The Poems of Goethe
Part 2 out of 11
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.
[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!
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!
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.
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!
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;
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!
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.
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.
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!"
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.
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.
TO THE CHOSEN ONE.
[This sweet song is doubtless one of those addressed to
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
[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.
How fair doth Nature
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
Be ever happy,
As thou lov'st me!
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!
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.
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.
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?
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!
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,
Where sunlight was drown'd,
How little there was earth to me,
With all its beauteous majesty!
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;
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?
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,
Under the verdure's
Bees, softly bumming,
Quivers in air,
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!
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!
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?
Vain were all strife!
Bright crown of life.
Love, thou art this!
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.
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!
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?
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!
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.
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!"
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.
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!
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?
To my bosom hasten thou!
[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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
JOY AND SORROW.
As a fisher-boy I fared
To the black rock in the sea,
And, while false gifts I prepared.
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