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by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

PROXIMITY.

 I KNOW not, wherefore, dearest love,

Thou often art so strange and coy
When 'mongst man's busy haunts we move,

Thy coldness puts to flight my joy.
But soon as night and silence round us reign, I know thee by thy kisses sweet again! 1789.
*


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

LEOPOLD DUKE OF BRUNSWICK.

 LEOPOLD, DUKE OF BRUNSWICK.
[Written on the occasion of the death, by drowning, of the Prince.
] THOU wert forcibly seized by the hoary lord of the river,-- Holding thee, ever he shares with thee his streaming domain, Calmly sleepest thou near his urn as it silently trickles, Till thou to action art roused, waked by the swift-rolling flood.
Kindly be to the people, as when thou still wert a mortal, Perfecting that as a god, which thou didst fail in, as man.
1785.


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

THE BEAUTIFUL NIGHT.

 Now I leave this cottage lowly,

Where my love hath made her home,
And with silent footstep slowly

Through the darksome forest roam,
Luna breaks through oaks and bushes,

Zephyr hastes her steps to meet,
And the waving birch-tree blushes,

Scattering round her incense sweet.
Grateful are the cooling breezes Of this beauteous summer night, Here is felt the charm that pleases, And that gives the soul delight.
Boundless is my joy; yet, Heaven, Willingly I'd leave to thee Thousand such nights, were one given By my maiden loved to me! 1767-8.


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

TO LIDA.

 THE only one whom, Lida, thou canst love,

Thou claim'st, and rightly claim'st, for only thee;
He too is wholly thine; since doomed to rove

Far from thee, in life's turmoils nought I see
Save a thin veil, through which thy form I view,
As though in clouds; with kindly smile and true,

It cheers me, like the stars eterne that gleam
Across the northern-lights' far-flick'ring beam.
1789.
*


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

FINNISH SONG.

 IF the loved one, the well-known one,
Should return as he departed,
On his lips would ring my kisses,
Though the wolf's blood might have dyed them;
And a hearty grasp I'd give him,
Though his finger-ends were serpents.
Wind! Oh, if thou hadst but reason, Word for word in turns thou'dst carry, E'en though some perchance might perish 'Tween two lovers so far distant.
All choice morsels I'd dispense with, Table-flesh of priests neglect too, Sooner than renounce my lover, Whom, in Summer having vanquish'd, I in Winter tamed still longer.
1810.


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

THE CONVERT.

 As at sunset I was straying

Silently the wood along,
Damon on his flute was playing,

And the rocks gave back the song,
So la, Ia! &c.
Softly tow'rds him then he drew me; Sweet each kiss he gave me then! And I said, "Play once more to me!" And he kindly play'd again, So la, la! &c.
All my peace for aye has fleeted, All my happiness has flown; Yet my ears are ever greeted With that olden, blissful tone, So la, la! &c.
1791.


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

THE MOUNTAIN VILLAGE.

 "THE mountain village was destroy'd;
But see how soon is fill'd the void!
Shingles and boards, as by magic arise,
The babe in his cradle and swaddling-clothes lies;
How blest to trust to God's protection!"

Behold a wooden new erection,
So that, if sparks and wind but choose,
God's self at such a game must lose!

 1821.
*


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

FROM THE SORROWS OF YOUNG WERTHER.

 [Prefixed to the second edition.
] EV'RY youth for love's sweet portion sighs, Ev'ry maiden sighs to win man's love; Why, alas! should bitter pain arise From the noblest passion that we prove? Thou, kind soul, bewailest, lov'st him well, From disgrace his memory's saved by thee; Lo, his spirit signs from out its cell: BE A MAN, NOR SEEK TO FOLLOW ME.
1775.


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

IN SUMMER.

 How plain and height
With dewdrops are bright!
How pearls have crown'd
The plants all around!
How sighs the breeze
Thro' thicket and trees!
How loudly in the sun's clear rays
The sweet birds carol forth their lays!

But, ah! above,
Where saw I my love,
Within her room,
Small, mantled in gloom,
Enclosed around,
Where sunlight was drown'd,
How little there was earth to me,
With all its beauteous majesty!

1776.
*


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

THE CHRISTMAS-BOX.

 THIS box, mine own sweet darling, thou wilt find

With many a varied sweetmeat's form supplied;

The fruits are they of holy Christmas tide,
But baked indeed, for children's use design'd.
I'd fain, in speeches sweet with skill combin'd, Poetic sweetmeats for the feast provide; But why in such frivolities confide? Perish the thought, with flattery to blind! One sweet thing there is still, that from within, Within us speaks,--that may be felt afar; This may be wafted o'er to thee alone.
If thou a recollection fond canst win, As if with pleasure gleam'd each well-known star, The smallest gift thou never wilt disown.
1807.


