The Poems of Goethe
Translated in the original metres by Edgar Alfred Bowring
THE TRANSLATOR'S ORIGINAL DEDICATION.
TO THE COUNTESS GRANVILLE.
MY DEAR LADY GRANVILLE,—
THE reluctance which must naturally be felt by any one in venturing to give to the world a book such as the present, where the beauties of the great original must inevitably be diminished, if not destroyed, in the process of passing through the translator's hands, cannot but be felt in all its force when that translator has not penetrated beyond the outer courts of the poetic fane, and can have no hope of advancing further, or of reaching its sanctuary. But it is to me a subject of peculiar satisfaction that your kind permission to have your name inscribed upon this page serves to attain a twofold end—one direct and personal, and relating to the present day; the other reflected and historical, and belonging to times long gone by. Of the first little need now be said, for the privilege is wholly mine, in making this dedication: as to the second, one word of explanation will suffice for those who have made the greatest poet of Germany, almost of the world, their study, and to whom the story of his life is not unknown. All who have followed the career of GOETHE are familiar with the name and character of DALBERG, and also with the deep and lasting friendship that existed between them, from which SCHILLER too was not absent; recalling to the mind the days of old, when a Virgil and a Horace and a Maecenas sat side by side.
Remembering, then, the connection that, in a former century, was formed and riveted between your illustrious ancestor and him whom it is the object of these pages to represent, I deem it a happy augury that the link then established finds itself not wholly severed even now (although its strength may be immeasurably weakened in the comparison), inasmuch as this page brings them once more in contact, the one in the person of his own descendant, the other in that of the translator of his Poems.
Believe me, with great truth, Very faithfully yours, EDGAR A. BOWRING. London, April, 1853.
I feel no small reluctance in venturing to give to the public a work of the character of that indicated by the title-page to the present volume; for, difficult as it must always be to render satisfactorily into one's own tongue the writings of the bards of other lands, the responsibility assumed by the translator is immeasurably increased when he attempts to transfer the thoughts of those great men, who have lived for all the world and for all ages, from the language in which they were originally clothed, to one to which they may as yet have been strangers. Preeminently is this the case with Goethe, the most masterly of all the master minds of modern times, whose name is already inscribed on the tablets of immortality, and whose fame already extends over the earth, although as yet only in its infancy. Scarcely have two decades passed away since he ceased to dwell among men, yet he now stands before us, not as a mere individual, like those whom the world is wont to call great, but as a type, as an emblem—the recognised emblem and representative of the human mind in its present stage of culture and advancement.
Among the infinitely varied effusions of Goethe's pen, perhaps there are none which are of as general interest as his Poems, which breathe the very spirit of Nature, and embody the real music of the feelings. In Germany, they are universally known, and are considered as the most delightful of his works. Yet in this country, this kindred country, sprung from the same stem, and so strongly resembling her sister in so many points, they are nearly unknown. Almost the only poetical work of the greatest Poet that the world has seen for ages, that is really and generally read in England, is Faust, the translations of which are almost endless; while no single person has as yet appeared to attempt to give, in an English dress, in any collective or systematic manner, those smaller productions of the genius of Goethe which it is the object of the present volume to lay before the reader, whose indulgence is requested for its many imperfections. In addition to the beauty of the language in which the Poet has given utterance to his thoughts, there is a depth of meaning in those thoughts which is not easily discoverable at first sight, and the translator incurs great risk of overlooking it, and of giving a prosaic effect to that which in the original contains the very essence of poetry. It is probably this difficulty that has deterred others from undertaking the task I have set myself, and in which I do not pretend to do more than attempt to give an idea of the minstrelsy of one so unrivalled, by as truthful an interpretation of it as lies in my power.
The principles which have guided me on the present occasion are the same as those followed in the translation of Schiller's complete Poems that was published by me in 1851, namely, as literal a rendering of the original as is consistent with good English, and also a very strict adherence to the metre of the original. Although translators usually allow themselves great license in both these points, it appears to me that by so doing they of necessity destroy the very soul of the work they profess to translate. In fact, it is not a translation, but a paraphrase that they give. It may perhaps be thought that the present translations go almost to the other extreme, and that a rendering of metre, line for line, and word for word, makes it impossible to preserve the poetry of the original both in substance and in sound. But experience has convinced me that it is not so, and that great fidelity is even the most essential element of success, whether in translating poetry or prose. It was therefore very satisfactory to me to find that the principle laid down by me to myself in translating Schiller met with the very general, if not universal, approval of the reader. At the same time, I have endeavoured to profit in the case of this, the younger born of the two attempts made by me to transplant the muse of Germany to the shores of Britain, by the criticisms, whether friendly or hostile, that have been evoked or provoked by the appearance of its elder brother.
As already mentioned, the latter contained the whole of the Poems of Schiller. It is impossible, in anything like the same compass, to give all the writings of Goethe comprised under the general title of Gedichte, or poems. They contain between 30,000 and 40,000 verses, exclusive of his plays. and similar works. Very many of these would be absolutely without interest to the English reader,—such as those having only a local application, those addressed to individuals, and so on. Others again, from their extreme length, could only be published in separate volumes. But the impossibility of giving all need form no obstacle to giving as much as possible; and it so happens that the real interest of Goethe's Poems centres in those classes of them which are not too diffuse to run any risk when translated of offending the reader by their too great number. Those by far the more generally admired are the Songs and Ballads, which are about 150 in number, and the whole of which are contained in this volume (with the exception of one or two of the former, which have been, on consideration, left out by me owing to their trifling and uninteresting nature). The same may be said of the Odes, Sonnets, Miscellaneous Poems, &c.
In addition to those portions of Goethe's poetical works which are given in this complete form, specimens of the different other classes of them, such as the Epigrams, Elegies, &c., are added, as well as a collection of the various Songs found in his Plays, making a total number of about 400 Poems, embraced in the present volume.
A sketch of the life of Goethe is prefixed, in order that the reader may have before him both the Poet himself and the Poet's offspring, and that he may see that the two are but one—that Goethe lives in his works, that his works lived in him.
The dates of the different Poems are appended throughout, that of the first publication being given, when that of the composition is unknown. The order of arrangement adopted is that of the authorized German editions. As Goethe would never arrange them himself in the chronological order of their composition, it has become impossible to do so, now that he is dead. The plan adopted in the present volume would therefore seem to be the best, as it facilitates reference to the original. The circumstances attending or giving rise to the production of any of the Poems will be found specified in those cases in which they have been ascertained by me.
Having said thus much by way of explanation, I now leave the book to speak for itself, and to testify to its own character. Whether viewed with a charitable eye by the kindly reader, who will make due allowance for the difficulties attending its execution, or received by the critic, who will judge of it only by its own merits, with the unfriendly welcome which it very probably deserves, I trust that I shall at least be pardoned for making an attempt, a failure in which does not necessarily imply disgrace, and which, by leading the way, may perhaps become the means of inducing some abler and more worthy (but not more earnest) labourer to enter upon the same field, the riches of which will remain unaltered and undiminished in value, even although they may be for the moment tarnished by the hands of the less skilful workman who first endeavours to transplant them to a foreign soil.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
I have taken advantage of the publication of a Second Edition of my translation of the Poems of Goethe (originally published in 1853), to add to the Collection a version of the much admired classical Poem of Hermann and Dorothea, which was previously omitted by me in consequence of its length. Its universal popularity, however, and the fact that it exhibits the versatility of Goethe's talents to a greater extent than, perhaps, any other of his poetical works, seem to call for its admission into the present volume.
On the other hand I have not thought it necessary to include the sketch of Goethe's Life that accompanied the First Edition. At the time of its publication, comparatively little was known in this country of the incidents of his career, and my sketch was avowedly written as a temporary stop-gap, as it were, pending the production of some work really deserving the tittle of a life of Goethe. Not to mention other contributions to the literature of the subject, Mr. Lewis's important volumes give the English reader all the information he is likely to require respecting Goethe's career, and my short memoir appeared to be no longer required.
I need scarcely add that I have availed myself of this opportunity to make whatever improvements have suggested themselves to me in my original version of these Poems.
