-born flow'rs that full of dew-drops hung;
The youthful day awoke with ecstacy,
And all things quicken'd were, to quicken me.
And as I mounted, from the valley rose A streaky mist, that upward slowly spread, Then bent, as though my form it would enclose, Then, as on pinions, soar'd above my head: My gaze could now on no fair view repose, in mournful veil conceal'd, the world seem'd dead; The clouds soon closed around me, as a tomb, And I was left alone in twilight gloom.
At once the sun his lustre seem'd to pour, And through the mist was seen a radiant light; Here sank it gently to the ground once more, There parted it, and climb'd o'er wood and height.
How did I yearn to greet him as of yore, After the darkness waxing doubly bright! The airy conflict ofttimes was renew'd, Then blinded by a dazzling glow I stood.
Ere long an inward impulse prompted me A hasty glance with boldness round to throw; At first mine eyes had scarcely strength to see, For all around appear'd to burn and glow.
Then saw I, on the clouds borne gracefully, A godlike woman hov'ring to and fro.
In life I ne'er had seen a form so fair-- She gazed at me, and still she hover'd there.
"Dost thou not know me?" were the words she said In tones where love and faith were sweetly bound; "Knowest thou not Her who oftentimes hath shed The purest balsam in each earthly wound? Thou knows't me well; thy panting heart I led To join me in a bond with rapture crown'd.
Did I not see thee, when a stripling, yearning To welcome me with tears, heartfelt and burning?" "Yes!" I exclaim'd, whilst, overcome with joy, I sank to earth; "I long have worshipp'd thee; Thou gav'st me rest, when passions rack'd the boy, Pervading ev'ry limb unceasingly; Thy heav'nly pinions thou didst then employ The scorching sunbeams to ward off from me.
From thee alone Earth's fairest gifts I gain'd, Through thee alone, true bliss can be obtain'd.
"Thy name I know not; yet I hear thee nam'd By many a one who boasts thee as his own; Each eye believes that tow'rd thy form 'tis aim'd, Yet to most eyes thy rays are anguish-sown.
Ah! whilst I err'd, full many a friend I claim'd, Now that I know thee, I am left alone; With but myself can I my rapture share, I needs must veil and hide thy radiance fair.
She smiled, and answering said: "Thou see'st how wise, How prudent 'twas but little to unveil! Scarce from the clumsiest cheat are clear'd thine eyes, Scarce hast thou strength thy childish bars to scale, When thou dost rank thee 'mongst the deities, And so man's duties to perform would'st fail! How dost thou differ from all other men? Live with the world in peace, and know thee then!" "Oh, pardon me," I cried, "I meant it well: Not vainly did'st thou bless mine eyes with light; For in my blood glad aspirations swell, The value of thy gifts I know aright! Those treasures in my breast for others dwell, The buried pound no more I'll hide from sight.
Why did I seek the road so anxiously, If hidden from my brethren 'twere to be?" And as I answer'd, tow'rd me turn'd her face, With kindly sympathy, that god-like one; Within her eye full plainly could I trace What I had fail'd in, and what rightly done.
She smiled, and cured me with that smile's sweet grace, To new-born joys my spirit soar'd anon; With inward confidence I now could dare To draw yet closer, and observe her there.
Through the light cloud she then stretch'd forth her hand, As if to bid the streaky vapour fly: At once it seemed to yield to her command, Contracted, and no mist then met mine eye.
My glance once more survey'd the smiling land, Unclouded and serene appear'd the sky.
Nought but a veil of purest white she held, And round her in a thousand folds it swell'd.
"I know thee, and I know thy wav'ring will.
I know the good that lives and glows in thee!"-- Thus spake she, and methinks I hear her still-- "The prize long destined, now receive from me; That blest one will be safe from ev'ry ill, Who takes this gift with soul of purity,--" The veil of Minstrelsy from Truth's own hand, Of sunlight and of morn's sweet fragrance plann'd.
"And when thou and thy friends at fierce noon-day Are parched with heat, straight cast it in the air! Then Zephyr's cooling breath will round you play, Distilling balm and flowers' sweet incense there; The tones of earthly woe will die away, The grave become a bed of clouds so fair, To sing to rest life's billows will be seen, The day be lovely, and the night serene.
"-- Come, then, my friends! and whensoe'er ye find Upon your way increase life's heavy load; If by fresh-waken'd blessings flowers are twin'd Around your path, and golden fruits bestow'd, We'll seek the coming day with joyous mind! Thus blest, we'll live, thus wander on our road And when our grandsons sorrow o'er our tomb, Our love, to glad their bosoms, still shall bloom.