'Tis well in days of age and youth so fair,
One on the other boldly to inflame;
And if those words together link'd we name, A blissful rapture we discover there.
But now to give them pleasure do I seek,
And in myself my happiness would find;
I hope in silence, but I hope for this:
Gently, as loved one's names, those words to speak
To see them both within one image shrin'd,
Both in one being to embrace with bliss.
——- In these numbers be express'd Meaning deep, 'neath merry jest. ——-
A FELLOW says: "I own no school or college; No master lives whom I acknowledge; And pray don't entertain the thought That from the dead I e'er learnt aught." This, if I rightly understand, Means: "I'm a blockhead at first hand."
1815. ——- THE SOLDIER'S CONSOLATION.
No! in truth there's here no lack: White the bread, the maidens black! To another town, next night: Black the bread, the maidens white!
1815.* ——- GENIAL IMPULSE.
THUS roll I, never taking ease, My tub, like Saint Diogenes, Now serious am, now seek to please; Now love and hate in turn one sees; The motives now are those, now these; Now nothings, now realities. Thus roll I, never taking ease, My tub, like Saint Diogenes.
1810. ——- NEITHER THIS NOR THAT.
IF thou to be a slave shouldst will, Thou'lt get no pity, but fare ill; And if a master thou wouldst be, The world will view it angrily; And if in statu quo thou stay, That thou art but a fool, they'll say.
1815.* ——- THE WAY TO BEHAVE.
THOUGH tempers are bad and peevish folks swear, Remember to ruffle thy brows, friend, ne'er; And let not the fancies of women so fair E'er serve thy pleasure in life to impair.
1815.* ——- THE BEST.
WHEN head and heart are busy, say,
What better can be found? Who neither loves nor goes astray,
Were better under ground.
1815.* ——- AS BROAD AS IT'S LONG.
MODEST men must needs endure,
And the bold must humbly bow; Thus thy fate's the same, be sure,
Whether bold or modest thou.
1815.* ——- THE RULE OF LIFE.
IF thou wouldst live unruffled by care, Let not the past torment thee e'er; As little as possible be thou annoy'd, And let the present be ever enjoy'd; Ne'er let thy breast with hate be supplied, And to God the future confide.
1815.* ——- THE SAME, EXPANDED.
IF thou wouldst live unruffled by care, Let not the past torment thee e'er; If any loss thou hast to rue, Act as though thou wert born anew; Inquire the meaning of each day, What each day means itself will say; In thine own actions take thy pleasure, What others do, thou'lt duly treasure; Ne'er let thy breast with hate be supplied, And to God the future confide.
IF wealth is gone—then something is gone!
Quick, make up thy mind,
And fresh wealth find. If honour is gone—then much is gone!
Seek glory to find,
And people then will alter their mind. If courage is gone—then all is gone! 'Twere better that thou hadst never been born.
HE who with life makes sport,
Can prosper never; Who rules himself in nought,
Is a slave ever.
MAY each honest effort be
Crown'd with lasting constancy.
EACH road to the proper end Runs straight on, without a bend.
1825. ——- CALM AT SEA.
SILENCE deep rules o'er the waters,
Calmly slumb'ring lies the main, While the sailor views with trouble
Nought but one vast level plain.
Not a zephyr is in motion!
Silence fearful as the grave! In the mighty waste of ocean
Sunk to rest is ev'ry wave.
1795. ——- THE PROSPEROUS VOYAGE.
THE mist is fast clearing. And radiant is heaven, Whilst AEolus loosens Our anguish-fraught bond. The zephyrs are sighing, Alert is the sailor. Quick! nimbly be plying! The billows are riven, The distance approaches; I see land beyond!
1795. ——- COURAGE.
CARELESSLY over the plain away, Where by the boldest man no path Cut before thee thou canst discern, Make for thyself a path!
Silence, loved one, my heart! Cracking, let it not break! Breaking, break not with thee!
1776.* ——- MY ONLY PROPERTY.
I FEEL that I'm possess'd of nought, Saving the free unfetterd thought
Which from my bosom seeks to flow, And each propitious passing hour That suffers me in all its power
A loving fate with truth to know.
1814. ——- ADMONITION.
WHEREFORE ever ramble on?
For the Good is lying near, Fortune learn to seize alone,
For that Fortune's ever here.
1789. ——- OLD AGE.
OLD age is courteous—no one more: For time after time he knocks at the door, But nobody says, "Walk in, sir, pray!" Yet turns he not from the door away, But lifts the latch, and enters with speed. And then they cry "A cool one, indeed!"