E. A. B. London, 1874.
Original Dedication Original Preface Preface to the Second Edition List of the principal Works of Goethe Author's Dedication
SONGS Sound, sweet Song, from some far Land To the kind Reader The New Amadis When the Fox dies, his Skin counts The Heathrose Blindman's Buff Christel The Coy One The Convert Preservation The Muses' Son Found Like and Like Reciprocal Invitation to the Dance Self-Deceit Declaration of War Lover in all Shapes The Goldsmith's Apprentice Answers in a Game of Questions Different Emotions on the same Spot Who'll buy Gods of love? The Misanthrope Different Threats Maiden Wishes Motives True Enjoyment The Farewell The Beautiful Night. Happiness and Vision Living Remembrance The Bliss of Absence To Luna The Wedding Night Mischievous Joy Apparent Death November Song To the Chosen One First Loss After Sensations Proximity of the Beloved One Presence To the Distant One By the River Farewell The Exchange Welcome and Farewell New Love, New Life To Belinda May Song With a painted Ribbon With a golden Necklace On the Lake From the Mountain Flower-Salute In Summer May Song Premature Spring Autumn Feelings Restless Love The Shepherd's Lament Comfort in Tears Night Song Longing To Mignon The Mountain Castle The Spirit's Salute To a Golden Heart that he wore round his neck The Bliss of Sorrow The Wanderer's Night-song The Same The Hunter's Even-Song To the Moon To Lina Ever and Everywhere Petition To his Coy One Night Thoughts To Lida Proximity Reciprocal Rollicking Hans The Freebooter Joy and Sorrow March April May June Next Year's Spring At Midnight Hour To the rising full Moon The Bridegroom Such, such is he who pleaseth me Sicilian Song Swiss Song Finnish Song Gipsy Song The Destruction of Magdeburg
FAMILIAR SONGS. On the New Year Anniversary Song The Spring Oracle The Happy Couple Song of Fellowship Constancy in Change Table Song Wont and Done General Confession Coptic Song Another Vanitas! vanitatum vanitas! Fortune of War Open Table The Reckoning Ergo Bibamus! Epiphanias
BALLADS. Mignon The Minstrel Ballad of the banished and returning Count The Violet The Faithless Boy The Erl-King Johanna Sebus The Fisherman The King of Thule The Beauteous Flower.. Sir Curt's Wedding Journey Wedding Song The Treasure-digger The Rat-catcher The Spinner Before a Court of Justice The Page and the Miller's Daughter The Youth and the Millstream The Maid of the Mill's Treachery The Maid of the Mill's Repentance The Traveller and the Farm-Maiden Effects at a distance The Walking Bell Faithful Eckart The Dance of Death The Pupil in Magic The Bride of Corinth The God and the Bayadere
I. The Pariah's Prayer. II. Legend III. The Pariah's Thanks Death—lament of the noble Wife of Asan Aga
CANTATAS. Idyll Rinaldo The First Walpurgis-Night
ODES. Three Odes to my Friend Mahomet's Song Spirit Song over the Waters My Goddess Winter Journey over the Hartz Mountains To Father Kronos. Written in a Post-chaise The Wanderer's Storm Song The Sea-Voyage The Eagle and Dove Prometheus Ganymede The Boundaries of Humanity The Godlike
MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. The German Parnassus. Lily's Menagerie To Charlotte Love's Distresses The Musagetes Morning Lament The Visit The Magic Net The Goblet To the Grasshopper. After Anacreon From the Sorrows of Young Werther Trilogy of Passion :
I. To Werther
II. Elegy III. Atonement The Remembrance of the Good When I was still a youthful Wight For Ever From an Album of 1604 Lines on seeing Schiller's Skull Royal Prayer Human Feelings On the Divan Hans Sachs' Poetical Mission
SONNETS. The Friendly Meeting In a Word The Maiden Speaks Growth Food in Travel Departure The Loving One Writes. The Loving One once more She Cannot End Nemesis The Christmas Box The Warning The Epochs The Doubters and the Lovers Charade
EPIGRAMS. To Originals The Soldier's Consolation Genial Impulse Neither this nor that The way to behave The best As broad as it's long The Rule of Life The same, expanded Calm at Sea The Prosperous Voyage Courage My only Property Admonition Old Age Epitaph Rules for Monarchs Paulo post futuri The Fool's Epilogue
PARABLES. Joy Explanation of an antique Gem Cat-Pie Legend Authors The Critic The Dilettante and the Critic The Wrangler The Yelpers The Stork's Vocation Celebrity Playing at Priests Songs Poetry A Parable Should e'er the loveless day remain A Plan the Muses entertained The Death of the Fly By the River The Fox and Crane The Fox and Huntsman The Frogs The Wedding Burial Threatening Signs The Buyers The Mountain Village Symbols Three Palinodias :—
I. The Smoke that from thine Altar blows.
II. Conflict of Wit and Beauty III. Rain and Rainbow. Valediction The Country Schoolmaster The Legend of the Horseshoe A Symbol
ART. The Drops of Nectar The Wanderer I Love as a Landscape Painter
GOD, SOUL, AND WORLD. Rhymed Distichs Prooemion The Metamorphosis of Plants
PROVERBS TAME XENIA
RELIGION AND CHURCH. Thoughts on Jesus Christ's descent into Hell
ANTIQUES. Leopold, Duke of Brunswick To the Husbandman Anacreon's Grave The Brethren Measure of Time Warning Solitude The Chosen Cliff The Consecrated Spot The Instructors The Unequal Marriage. Excuse Sakontala The Muse's Mirror Phoebus and Hermes The New Amor The Garlands The Swiss Alps Distichs
ELEGIES. Roman Elegies Alexis and Dora Hermann and Dorothea
I. Minstrel's Book :—
Talismans The Four Favours Discord Song and Structure
II. Book of Hafis :— The Unlimited To Hafis
III. Book of Love :—
The Types One Pair More Love's Torments
IV. Book of Contemplation :—
Five Things For Woman Firdusi Suleika
V. Book of Gloom :— It is a Fault
VI. Book of Proverbs
VII. Book of Timur :—
The Winter and Timur To Suleika
VIII. Book of Suleika :—
Suleika's Love Hatem Suleika Love for Love Hatem The Loving One speaks The Loving One again These tufted Branches fair Suleika The Sublime Type Suleika The Reunion Suleika In thousand forms
IX. The Convivial Book :—
Can the Koran from Eternity be? Ye've often for our Drunkenness
X. Book of Parables :—
From Heaven there fell upon the foaming wave Bulbul's Song In the Koran with strange delight. All kinds of Men. It is good
XI. Book of the Parsees :—
The Bequest of the ancient Persian faith
XII. Book of Paradise: The Privileged Men The favoured Beasts The Seven Sleepers
SONGS FROM VARIOUS PLAYS, ETC. From Faust :—
Prologue in Heaven
Chorus of Angels
Chorus of Spirits
Margaret at her Spinning Wheel
Margaret's Song From FaustPart II.:—
Ariel's Song and Chorus of Spirits
Scene the last From Iphigenia in Tauris :—
Song of the Fates From Gotz von Berlichingen :—
Liebetraut's Song From Egmont :—
Clara and Brackenburg's Song
Clara's Song From Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship :—
Who never eat with tears his bread
Who gives himself to Solitude
My Grief no Mortals know
Sing no more in mournful tones
Epilogue to Schiller's Song of the Bell
LIST OF THE PRINCIPAL WORKS OF GOETHE, WITH THE DATES OF THEIR COMPOSITION.
I. DRAMATIC WORKS.
TITLE AND DESCRIPTION. DATE, The Lover's Whim, Pastoral Drama.................. 17678 The Accomplices, Comedy........................... 1769 Satyros, or the Deified Satyr, Drama.............. 1774 Plundersweilern Fair, Puppet-show................. 1774 Prometheus, Dramatic fragment..................... 1773 Faust. Part I. Tragedy............................ 17731806
Part II. Tragedy completed in.............. 1831 Elpenor, a Fragment, Tragedy...................... 17813 Iphigenia auf Tauris, Classical drama............. 17867 Torquato Tasso, Classical drama................... 17879 The Natural Daughter, Tragedy..................... 17991803 Gotz von Berlichingen, Prose drama................ 1773 Egmont, Tragedy................................... 177587 Clavigo, Tragedy.................................. 1774 Stella, Tragedy................................... 1774 The Brother and Sister, Prose drama............... 1776 The Wager, Comedy................................. 1812 The Gross-Cophta, Comedy.......................... 1789 The Burgher-General, Comedy....................... 1793 The Rebels, Political drama....................... 1793 The Triumph of Sensibility, Dramatic whim......... 1777 The Birds, after Aristophanes, Comedy............. 1780 Erwin and Elmire, Melodrama....................... 177588 Claudine von Villa Bella, Melodrama............... 177588 Jery and Bately, Melodrama........................ 1779 Lila, Melodrama................................... 17778 The Fisher-Girl, Melodrama........................ 1782 Sport. Cunning, and Revenge, Opera Buffa.......... 1785 What we're bringing, Prelude...................... 1802 Pandora, Drama.................................... 18078
In addition to the above, there are nearly 20 minor dramatic pieces.
II. PROSE WORKS.
ROMANCES AND NOVELS:—
Sorrows of Werther............................. 1774
The Elective Affinities........................ 1809
Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship............... 177796
Wilhelm Meister's Wanderings................... 180729
Conversations of German Emigrants.............. 17935 Notes on Winckelmann.............................. 1805 Life of Philip Hackert............................ 1810-11 Life of Benvenuto Cellini (Translation)........... 17961803 Autobiography..................................... 181131 Letters from Switzerland.......................... 17751808 Tour in Italy..................................... 1786-1817 French Campaign................................... 17921822 Annals............................................ 1819-25 Art and Antiquity................................. 181528 Theory of Colours................................. 1790-1810
In addition to the above, Goethe produced an almost endless number of translations, criticisms, essays, &c.
III. POETICAL WORKS.
Other than those embraced in the plan of the present volume.
TITLE DATE, Masonic Songs (7)................................. 181530 Poems on Pictures (21)............................ 1819, &c. Invectives (44)................................... 180224 Political poems (54).............................. 1814, &c. Masques (14)...................................... 1776-1818 Poems in the name of the citizens of Carlsbad (7). 181012 Poems on Individuals, &c. (209)................... 17781831 Chinese-German Poems (14)......................... 1827 Prophecies of Bakis (33).......................... 1798 The Four Seasons (99)............................. 1796 Epistles (3)...................................... 1794 Achilleis—Canto I................................ 17989 Reineke Fuchs..................................... 1793
Theatrical Prologues and Epilogues (12, including
the Epilogue to the Song of the Bell, given in
this volume)................................... 17821821
THE POEMS OF GOETHE.