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

HUMAN FEELINGS.

 AH, ye gods! ye great immortals
In the spacious heavens above us!
Would ye on this earth but give us
Steadfast minds and dauntless courage
We, oh kindly ones, would leave you
All your spacious heavens above us!

 1815.
*


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

THE UNEQUAL MARRIAGE

 EVEN this heavenly pair were unequally match'd when united:

Psyche grew older and wise, Amor remain'd still a child,

 1789.
*


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

TO THE KIND READER.

 No one talks more than a Poet;
Fain he'd have the people know it.
Praise or blame he ever loves; None in prose confess an error, Yet we do so, void of terror, In the Muses' silent groves.
What I err'd in, what corrected, What I suffer'd, what effected, To this wreath as flow'rs belong; For the aged, and the youthful, And the vicious, and the truthful, All are fair when viewed in song.
1800.
* -----


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

A PARABLE.

 I PICKED a rustic nosegay lately,
And bore it homewards, musing greatly;
When, heated by my hand, I found
The heads all drooping tow'rd the ground.
I plac'd them in a well-cool'd glass, And what a wonder came to pass The heads soon raised themselves once more.
The stalks were blooming as before, And all were in as good a case As when they left their native place.
* * * * So felt I, when I wond'ring heard My song to foreign tongues transferr'd.
1828.


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

BURIAL.

 To the grave one day from a house they bore

A maiden;
To the window the citizens went to explore;
In splendour they lived, and with wealth as of yore

Their banquets were laden.
Then thought they: "The maid to the tomb is now borne; We too from our dwellings ere long must be torn, And he that is left our departure to mourn, To our riches will be the successor, For some one must be their possessor.
1827.
*


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

RECIPROCAL.

 MY mistress, where sits she?

What is it that charms?
The absent she's rocking,

Held fast in her arms.
In pretty cage prison'd She holds a bird still; Yet lets him fly from her, Whenever he will.
He pecks at her finger, And pecks at her lips, And hovers and flutters, And round her he skips.
Then hasten thou homeward, In fashion to be; If thou hast the maiden, She also hath thee.
1816.


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

THE LOVING ONE WRITES.

 THE look that thy sweet eyes on mine impress

The pledge thy lips to mine convey,--the kiss,--

He who, like me, hath knowledge sure of this,
Can he in aught beside find happiness?

Removed from thee, friend-sever'd, in distress,

These thoughts I vainly struggle to dismiss:

They still return to that one hour of bliss,
The only one; then tears my grief confess.
But unawares the tear makes haste to dry: He loves, methinks, e'en to these glades so still,-- And shalt not thou to distant lands extend? Receive the murmurs of his loving sigh; My only joy on earth is in thy will, Thy kindly will tow'rd me; a token send! 1807?8.


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

PROXIMITY OF THE BELOVED ONE.

 I THINK of thee, whene'er the sun his beams

O'er ocean flings;
I think of thee, whene'er the moonlight gleams

In silv'ry springs.
I see thee, when upon the distant ridge The dust awakes; At midnight's hour, when on the fragile bridge The wanderer quakes.
I hear thee, when yon billows rise on high, With murmur deep.
To tread the silent grove oft wander I, When all's asleep.
I'm near thee, though thou far away mayst be-- Thou, too, art near! The sun then sets, the stars soon lighten me.
Would thou wert here! 1795.


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

JOY.

 Joy from that in type we borrow,
Which in life gives only sorrow.
JOY.
A DRAGON-FLY with beauteous wing Is hov'ring o'er a silv'ry spring; I watch its motions with delight,-- Now dark its colours seem, now bright; Chameleon-like appear, now blue, Now red, and now of greenish hue.
Would it would come still nearer me, That I its tints might better see It hovers, flutters, resting ne'er! But hush! it settles on the mead.
I have it safe now, I declare! And when its form I closely view, 'Tis of a sad and dingy blue-- Such, Joy-Dissector, is thy case indeed 1767-9.


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

MAIDEN WISHES.

 WHAT pleasure to me
A bridegroom would be!
When married we are,
They call us mamma.
No need then to sew, To school we ne'er go; Command uncontroll'd, Have maids, whom to scold; Choose clothes at our ease, Of what tradesmen we please; Walk freely about, And go to each rout, And unrestrained are By papa or mamma.
1767-9.