1814. ——- EPITAPH.
As a boy, reserved and naughty; As a youth, a coxcomb and haughty; As a man, for action inclined; As a greybeard, fickle in mind.— Upon thy grave will people read: This was a very man, indeed!
1815.* ——- RULES FOR MONARCHS.
IF men are never their thoughts to employ, Take care to provide them a life full of joy; But if to some profit and use thou wouldst bend them, Take care to shear them, and then defend them.
1815.* ——- PAULO POST FUTURI.
WEEP ye not, ye children dear,
That as yet ye are unborn: For each sorrow and each tear
Makes the father's heart to mourn.
Patient be a short time to it,
Unproduced, and known to none; If your father cannot do it,
By your mother 'twill be done.
1784. ——- THE FOOL'S EPILOGUE.
MANY good works I've done and ended, Ye take the praise—I'm not offended; For in the world, I've always thought Each thing its true position hath sought. When praised for foolish deeds am I, I set off laughing heartily; When blamed for doing something good, I take it in an easy mood. If some one stronger gives me hard blows, That it's a jest, I feign to suppose: But if 'tis one that's but my own like, I know the way such folks to strike. When Fortune smiles, I merry grow, And sing in dulci jubilo; When sinks her wheel, and tumbles me o'er, I think 'tis sure to rise once more.
In the sunshine of summer I ne'er lament, Because the winter it cannot prevent; And when the white snow-flakes fall around, I don my skates, and am off with a bound. Though I dissemble as I will, The sun for me will ne'er stand still; The old and wonted course is run, Until the whole of life is done; Each day the servant like the lord, In turns comes home, and goes abroad; If proud or humble the line they take, They all must eat, drink, sleep, and wake. So nothing ever vexes me; Act like the fool, and wise ye'll be!
——- Joy from that in type we borrow, Which in life gives only sorrow. ——- JOY.
A DRAGON-FLY with beauteous wing Is hov'ring o'er a silv'ry spring; I watch its motions with delight,— Now dark its colours seem, now bright; Chameleon-like appear, now blue, Now red, and now of greenish hue. Would it would come still nearer me, That I its tints might better see
It hovers, flutters, resting ne'er!
But hush! it settles on the mead. I have it safe now, I declare!
And when its form I closely view,
'Tis of a sad and dingy blue— Such, Joy-Dissector, is thy case indeed
1767-9. ——- EXPLANATION OF AN ANTIQUE GEM,
A YOUNG fig-tree its form lifts high
Within a beauteous garden; And see, a goat is sitting by.
As if he were its warden.
But oh, Quirites, how one errs!
The tree is guarded badly; For round the other side there whirrs
And hums a beetle madly.
The hero with his well-mail'd coat
Nibbles the branches tall so; A mighty longing feels the goat
Gently to climb up also.
And so, my friends, ere long ye see
The tree all leafless standing; It looks a type of misery,
Help of the gods demanding.
Then listen, ye ingenuous youth,
Who hold wise saws respected: From he-goat and from beetles-tooth
A tree should be protected!
1815. ——- CAT-PIE.
WHILE he is mark'd by vision clear
Who fathoms Nature's treasures, The man may follow, void of fear,
Who her proportions measures.
Though for one mortal, it is true,
These trades may both be fitted, Yet, that the things themselves are two
Must always be admitted.
Once on a time there lived a cook
Whose skill was past disputing, Who in his head a fancy took
To try his luck at shooting.
So, gun in hand, he sought a spot
Where stores of game were breeding, And there ere long a cat he shot
That on young birds was feeding.
This cat he fancied was a hare,
Forming a judgment hasty, So served it up for people's fare,
Well-spiced and in a pasty.
Yet many a guest with wrath was fill'd
(All who had noses tender): The cat that's by the sportsman kill'd
No cook a hare can render.
1810. ——- LEGEND.
THERE lived in the desert a holy man
To whom a goat-footed Faun one day Paid a visit, and thus began
To his surprise: "I entreat thee to pray That grace to me and my friends may be given, That we may be able to mount to Heaven, For great is our thirst for heav'nly bliss." The holy man made answer to this: "Much danger is lurking in thy petition, Nor will it be easy to gain admission; Thou dost not come with an angel's salute; For I see thou wearest a cloven foot." The wild man paused, and then answer'd he: "What doth my goat's foot matter to thee? Full many I've known into heaven to pass Straight and with ease, with the head of an ass!"