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.
SONGS. ——- Late resounds the early strain; Weal and woe in song remain. ——- SOUND, SWEET SONG.
SOUND, sweet song, from some far land, Sighing softly close at hand,
Now of joy, and now of woe!
Stars are wont to glimmer so.
Sooner thus will good unfold; Children young and children old Gladly hear thy numbers flow.
* In the cases in which the date is marked thus (*), it signifies the original date of publication—the year of composition not being known. In other cases, the date given is that of the actual composition. All the poems are arranged in the order of the recognised German editions. ——- 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.* ——- THE NEW AMADIS.
IN my boyhood's days so drear
I was kept confined; There I sat for many a year,
All alone I pined, As within the womb.
Yet thou drov'st away my gloom,
Golden phantasy! I became a hero true,
Like the Prince Pipi, And the world roam'd through,
Many a crystal palace built,
Crush'd them with like art, And the Dragon's life-blood spilt
With my glitt'ring dart. Yes! I was a man!
Next I formed the knightly plan
Princess Fish to free; She was much too complaisant,
Kindly welcomed me,— And I was gallant.
Heav'nly bread her kisses proved,
Glowing as the wine; Almost unto death I loved.
Sun-s appeared to shine In her dazzling charms.
Who hath torn her from mine arms?
Could no magic band Make her in her flight delay?
Say, where now her land? Where, alas, the way?
1775.* ——- WHEN THE FOX DIES, HIS SKIN COUNTS.*
(* The name of a game, known in English as "Jack's alight.")
WE young people in the shade
Sat one sultry day; Cupid came, and "Dies the Fox"
With us sought to play.
Each one of my friends then sat
By his mistress dear; Cupid, blowing out the torch,
Said: "The taper's here!"
Then we quickly sent around
The expiring brand; Each one put it hastily
ln his neighbour's hand.
Dorilis then gave it me,
With a scoffing jest; Sudden into flame it broke,
By my fingers press'd.
And it singed my eyes and face,
Set my breast on fire; Then above my head the blaze
Mounted ever higher.
Vain I sought to put it out;
Ever burned the flame; Stead of dying, soon the Fox
Livelier still became.
1770. ——- THE HEATHROSE.
ONCE a boy a Rosebud spied,
Heathrose fair and tender, All array'd in youthful pride,— Quickly to the spot he hied,
Ravished by her splendour. Rosebud, rosebud, rosebud red,
Heathrose fair and tender!
Said the boy, "I'll now pick thee,
Heathrose fair and tender!" Said the rosebud, "I'll prick thee, So that thou'lt remember me,
Ne'er will I surrender!" Rosebud, rosebud, rosebud red,
Heathrose fair and tender!
Now the cruel boy must pick
Heathrose fair and tender; Rosebud did her best to prick,— Vain 'twas 'gainst her fate to kick—
She must needs surrender. Rosebud, rosebud, rosebud red,
Heathrose fair and tender!
1779.* ——- BLINDMAN'S BUFF.
OH, my Theresa dear! Thine eyes, I greatly fear,
Can through the bandage see! Although thine eyes are bound, By thee I'm quickly found,
And wherefore shouldst thou catch but me?
Ere long thou held'st me fast, With arms around me cast,
Upon thy breast I fell; Scarce was thy bandage gone, When all my joy was flown,
Thou coldly didst the blind repel.
He groped on ev'ry side, His limbs he sorely tried,
While scoffs arose all round; If thou no love wilt give, In sadness I shall live,
As if mine eyes remain'd still bound.
1770. ——- CHRISTEL.
My senses ofttimes are oppress'd,
Oft stagnant is my blood; But when by Christel's sight I'm blest,
I feel my strength renew'd. I see her here, I see her there,
And really cannot tell The manner how, the when, the where,
The why I love her well.
If with the merest glance I view
Her black and roguish eyes, And gaze on her black eyebrows too,
My spirit upward flies. Has any one a mouth so sweet,
Such love-round cheeks as she? Ah, when the eye her beauties meet,
It ne'er content can be.
And when in airy German dance
I clasp her form divine, So quick we whirl, so quick advance,
What rapture then like mine! And when she's giddy, and feels warm,
I cradle her, poor thing, Upon my breast, and in mine arm,—
I'm then a very king!
And when she looks with love on me,
Forgetting all but this, When press'd against my bosom, she
Exchanges kiss for kiss, All through my marrow runs a thrill,
Runs e'en my foot along! I feel so well, I feel so ill,
I feel so weak, so strong!
Would that such moments ne'er would end!
The day ne'er long I find; Could I the night too with her spend,
E'en that I should not mind. If she were in mine arms but held,
To quench love's thirst I'd try; And could my torments not be quell'd,
Upon her breast would die.
1776.* ——— THE COY ONE.
ONE Spring-morning bright and fair,
Roam'd a shepherdess and sang; Young and beauteous, free from care,
Through the fields her clear notes rang: So, Ia, Ia! le ralla, &c.
Of his lambs some two or three
Thyrsis offer'd for a kiss; First she eyed him roguishly,
Then for answer sang but this: So, Ia, Ia! le ralla, &c.
Ribbons did the next one offer,
And the third, his heart so true But, as with the lambs, the scoffer
Laugh'd at heart and ribbons too,— Still 'twas Ia! le ralla, &c.
1791. ——- 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. ——- PRESERVATION.
My maiden she proved false to me;
To hate all joys I soon began,
Then to a flowing stream I ran,— The stream ran past me hastily.
There stood I fix'd, in mute despair;
My head swam round as in a dream;
I well-nigh fell into the stream, And earth seem'd with me whirling there.
Sudden I heard a voice that cried—
I had just turn'd my face from thence—
It was a voice to charm each sense: "Beware, for deep is yonder tide!"
A thrill my blood pervaded now,
I look'd and saw a beauteous maid
I asked her name—twas Kate, she said— "Oh lovely Kate! how kind art thou!
"From death I have been sav'd by thee,
'Tis through thee only that I live;
Little 'twere life alone to give, My joy in life then deign to be!"
And then I told my sorrows o'er,
Her eyes to earth she sweetly threw;
I kiss'd her, and she kiss'd me too, And—then I talked of death no more.
1775.* ——- THE MUSES' SON.
[Goethe quotes the beginning of this song in his Autobiography, as expressing the manner in which his poetical effusions used to pour out from him.]
THROUGH field and wood to stray, And pipe my tuneful lay,—
'Tis thus my days are pass'd; And all keep tune with me, And move in harmony,
And so on, to the last.
To wait I scarce have power The garden's earliest flower,
The tree's first bloom in Spring; They hail my joyous strain,— When Winter comes again,
Of that sweet dream I sing.
My song sounds far and near, O'er ice it echoes clear,
Then Winter blossoms bright; And when his blossoms fly, Fresh raptures meet mine eye,
Upon the well-till'd height.
When 'neath the linden tree, Young folks I chance to see,
I set them moving soon; His nose the dull lad curls, The formal maiden whirls,
Obedient to my tune.
Wings to the feet ye lend, O'er hill and vale ye send
The lover far from home; When shall I, on your breast,.
Ye kindly muses, rest, And cease at length to roam?
1800.* ——— FOUND.
ONCE through the forest
Alone I went; To seek for nothing
My thoughts were bent.
I saw i' the shadow
A flower stand there As stars it glisten'd,
As eyes 'twas fair.
I sought to pluck it,—
It gently said: "Shall I be gather'd
Only to fade?"
With all its roots
I dug it with care, And took it home
To my garden fair.
In silent corner
Soon it was set; There grows it ever,
There blooms it yet.
1815.* ——- LIKE AND LIKE.
A FAIR bell-flower
Sprang tip from the ground; And early its fragrance
It shed all around; A bee came thither
And sipp'd from its bell; That they for each other
Were made, we see well.
1814. ——- RECIPROCAL INVITATION TO THE DANCE.
COME to the dance with me, come with me, fair one!
Dances a feast-day like this may well crown. If thou my sweetheart art not, thou canst be so,
But if thou wilt not, we still will dance on. Come to the dance with me, come with me, fair one!
Dances a feast-day like this may well crown.
Loved one, without thee, what then would all feast be?
Sweet one, without thee, what then were the dance? If thou my sweetheart wert not, I would dance not.
If thou art still so, all life is one feast. Loved one, without thee, what then would all feasts be?
Sweet one, without thee, what then were the dance?
Let them but love, then, and leave us the dancing!
Languishing love cannot bear the glad dance. Let us whirl round in the waltz's gay measure,
And let them steal to the dim-lighted wood. Let them but love, then, and leave us the dancing!
Languishing love cannot bear the glad dance.
Let them whirl round, then, and leave us to wander!
Wand'ring to love is a heavenly dance. Cupid, the near one, o'erhears their deriding,
Vengeance takes suddenly, vengeance takes soon. Let them whirl round, then, and leave us to wander!
Wand'ring to love is a heavenly dance.
1789.* ——- SELF-DECEIT.
My neighbour's curtain, well I see,
Is moving to and fin. No doubt she's list'ning eagerly,
If I'm at home or no.
And if the jealous grudge I bore
And openly confess'd, Is nourish'd by me as before,
Within my inmost breast.
Alas! no fancies such as these
E'er cross'd the dear child's thoughts. I see 'tis but the ev'ning breeze
That with the curtain sports.
1803. ——- DECLARATION OF WAR.
OH, would I resembled
The country girls fair, Who rosy-red ribbons
And yellow hats wear!
To believe I was pretty
I thought was allow'd; In the town I believed it
When by the youth vow'd.
Now that Spring hath return'd,
All my joys disappear; The girls of the country
Have lured him from here.
To change dress and figure,
Was needful I found, My bodice is longer,
My petticoat round.
My hat now is yellow.
My bodice like snow; The clover to sickle
With others I go.
Something pretty, e'er long
Midst the troop he explores; The eager boy signs me
To go within doors.
I bashfully go,—
Who I am, he can't trace; He pinches my cheeks,
And he looks in my face.
The town girl now threatens
You maidens with war; Her twofold charms pledges .
Of victory are.
1803. ——- LOVER IN ALL SHAPES.
To be like a fish, Brisk and quick, is my wish; If thou cam'st with thy line. Thou wouldst soon make me thine. To be like a fish, Brisk and quick, is my wish.
Oh, were I a steed! Thou wouldst love me indeed. Oh, were I a car Fit to bear thee afar! Oh, were I a steed! Thou wouldst love me indeed.
I would I were gold That thy fingers might hold! If thou boughtest aught then, I'd return soon again. I would I were gold That thy fingers might hold!
I would I were true, And my sweetheart still new! To be faithful I'd swear, And would go away ne'er. I would I were true, And my sweetheart still new!
I would I were old, And wrinkled and cold, So that if thou said'st No, I could stand such a blow! I would I were old, And wrinkled and cold.
An ape I would be, Full of mischievous glee; If aught came to vex thee, I'd plague and perplex thee. An ape I would be, Full of mischievous glee
As a lamb I'd behave, As a lion be brave, As a lynx clearly see, As a fox cunning be. As a lamb I'd behave, As a lion be brave.
Whatever I were, All on thee I'd confer; With the gifts of a prince My affection evince. Whatever I were, All on thee I'd confer.
As nought diff'rent can make me, As I am thou must take me! If I'm not good enough, Thou must cut thine own stuff. As nought diff'rent can make me, As I am thou must take me!
1815.* ——- THE GOLDSMITH'S APPRENTICE.
My neighbour, none can e'er deny,
Is a most beauteous maid; Her shop is ever in mine eye,
When working at my trade.
To ring and chain I hammer then
The wire of gold assay'd, And think the while: "For Kate, oh when
Will such a ring be made?"
And when she takes her shutters down,
Her shop at once invade, To buy and haggle, all the town,
For all that's there displayd.
I file, and maybe overfile
The wire of gold assay'd; My master grumbles all the while,—
Her shop the mischief made.
To ply her wheel she straight begins,
When not engaged in trade; I know full well for what she spins,—
'Tis hope guides that dear maid.
Her leg, while her small foot treads on,
Is in my mind portray'd; Her garter I recall anon,—
I gave it that dear maid.
Then to her lips the finest thread
Is by her hand convey'd. Were I there only in its stead,
How I would kiss the maid!
1808. ——- ANSWERS IN A GAME OF QUESTIONS.
IN the small and great world too,
What most charms a woman's heart? It is doubtless what is new,
For its blossoms joy impart; Nobler far is what is true,
For fresh blossoms it can shoot
Even in the time of fruit.
THE YOUNG GENTLEMAN.
With the Nymphs in wood and cave
Paris was acquainted well, Till Zeus sent, to make him rave,
Three of those in Heav'n who dwell; And the choice more trouble gave
Than e'er fell to mortal lot,
Whether in old times or not.
Tenderly a woman view,
And thoult win her, take my word; He who's quick and saucy too,
Will of all men be preferr'd; Who ne'er seems as if he knew
If he pleases, if he charms,—
He 'tis injures, he 'tis harms.
Manifold is human strife,
Human passion, human pain; Many a blessing yet is rife,
Many pleasures still remain. Yet the greatest bliss in life,
And the richest prize we find,
Is a good, contented mind.
THE MERRY COUNSEL.
He by whom man's foolish will
Is each day review'd and blamed, Who, when others fools are still,
Is himself a fool proclaim'd,— Ne'er at mill was beast's back press'd
With a heavier load than he. What I feel within my breast
That in truth's the thing for me!
1789. ——- DIFFERENT EMOTIONS ON THE SAME SPOT.
I'VE seen him before me! What rapture steals o'er me!
Oh heavenly sight! He's coming to meet me; Perplex'd, I retreat me,
With shame take to flight. My mind seems to wander! Ye rocks and trees yonder,
Conceal ye my rapture.
Conceal my delight!
'Tis here I must find her, 'Twas here she enshrined her,
Here vanish'd from sight. She came, as to meet me, Then fearing to greet me,
With shame took to flight. Is't hope? Do I wander? Ye rocks and trees yonder,
Disclose ye the loved one,
Disclose my delight!
O'er my sad, fate I sorrow, To each dewy morrow,
Veil'd here from man's sight By the many mistaken, Unknown and forsaken,
Here I wing my flight! Compassionate spirit! Let none ever hear it,—
Conceal my affliction,
Conceal thy delight!
To-day I'm rewarded; Rich booty's afforded
By Fortune so bright. My servant the pheasants, And hares fit for presents
Takes homeward at night; Here see I enraptured In nets the birds captured!—
Long life to the hunter!
Long live his delight!
1789. ——- WHO'LL BUY GODS OF LOVE?
OF all the beauteous wares Exposed for sale at fairs, None will give more delight Than those that to your sight From distant lands we bring. Oh, hark to what we sing! These beauteous birds behold, They're brought here to be sold.
And first the big one see, So full of roguish glee! With light and merry bound He leaps upon the ground; Then springs up on the bougd, We will not praise him now. The merry bird behold,— He's brought here to be sold.
And now the small one see! A modest look has he, And yet he's such apother As his big roguish brother. 'Tis chiefly when all's still He loves to show his will. The bird so small and bold,— He's brought here to be sold.
Observe this little love, This darling turtle dove! All maidens are so neat, So civil, so discreet Let them their charms set loose, And turn your love to use; The gentle bird behold,— She's brought here to be sold.
Their praises we won't tell; They'll stand inspection well. They're fond of what is new,— And yet, to show they're true, Nor seal nor letter's wanted; To all have wings been granted. The pretty birds behold,— Such beauties ne'er were sold!
1795. ——- THE MISANTHROPE.
AT first awhile sits he,
With calm, unruffled brow; His features then I see, Distorted hideously,—
An owl's they might be now.
What is it, askest thou? Is't love, or is't ennui?
'Tis both at once, I vow.
1767-9. ——- DIFFERENT THREATS.
I ONCE into a forest far
My maiden went to seek, And fell upon her neck, when: "Ah!"
She threaten'd, "I will shriek!"
Then cried I haughtily: "I'll crush
The man that dares come near thee!" "Hush!" whisper'd she: "My loved one, hush!
Or else they'll overhear thee!"
1767-9. ——- 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. ——- MOTIVES.
IF to a girl who loves us truly Her mother gives instruction duly In virtue, duty, and what not,— And if she hearkens ne'er a jot, But with fresh-strengthen'd longing flies
To meet our kiss that seems to burn,—
Caprice has just as much concerned As love in her bold enterprise.
But if her mother can succeed In gaining for her maxims heed, And softening the girl's heart too, So that she coyly shuns our view,— The heart of youth she knows but ill;
For when a maiden is thus stern,
Virtue in truth has less concern In this, than an inconstant will.
1767-9. ——- TRUE ENJOYMENT.
VAINLY wouldst thou, to gain a heart,
Heap up a maiden's lap with gold; The joys of love thou must impart,
Wouldst thou e'er see those joys unfold. The voices of the throng gold buys,
No single heart 'twill win for thee; Wouldst thou a maiden make thy prize,
Thyself alone the bribe must be.
If by no sacred tie thou'rt bound,
Oh youth, thou must thyself restrain! Well may true liberty be found,
Tho' man may seem to wear a chain. Let one alone inflame thee e'er,
And if her heart with love o'erflows, Let tenderness unite you there,
If duty's self no fetter knows.
First feel, oh youth! A girl then find
Worthy thy choice,—let her choose thee, In body fair, and fair in mind,
And then thou wilt be blessed, like me. I who have made this art mine own,
A girl have chosen such as this The blessing of the priest alone
Is wanting to complete our bliss.
Nought but my rapture is her guide,
Only for me she cares to please,— Ne'er wanton save when by my side,
And modest when the world she sees; That time our glow may never chill,
She yields no right through frailty; Her favour is a favour still,
And I must ever grateful be.
Yet I'm content, and full of joy,
If she'll but grant her smile so sweet, Or if at table she'll employ,
To pillow hers, her lover's feet, Give me the apple that she bit,
The glass from which she drank, bestow, And when my kiss so orders it,
Her bosom, veil'd till then, will show.
And when she wills of love to speak,
In fond and silent hours of bliss, Words from her mouth are all I seek,
Nought else I crave,—not e'en a kiss. With what a soul her mind is fraught,
Wreath'd round with charms unceasingly! She's perfect,—and she fails in nought
Save in her deigning to love me.
My rev'rence throws me at her feet,
My longing throws me on her breast; This, youth, is rapture true and sweet,
Be wise, thus seeking to be blest. When death shall take thee from her side,
To join the angelic choir above, In heaven's bright mansions to abide,— No diff'rence at the change thoult prove.
1767-8. ——- THE FAREWELL.
[Probably addressed to his mistress Frederica.]
LET mine eye the farewell say,
That my lips can utter ne'er; Fain I'd be a man to-day,
Yet 'tis hard, oh, hard to bear!
Mournful in an hour like this
Is love's sweetest pledge, I ween; Cold upon thy mouth the kiss,
Faint thy fingers' pressure e'en.
Oh what rapture to my heart
Used each stolen kiss to bring! As the violets joy impart,
Gather'd in the early spring.
Now no garlands I entwine,
Now no roses pluck. for thee, Though 'tis springtime, Fanny mine,
Dreary autumn 'tis to me!
1771. ——- 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. ——- HAPPINESS AND VISION.
TOGETHER at the altar we In vision oft were seen by thee,
Thyself as bride, as bridegroom I. Oft from thy mouth full many a kiss In an unguarded hour of bliss
I then would steal, while none were by.
The purest rapture we then knew, The joy those happy hours gave too,
When tasted, fled, as time fleets on. What now avails my joy to me? Like dreams the warmest kisses flee,
Like kisses, soon all joys are gone.
1767-8. ——- LIVING REMEMBRANCE.
HALF vex'd, half pleased, thy love will feel, Shouldst thou her knot or ribbon steal; To thee they're much—I won't conceal;
Such self-deceit may pardon'd be; A veil, a kerchief, garter, rings, In truth are no mean trifling things,
But still they're not enough for me.
She who is dearest to my heart, Gave me, with well dissembled smart, Of her own life, a living part,
No charm in aught beside I trace; How do I scorn thy paltry ware! A lock she gave me of the hair
That wantons o'er her beauteous face.
If, loved one, we must sever'd be, Wouldst thou not wholly fly from me, I still possess this legacy,
To look at, and to kiss in play.— My fate is to the hair's allied, We used to woo her with like pride,
And now we both are far away.
Her charms with equal joy we press'd, Her swelling cheeks anon caress'd, Lured onward by a yearning blest,
Upon her heaving bosom fell. Oh rival, free from envy's sway, Thou precious gift, thou beauteous prey.
Remain my joy and bliss to tell!
1767-9. ——- 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. ——- TO LUNA.
SISTER of the first-born light,
Type of sorrowing gentleness!
Quivering mists in silv'ry dress Float around thy features bright; When thy gentle foot is heard,
From the day-closed caverns then
Wake the mournful ghosts of men, I, too, wake, and each night-bird.
O'er a field of boundless span
Looks thy gaze both far and wide.
Raise me upwards to thy side! Grant this to a raving man! And to heights of rapture raised,
Let the knight so crafty peep
At his maiden while asleep, Through her lattice-window glazed.
Soon the bliss of this sweet view,
Pangs by distance caused allays;
And I gather all thy rays, And my look I sharpen too. Round her unveil'd limbs I see
Brighter still become the glow,
And she draws me down below, As Endymion once drew thee.
1767-9. ——- THE WEDDING NIGHT.
WITHIN the chamber, far away
From the glad feast, sits Love in dread Lest guests disturb, in wanton play,
The silence of the bridal bed. His torch's pale flame serves to gild
The scene with mystic sacred glow; The room with incense-clouds is fil'd,
That ye may perfect rapture know.
How beats thy heart, when thou dost hear
The chime that warns thy guests to fly! How glow'st thou for those lips so dear,
That soon are mute, and nought deny! With her into the holy place
Thou hast'nest then, to perfect all; The fire the warder's hands embrace,
Grows, like a night-light, dim and small.
How heaves her bosom, and how burns
Her face at every fervent kiss! Her coldness now to trembling turns,
Thy daring now a duty is. Love helps thee to undress her fast,
But thou art twice as fast as he; And then he shuts both eye at last,
With sly and roguish modesty.
1767. ——- MISCHIEVOUS JOY.
AS a butterfly renew'd,
When in life I breath'd my last,
To the spots my flight I wing,
Scenes of heav'nly rapture past,
Over meadows, to the spring, Round the hill, and through the wood.
Soon a tender pair I spy,
And I look down from my seat
On the beauteous maiden's head—
When embodied there I meet
All I lost as soon as dead, Happy as before am I.
Him she clasps with silent smile,
And his mouth the hour improves,
Sent by kindly Deities;
First from breast to mouth it roves,
Then from mouth to hands it flies, And I round him sport the while.
And she sees me hov'ring near;
Trembling at her lovers rapture,
Up she springs—I fly away,
"Dearest! let's the insect capture
Come! I long to make my prey Yonder pretty little dear!"
1767-9. ——- APPARENT DEATH.
WEEP, maiden, weep here o'er the tomb of Love;
He died of nothing—by mere chance was slain. But is he really dead?—oh, that I cannot prove:
A nothing, a mere chance, oft gives him life again.
1767-9. ——- 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.* ——- TO THE CHOSEN ONE. [This sweet song is doubtless one of those addressed to Frederica.]
HAND in hand! and lip to lip!
Oh, be faithful, maiden dear! Fare thee well! thy lover's ship
Past full many a rock must steers But should he the haven see,
When the storm has ceased to break, And be happy, reft of thee,—
May the Gods fierce vengeance take!
Boldly dared is well nigh won!
Half my task is solved aright; Ev'ry star's to me a sun,
Only cowards deem it night. Stood I idly by thy side,
Sorrow still would sadden me; But when seas our paths divide,
Gladly toil I,—toil for thee!
Now the valley I perceive,
Where together we will go, And the streamlet watch each eve,
Gliding peacefully below Oh, the poplars on yon spot!
Oh, the beech trees in yon grove! And behind we'll build a cot,
Where to taste the joys of love!
1771. ——- FIRST LOSS.
AH! who'll e'er those days restore,
Those bright days of early love Who'll one hour again concede,
Of that time so fondly cherish'd! Silently my wounds I feed, And with wailing evermore
Sorrow o'er each joy now perish'd. Ah! who'll e'er the days restore
Of that time so fondly cherish'd.
1789.* ——- AFTER-SENSATIONS.
WHEN the vine again is blowing,
Then the wine moves in the cask; When the rose again is glowing,
Wherefore should I feel oppress'd?
Down my cheeks run tears all-burning,
If I do, or leave my task; I but feel a speechless yearning,
That pervades my inmost breast.
But at length I see the reason,
When the question I would ask: 'Twas in such a beauteous season,
Doris glowed to make me blest!
1797. ——- 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. ——- PRESENCE.
ALL things give token of thee! As soon as the bright sun is shining, Thou too wilt follow, I trust.
When in the garden thou walk'st, Thou then art the rose of all roses, Lily of lilies as well.
When thou dost move in the dance, Then each constellation moves also; With thee and round thee they move.
Night! oh, what bliss were the night! For then thou o'ershadow'st the lustre, Dazzling and fair, of the moon.
Dazzling and beauteous art thou, And flowers, and moon, and the planets Homage pay, Sun, but to thee.
Sun! to me also be thou Creator of days bright and glorious; Life and Eternity this!
1813. ——- TO THE DISTANT ONE.
AND have I lost thee evermore?
Hast thou, oh fair one, from me flown? Still in mine ear sounds, as of yore,
Thine ev'ry word, thine ev'ry tone.
As when at morn the wand'rer's eye
Attempts to pierce the air in vain, When, hidden in the azure sky,
The lark high o'er him chaunts his strain:
So do I cast my troubled gaze
Through bush, through forest, o'er the lea; Thou art invoked by all my lays;
Oh, come then, loved one, back to me!
1789.* ——- BY THE RIVER.
FLOW on, ye lays so loved, so fair,
On to Oblivion's ocean flow! May no rapt boy recall you e'er,
No maiden in her beauty's glow!
My love alone was then your theme,
But now she scorns my passion true. Ye were but written in the stream;
As it flows on, then, flow ye too!
1798.* ——- FAREWELL.
To break one's word is pleasure-fraught,
To do one's duty gives a smart; While man, alas! will promise nought,
That is repugnant to his heart.
Using some magic strains of yore,
Thou lurest him, when scarcely calm, On to sweet folly's fragile bark once more,
Renewing, doubling chance of harm.
Why seek to hide thyself from me?
Fly not my sight—be open then! Known late or early it must be,
And here thou hast thy word again.
My duty is fulfill'd to-day,
No longer will I guard thee from surprise; But, oh, forgive the friend who from thee turns away,
And to himself for refuge flies!
1797. ——- THE EXCHANGE.
THE stones in the streamlet I make my bright pillow, And open my arms to the swift-rolling billow,
That lovingly hastens to fall on my breast. Then fickleness soon bids it onwards be flowing; A second draws nigh, its caresses bestowing,—
And so by a twofold enjoyment I'm blest.
And yet thou art trailing in sorrow and sadness The moments that life, as it flies, gave for gladness,
Because by thy love thou'rt remember'd no more! Oh, call back to mind former days and their blisses! The lips of the second will give as sweet kisses
As any the lips of the first gave before!
1767-9. ——- WELCOME AND FAREWELL.
[Another of the love-songs addressed to Frederica.]
QUICK throbb'd my heart: to norse! haste, haste,
And lo! 'twas done with speed of light; The evening soon the world embraced,
And o'er the mountains hung the night. Soon stood, in robe of mist, the oak,
A tow'ring giant in his size, Where darkness through the thicket broke,
And glared with hundred gloomy eyes.
From out a hill of clouds the moon
With mournful gaze began to peer: The winds their soft wings flutter'd soon,
And murmur'd in mine awe-struck ear; The night a thousand monsters made,
Yet fresh and joyous was my mind; What fire within my veins then play'd!
What glow was in my bosom shrin'd!
I saw thee, and with tender pride
Felt thy sweet gaze pour joy on me; While all my heart was at thy side.
And every breath I breath'd for thee. The roseate hues that spring supplies
Were playing round thy features fair, And love for me—ye Deities!
I hoped it, I deserved it ne'er!
But, when the morning sun return'd,
Departure filled with grief my heart: Within thy kiss, what rapture burn'd!
But in thy look, what bitter smart! I went—thy gaze to earth first roved
Thou follow'dst me with tearful eye: And yet, what rapture to be loved!
And, Gods, to love—what ecstasy!
1771. ——- NEW LOVE, NEW LIFE.
[Written at the time of Goethe's connection with Lily.]
HEART! my heart! what means this feeling?
What oppresseth thee so sore? What strange life is o'er me stealing!
I acknowledge thee no more. Fled is all that gave thee gladness, Fled the cause of all thy sadness,
Fled thy peace, thine industry—
Ah, why suffer it to be?
Say, do beauty's graces youthful,
Does this form so fair and bright, Does this gaze, so kind, so truthful,
Chain thee with unceasing might? Would I tear me from her boldly, Courage take, and fly her coldly,
Back to her. I'm forthwith led
By the path I seek to tread.
By a thread I ne'er can sever,
For 'tis 'twined with magic skill, Doth the cruel maid for ever
Hold me fast against my will. While those magic chains confine me, To her will I must resign me.
Ah, the change in truth is great!
Love! kind love! release me straight!
1775. ——- TO BELINDA.
[This song was also written for Lily. Goethe mentions, at the end of his Autobiography, that he overheard her singing it one evening after he had taken his last farewell of her.]
WHEREFORE drag me to yon glittering eddy,
With resistless might? Was I, then, not truly blest already
In the silent night?
In my secret chamber refuge taking,
'Neath the moon's soft ray, And her awful light around me breaking,
Musing there I lay.
And I dream'd of hours with joy o'erflowing,
Golden, truly blest, While thine image so beloved was glowing
Deep within my breast.
Now to the card-table hast thou bound me,
'Midst the torches glare? Whilst unhappy faces are around me,
Dost thou hold me there?
Spring-flow'rs are to me more rapture-giving,
Now conceal'd from view; Where thou, angel, art, is Nature living,
Love and kindness too.
1775. ——- MAY SONG.
How fair doth Nature
Appear again! How bright the sunbeams!
How smiles the plain!
The flow'rs are bursting
From ev'ry bough, And thousand voices
Each bush yields now.
And joy and gladness
Fill ev'ry breast! Oh earth!—oh sunlight!
Oh rapture blest!
Oh love! oh loved one!
As golden bright, As clouds of morning
On yonder height!
Thou blessest gladly
The smiling field,— The world in fragrant
Oh maiden, maiden,
How love I thee! Thine eye, how gleams it!
How lov'st thou me!
The blithe lark loveth
Sweet song and air, The morning flow'ret
Heav'n's incense fair,
As I now love thee
With fond desire, For thou dost give me
Youth, joy, and fire,
For new-born dances
And minstrelsy. Be ever happy,
As thou lov'st me!
1775.* ——- WITH A PAINTED RIBBON.
LITTLE leaves and flow'rets too,
Scatter we with gentle hand, Kind young spring-gods to the view,
Sporting on an airy band.
Zephyr, bear it on the wing,
Twine it round my loved one's dress; To her glass then let her spring,
Full of eager joyousness.
Roses round her let her see,
She herself a youthful rose. Grant, dear life, one look to me!
'Twill repay me all my woes,
What this bosom feels, feel thou.
Freely offer me thy hand; Let the band that joins us now
Be no fragile rosy band!
1770. ——- WITH A GOLDEN NECKLACE.
THIS page a chain to bring thee burns,
That, train'd to suppleness of old, On thy fair neck to nestle, yearns,
In many a hundred little fold.
To please the silly thing consent!
'Tis harmless, and from boldness free; By day a trifling ornament,
At night 'tis cast aside by thee.
But if the chain they bring thee ever,
Heavier, more fraught with weal or woe, I'd then, Lisette, reproach thee never
If thou shouldst greater scruples show.
1775.* ——- ON THE LAKE,
[Written on the occasion of Goethe's starting with his friend Passavant on a Swiss Tour.]
I DRINK fresh nourishment, new blood
From out this world more free; The Nature is so kind and good
That to her breast clasps me! The billows toss our bark on high,
And with our oars keep time, While cloudy mountains tow'rd the sky
Before our progress climb.
Say, mine eye, why sink'st thou down? Golden visions, are ye flown?
Hence, thou dream, tho' golden-twin'd;
Here, too, love and life I find.
Over the waters are blinking
Many a thousand fair star; Gentle mists are drinking
Round the horizon afar. Round the shady creek lightly
Morning zephyrs awake, And the ripen'd fruit brightly
Mirrors itself in the lake.
1775. ——- FROM THE MOUNTAIN.
[Written just after the preceding one, on a mountain overlooking the Lake of Zurich.]
IF I, dearest Lily, did not love thee,
How this prospect would enchant my sight! And yet if I, Lily, did not love thee,
Could I find, or here, or there, delight?
1775. ——- FLOWER-SALUTE.
THIS nosegay,—'twas I dress'd it,—
Greets thee a thousand times! Oft stoop'd I, and caress'd it,
Ah! full a thousand times, And 'gainst my bosom press'd it
A hundred thousand times!
1815.* ——- 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.* ——- MAY SONG.
BETWEEN wheatfield and corn, Between hedgerow and thorn, Between pasture and tree, Where's my sweetheart Tell it me!
Sweetheart caught I
Not at home; She's then, thought I.
Gone to roam. Fair and loving
Blooms sweet May; Sweetheart's roving,
Free and gay.
By the rock near the wave, Where her first kiss she gave, On the greensward, to me,— Something I see! Is it she?
1812. ——- PREMATURE SPRING.
DAYS full of rapture,
Are ye renew'd ?— Smile in the sunlight
Mountain and wood?
Streams richer laden
Flow through the dale, Are these the meadows?
Is this the vale?
Heaven and height! Fish crowd the ocean,
Golden and bright.
Birds of gay plumage
Sport in the grove, Heavenly numbers
Under the verdure's
Vigorous bloom, Bees, softly bumming,
Quivers in air, Sleep-causing fragrance,
Motion so fair.
Soon with more power
Rises the breeze, Then in a moment
Dies in the trees.
But to the bosom
Comes it again. Aid me, ye Muses,
Bliss to sustain!
Say what has happen'd
Since yester e'en? Oh, ye fair sisters,
Her I have seen!
1802. ——- AUTUMN FEELINGS.
FLOURISH greener, as ye clamber, Oh ye leaves, to seek my chamber,
Up the trellis'd vine on high! May ye swell, twin-berries tender, Juicier far,—and with more splendour
Ripen, and more speedily! O'er ye broods the sun at even As he sinks to rest, and heaven
Softly breathes into your ear All its fertilising fullness, While the moon's refreshing coolness,
Magic-laden, hovers near; And, alas! ye're watered ever
By a stream of tears that rill From mine eyes—tears ceasing never,
Tears of love that nought can still!
1775.* ——- RESTLESS LOVE.
THROUGH rain, through snow, Through tempest go! 'Mongst streaming caves, O'er misty waves, On, on! still on! Peace, rest have flown!
Sooner through sadness
I'd wish to be slain, Than all the gladness
Of life to sustain All the fond yearning
That heart feels for heart, Only seems burning
To make them both smart.
How shall I fly? Forestwards hie? Vain were all strife! Bright crown of life. Turbulent bliss,— Love, thou art this!
1789. ——- THE SHEPHERD'S LAMENT.
ON yonder lofty mountain
A thousand times I stand, And on my staff reclining,
Look down on the smiling land.
My grazing flocks then I follow,
My dog protecting them well; I find myself in the valley,
But how, I scarcely can tell.
The whole of the meadow is cover'd
With flowers of beauty rare; I pluck them, but pluck them unknowing
To whom the offering to bear.
In rain and storm and tempest,
I tarry beneath the tree, But closed remaineth yon portal;
'Tis all but a vision to me.
High over yonder dwelling,
There rises a rainbow gay; But she from home hath departed
And wander'd far, far away.
Yes, far away bath she wander'd,
Perchance e'en over the sea; Move onward, ye sheep, then, move onward!
Full sad the shepherd must be.
1803.* ——- COMFORT IN TEARS.
How happens it that thou art sad,
While happy all appear? Thine eye proclaims too well that thou
Hast wept full many a tear.
"If I have wept in solitude,
None other shares my grief, And tears to me sweet balsam are,
And give my heart relief."
Thy happy friends invite thee now,—
Oh come, then, to our breast! And let the loss thou hast sustain'd
Be there to us confess'd!
"Ye shout, torment me, knowing not
What 'tis afflicteth me; Ah no! I have sustained no loss,
Whate'er may wanting be."
If so it is, arise in haste!
Thou'rt young and full of life. At years like thine, man's blest with strength.
And courage for the strife.
"Ah no! in vain 'twould be to strive,
The thing I seek is far; It dwells as high, it gleams as fair
As yonder glitt'ring star."
The stars we never long to clasp,
We revel in their light, And with enchantment upward gaze,
Each clear and radiant night.
"And I with rapture upward gaze,
On many a blissful day; Then let me pass the night in tears,
Till tears are wip'd away!
1803.* ——- NIGHT SONG,
WHEN on thy pillow lying,
Half listen, I implore, And at my lute's soft sighing,
Sleep on! what wouldst thou more?
For at my lute's soft sighing
The stars their blessings pour On feelings never-dying;
Sleep on! what wouldst thou more?
Those feelings never-dying
My spirit aid to soar From earthly conflicts trying;
Sleep on! what wouldst thou more?
From earthly conflicts trying
Thou driv'st me to this shore; Through thee I'm thither flying,—
Sleep on! what wouldst thou more?
Through thee I'm hither flying,
Thou wilt not list before In slumbers thou art lying:
Sleep on! what wouldst thou more?
1803.* ——- LONGING.
WHAT pulls at my heart so?
What tells me to roam? What drags me and lures me
From chamber and home? How round the cliffs gather
The clouds high in air! I fain would go thither,
I fain would be there!
The sociable flight
Of the ravens comes back; I mingle amongst them,
And follow their track. Round wall and round mountain
Together we fly; She tarries below there,
I after her spy.
Then onward she wanders,
My flight I wing soon To the wood fill'd with bushes,
A bird of sweet tune. She tarries and hearkens,
And smiling, thinks she: "How sweetly he's singing!
He's singing to me!"
The heights are illum'd
By the fast setting sun; The pensive fair maiden
Looks thoughtfully on; She roams by the streamlet,
O'er meadows she goes, And darker and darker
The pathway fast grows.
I rise on a sudden,
A glimmering star; "What glitters above me,
So near and so far?"
And when thou with wonder
Hast gazed on the light, I fall down before thee,
Entranced by thy sight!
1803. ——- TO MIGNON.
OVER vale and torrent far Rolls along the sun's bright car. Ah! he wakens in his course
Mine, as thy deep-seated smart
In the heart. Ev'ry morning with new force.
Scarce avails night aught to me; E'en the visions that I see Come but in a mournful guise;
And I feel this silent smart
In my heart With creative pow'r arise.
During many a beauteous year I have seen ships 'neath me steer, As they seek the shelt'ring bay;
But, alas, each lasting smart
In my heart Floats not with the stream away.
I must wear a gala dress, Long stored up within my press, For to-day to feasts is given;
None know with what bitter smart
Is my heart Fearfully and madly riven.
Secretly I weep each tear, Yet can cheerful e'en appear, With a face of healthy red;
For if deadly were this silent smart
In my heart, Ah, I then had long been dead! ——- THE MOUNTAIN CASTLE.
THERE stands on yonder high mountain
A castle built of yore, Where once lurked horse and horseman
In rear of gate and of door.
Now door and gate are in ashes,
And all around is so still; And over the fallen ruins
I clamber just as I will.
Below once lay a cellar,
With costly wines well stor'd; No more the glad maid with her pitcher
Descends there to draw from the hoard.
No longer the goblet she places
Before the guests at the feast; The flask at the meal so hallow'd
No longer she fills for the priest.
No more for the eager squire
The draught in the passage is pour'd; No more for the flying present
Receives she the flying reward.
For all the roof and the rafters,
They all long since have been burn'd, And stairs and passage and chapel
To rubbish and ruins are turn'd.
Yet when with lute and with flagon,
When day was smiling and bright, I've watch'd my mistress climbing
To gain this perilous height,
Then rapture joyous and radiant
The silence so desolate brake, And all, as in days long vanish'd,
Once more to enjoyment awoke;
As if for guests of high station
The largest rooms were prepared; As if from those times so precious
A couple thither had fared;
As if there stood in his chapel
The priest in his sacred dress, And ask'd: "Would ye twain be united?"
And we, with a smile, answer'd, "Yes!"
And songs that breath'd a deep feeling,
That touched the heart's innermost chord, The music-fraught mouth of sweet echo,
Instead of the many, outpour'd.
And when at eve all was hidden
In silence unbroken and deep, The glowing sun then look'd upwards,
And gazed on the summit so steep.
And squire and maiden then glitter'd
As bright and gay as a lord, She seized the time for her present,
And he to give her reward.
1803.* ——- THE SPIRIT'S SALUTE.
THE hero's noble shade stands high
On yonder turret grey; And as the ship is sailing by,
He speeds it on his way.
"See with what strength these sinews thrill'd!
This heart, how firm and wild! These bones, what knightly marrow fill'd!
This cup, how bright it smil'd!
"Half of my life I strove and fought,
And half I calmly pass'd; And thou, oh ship with beings fraught,
Sail safely to the last!"
1774. ——- TO A GOLDEN HEART THAT HE WORE ROUND HIS NECK.
[Addressed, during the Swiss tour already mentioned, to a present Lily had given him, during the time of their happy connection, which was then about to be terminated for ever.]
OH thou token loved of joys now perish'd
That I still wear from my neck suspended, Art thou stronger than our spirit-bond so cherish'd?
Or canst thou prolong love's days untimely ended?
Lily, I fly from thee! I still am doom'd to range Thro' countries strange,
Thro' distant vales and woods, link'd on to thee! Ah, Lily's heart could surely never fall
So soon away from me!
As when a bird bath broken from his thrall,
And seeks the forest green, Proof of imprisonment he bears behind him, A morsel of the thread once used to bind him;
The free-born bird of old no more is seen,
For he another's prey bath been.
1775. ——- THE BLISS OF SORROW.
NEVER dry, never dry,
Tears that eternal love sheddeth! How dreary, how dead doth the world still appear, When only half-dried on the eye is the tear!
Never dry, never dry,
Tears that unhappy love sheddeth!
1789.* ——- THE WANDERER'S NIGHT-SONG.
THOU who comest from on high,
Who all woes and sorrows stillest, Who, for twofold misery,
Hearts with twofold balsam fillest, Would this constant strife would cease!
What are pain and rapture now? Blissful Peace,
To my bosom hasten thou!
1789.* ——- THE SAME.
[Written at night on the Kickelhahn, a hill in the forest of Ilmenau, on the walls of a little hermitage where Goethe composed the last act of his Iphigenia.]
HUSH'D on the hill
Is the breeze;
Scarce by the zephyr
Softly are press'd; The woodbird's asleep on the bough. Wait, then, and thou
Soon wilt find rest.
1783. ——- THE HUNTER'S EVEN-SONG.
THE plain with still and wand'ring feet,
And gun full-charged, I tread, And hov'ring see thine image sweet,
Thine image dear, o'er head.
In gentle silence thou dost fare
Through field and valley dear; But doth my fleeting image ne'er
To thy mind's eye appear?
His image, who, by grief oppress'd,
Roams through the world forlorn, And wanders on from east to west,
Because from thee he's torn?
When I would think of none but thee,
Mine eyes the moon survey; A calm repose then steals o'er me,
But how, 'twere hard to say.
1776,* ——- TO THE MOON.
BUSH and vale thou fill'st again
With thy misty ray, And my spirit's heavy chain
Castest far away.
Thou dost o'er my fields extend
Thy sweet soothing eye, Watching like a gentle friend,
O'er my destiny.
Vanish'd days of bliss and woe
Haunt me with their tone, Joy and grief in turns I know,
As I stray alone.
Stream beloved, flow on! flow on!
Ne'er can I be gay! Thus have sport and kisses gone,
Truth thus pass'd away.
Once I seem'd the lord to be
Of that prize so fair! Now, to our deep sorrow, we
Can forget it ne'er.
Murmur, stream, the vale along,
Never cease thy sighs; Murmur, whisper to my song
When thou in the winter's night
Overflow'st in wrath, Or in spring-time sparklest bright,
As the buds shoot forth.
He who from the world retires,
Void of hate, is blest; Who a friend's true love inspires,
Leaning on his breast!
That which heedless man ne'er knew,
Or ne'er thought aright, Roams the bosom's labyrinth through,
Boldly into night.
1789.* ——- TO LINA.
SHOULD these songs, love, as they fleet,
Chance again to reach thy hand, At the piano take thy seat,
Where thy friend was wont to stand!
Sweep with finger bold the string,
Then the book one moment see: But read not! do nought but sing!
And each page thine own will be!
Ah, what grief the song imparts
With its letters, black on white, That, when breath'd by thee, our hearts
Now can break and now delight!
1800.* ——- EVER AND EVERYWHERE.
FAR explore the mountain hollow, High in air the clouds then follow!
To each brook and vale the Muse
Thousand times her call renews.
Soon as a flow'ret blooms in spring, It wakens many a strain;
And when Time spreads his fleeting wing,
The seasons come again.
1820.* ——- PETITION.
OH thou sweet maiden fair, Thou with the raven hair,
Why to the window go?
While gazing down below, Art standing vainly there?
Oh, if thou stood'st for me, And lett'st the latch but fly,
How happy should I be! How soon would I leap high!
1789.* ——- TO HIS COY ONE.
SEEST thou yon smiling Orange? Upon the tree still hangs it; Already March bath vanish'd, And new-born flow'rs are shooting. I draw nigh to the tree then, And there I say: Oh Orange, Thou ripe and juicy Orange, Thou sweet and luscious Orange, I shake the tree, I shake it, Oh fall into my lap!
1789.* ——- NIGHT THOUGHTS.
OH, unhappy stars! your fate I mourn,
Ye by whom the sea-toss'd sailor's lighted, Who with radiant beams the heav'ns adorn,
But by gods and men are unrequited: For ye love not,—ne'er have learnt to love! Ceaselessly in endless dance ye move, In the spacious sky your charms displaying,
What far travels ye have hasten'd through, Since, within my loved one's arms delaying,
I've forgotten you and midnight too!
1789.* ——- 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.* ——- 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.* ——- 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. ——- ROLLICKING HANS.
HALLO there! A glass!
Ha! the draught's truly sweet! If for drink go my shoes,
I shall still have my feet.
A maiden and wine,
With sweet music and song,— I would they were mine,
All life's journey along!
If I depart from this sad sphere, And leave a will behind me here, A suit at law will be preferr'd, But as for thanks,—the deuce a word! So ere I die, I squander all, And that a proper will I call.
Hallo there! A glass!
Ha! the draught's truly sweet If thou keepest thy shoes,
Thou wilt then spare thy feet.
A maiden and wine,
With sweet music and song, On pavement, are thine,
All life's journey along! ——- THE FREEBOOTER,
No door has my house,
No house has my door; And in and out ever
I carry my store.
No grate has my kitchen,
No kitchen my grate; Yet roasts it and boils it
Both early and late.
My bed has no trestles,
My trestles no bed; Yet merrier moments
No mortal e'er led.
My cellar is lofty,
My barn is full deep, From top to the bottom,—
There lie I and sleep.
And soon as I waken,
All moves on its race; My place has no fixture,
My fixture no place.
1827.* ——- JOY AND SORROW.
As a fisher-boy I fared
To the black rock in the sea, And, while false gifts I prepared.
Listen'd and sang merrily, Down descended the decoy,
Soon a fish attack'd the bait; One exultant shout of joy,—
And the fish was captured straight.
Ah! on shore, and to the wood
Past the cliffs, o'er stock and stone, One foot's traces I pursued,
And the maiden was alone. Lips were silent, eyes downcast
As a clasp-knife snaps the bait, With her snare she seized me fast,
And the boy was captured straight.
Heav'n knows who's the happy swain
That she rambles with anew! I must dare the sea again,
Spite of wind and weather too. When the great and little fish
Wail and flounder in my net, Straight returns my eager wish
In her arms to revel yet!
1815. ——- MARCH.
THE snow-flakes fall in showers,
The time is absent still, When all Spring's beauteous flowers, When all Spring's beauteous flowers
Our hearts with joy shall fill.
With lustre false and fleeting
The sun's bright rays are thrown; The swallow's self is cheating: The swallow's self is cheating,
And why? He comes alone!
Can I e'er feel delighted
Alone, though Spring is near? Yet when we are united, Yet when we are united,
The Summer will be here.
1817. ——- APRIL.
TELL me, eyes, what 'tis ye're seeking;
For ye're saying something sweet,
Fit the ravish'd ear to greet, Eloquently, softly speaking.
Yet I see now why ye're roving;
For behind those eyes so bright,
To itself abandon'd quite, Lies a bosom, truthful, loving,—
One that it must fill with pleasure
'Mongst so many, dull and blind,
One true look at length to find, That its worth can rightly treasure.
Whilst I'm lost in studying ever
To explain these cyphers duly,—
To unravel my looks truly In return be your endeavour!
1820. ——- MAY.
LIGHT and silv'ry cloudlets hover
In the air, as yet scarce warm; Mild, with glimmer soft tinged over,
Peeps the sun through fragrant balm. Gently rolls and heaves the ocean
As its waves the bank o'erflow. And with ever restless motion
Moves the verdure to and fro,
Mirror'd brightly far below.
What is now the foliage moving?
Air is still, and hush'd the breeze, Sultriness, this fullness loving,
Through the thicket, from the trees. Now the eye at once gleams brightly,
See! the infant band with mirth Moves and dances nimbly, lightly,
As the morning gave it birth,
Flutt'ring two and two o'er earth.
* * * *
1816. ——- JUNE.
SHE behind yon mountain lives, Who my love's sweet guerdon gives. Tell me, mount, how this can be! Very glass thou seem'st to me, And I seem to be close by, For I see her drawing nigh; Now, because I'm absent, sad, Now, because she sees me, glad!
Soon between us rise to sight Valleys cool, with bushes light, Streams and meadows; next appear
Mills and wheels, the surest token That a level spot is near,
Plains far-stretching and unbroken. And so onwards, onwards roam, To my garden and my home!
But how comes it then to pass? All this gives no joy, alas!— I was ravish'd by her sight, By her eyes so fair and bright, By her footstep soft and light. How her peerless charms I praised, When from head to foot I gazed! I am here, she's far away,— I am gone, with her to stay.
If on rugged hills she wander,
If she haste the vale along, Pinions seem to flutter yonder,
And the air is fill'd with song; With the glow of youth still playing,
Joyous vigour in each limb, One in silence is delaying,
She alone 'tis blesses him.
Love, thou art too fair, I ween! Fairer I have never seen! From the heart full easily Blooming flowers are cull'd by thee. If I think: "Oh, were it so," Bone and marrow seen to glow! If rewarded by her love, Can I greater rapture prove?
And still fairer is the bride, When in me she will confide, When she speaks and lets me know All her tale of joy and woe. All her lifetime's history Now is fully known to me. Who in child or woman e'er Soul and body found so fair?
1815. ——- NEXT YEAR'S SPRING.
THE bed of flowers
Loosens amain, The beauteous snowdrops
Droop o'er the plain. The crocus opens
Its glowing bud, Like emeralds others,
Others, like blood. With saucy gesture
Primroses flare, And roguish violets,
Hidden with care; And whatsoever
There stirs and strives, The Spring's contented,
If works and thrives.
'Mongst all the blossoms
That fairest are, My sweetheart's sweetness
Is sweetest far; Upon me ever
Her glances light, My song they waken,
My words make bright, An ever open
And blooming mind, In sport, unsullied,
In earnest, kind. Though roses and lilies
By Summer are brought, Against my sweetheart
Prevails he nought.
1816. ——- AT MIDNIGHT HOUR.
[Goethe relates that a remarkable situation he was in one bright moonlight night led to the composition of this sweet song, which was "the dearer to him because he could not say whence it came and whither it would."]
AT midnight hour I went, not willingly,
A little, little boy, yon churchyard past, To Father Vicar's house; the stars on high
On all around their beauteous radiance cast,
At midnight hour.
And when, in journeying o'er the path of life,
My love I follow'd, as she onward moved, With stars and northern lights o'er head in strife,
Going and coming, perfect bliss I proved
At midnight hour.
Until at length the full moon, lustre-fraught,
Burst thro' the gloom wherein she was enshrined; And then the willing, active, rapid thought
Around the past, as round the future twined,
At midnight hour.
1818. ——- TO THE RISING FULL MOON.
Dornburg, 25th August, 1828.
WILT thou suddenly enshroud thee,
Who this moment wert so nigh? Heavy rising masses cloud thee,
Thou art hidden from mine eye.
Yet my sadness thou well knowest,
Gleaming sweetly as a star! That I'm loved, 'tis thou that showest,
Though my loved one may be far.
Upward mount then! clearer, milder,
Robed in splendour far more bright! Though my heart with grief throbs wilder,
Fraught with rapture is the night!
1828. ——- THE BRIDEGROOM.*
(Not in the English sense of the word, but the German, where it has the meaning of betrothed.)
I SLEPT,—'twas midnight,—in my bosom woke,
As though 'twere day, my love-o'erflowing heart; To me it seemed like night, when day first broke;
What is't to me, whate'er it may impart?
She was away; the world's unceasing strife
For her alone I suffer'd through the heat Of sultry day; oh, what refreshing life
At cooling eve!—my guerdon was complete.
The sun now set, and wand'ring hand in hand,
His last and blissful look we greeted then; While spake our eyes, as they each other scann'd:
"From the far east, let's trust, he'll come again!"
At midnight!—the bright stars, in vision blest,
Guide to the threshold where she slumbers calm: Oh be it mine, there too at length to rest,—
Yet howsoe'er this prove, life's full of charm!
1828. ——- SUCH, SUCH IS HE WHO PLEASETH ME.
FLY, dearest, fly! He is not nigh!
He who found thee one fair morn in Spring
In the wood where thou thy flight didst wing. Fly, dearest, fly! He is not nigh! Never rests the foot of evil spy.
Hark! flutes' sweet strains and love's refrains
Reach the loved one, borne there by the wind,
In the soft heart open doors they find. Hark! flutes' sweet strains and love's refrains, Hark!—yet blissful love their echo pains.
Erect his head, and firm his tread,
Raven hair around his smooth brow strays,
On his cheeks a Spring eternal plays. Erect his head, and firm his tread, And by grace his ev'ry step is led.