1815.* ——- AUTHORS.
OVER the meadows, and down the stream,
And through the garden-walks straying, He plucks the flowers that fairest seem;
His throbbing heart brooks no delaying. His maiden then comes—oh, what ecstasy! Thy flowers thou giv'st for one glance of her eye!
The gard'ner next door o'er the hedge sees the youth: "I'm not such a fool as that, in good truth; My pleasure is ever to cherish each flower, And see that no birds my fruit e'er devour. But when 'tis ripe, your money, good neighbour! 'Twas not for nothing I took all this labour!" And such, methinks, are the author-tribe.
The one his pleasures around him strews,
That his friends, the public, may reap, if they choose; The other would fain make them all subscribe,
1776.* ——- THE CRITIC.
I HAD a fellow as my guest, Not knowing he was such a pest, And gave him just my usual fare; He ate his fill of what was there,
And for desert my best things swallow'd, Soon as his meal was o'er, what follow'd? Led by the Deuce, to a neighbour he went, And talk'd of my food to his heart's content: "The soup might surely have had more spice, The meat was ill-brown'd, and the wine wasn't nice." A thousand curses alight on his head! 'Tis a critic, I vow! Let the dog be struck dead!
1776.* ——- THE DILETTANTE AND THE CRITIC.
A BOY a pigeon once possess'd, In gay and brilliant plumage dress'd; He loved it well, and in boyish sport Its food to take from his mouth he taught, And in his pigeon he took such pride, That his joy to others he needs must confide.
An aged fox near the place chanc'd to dwell, Talkative, clever, and learned as well; The boy his society used to prize, Hearing with pleasure his wonders and lies.
"My friend the fox my pigeon must see He ran, and stretch'd 'mongst the bushes lay he "Look, fox, at my pigeon, my pigeon so fair! His equal I'm sure thou hast look'd upon ne'er!"
"Let's see!"—The boy gave it.—"'Tis really not bad; And yet, it is far from complete, I must add. The feathers, for, instance, how short! 'Tis absurd!" So he set to work straightway to pluck the poor bird.
The boy screamed.—"Thou must now stronger pinions supply, Or else 'twill be ugly, unable to fly."— Soon 'twas stripp'd—oh, the villain!—and torn all to pieces. The boy was heart-broken,—and so my tale ceases.
* * * *
He who sees in the boy shadow'd forth his own case, Should be on his guard 'gainst the fox's whole race.
1776.* ——- THE WRANGLER.
ONE day a shameless and impudent wight Went into a shop full of steel wares bright, Arranged with art upon ev'ry shelf. He fancied they were all meant for himself; And so, while the patient owner stood by, The shining goods needs must handle and try, And valued,—for how should a fool better know?— The bad things high, and the good ones low, And all with an easy self-satisfied face; Then, having bought nothing, he left the place.
The tradesman now felt sorely vex'd, So when the fellow went there next, A lock of steel made quite red hot. The other cried upon the spot: "Such wares as these, who'd ever buy? the steel is tarnish'd shamefully,"— Then pull'd it, like a fool about, But soon set up a piteous shout. "Pray what's the matter?" the shopman spoke; The other scream'd: "Faith, a very cool joke!"
1815.* ——- THE YELPERS.
OUR rides in all directions bend,
For business or for pleasure, Yet yelpings on our steps attend,
And barkings without measure. The dog that in our stable dwells,
After our heels is striding, And all the while his noisy yells
But show that we are riding.
1815.* ——- THE STORK'S VOCATION.
THE stork who worms and frogs devours
That in our ponds reside, Why should he dwell on high church-towers,
With which he's not allied?
Incessantly he chatters there,
And gives our ears no rest; But neither old nor young can dare
To drive him from his nest.
I humbly ask it,—how can he
Give of his title proof, Save by his happy tendency
To soil the church's roof? ——- CELEBRITY.
[A satire on his own Sorrows of Werther.]
ON bridges small and bridges great Stands Nepomucks in ev'ry state, Of bronze, wood, painted, or of stone, Some small as dolls, some giants grown; Each passer must worship before Nepomuck, Who to die on a bridge chanced to have the ill luck, When once a man with head and ears A saint in people's eyes appears, Or has been sentenced piteously Beneath the hangman's hand to die, He's as a noted person prized, In portrait is immortalized. Engravings, woodcuts, are supplied, And through the world spread far and wide. Upon them all is seen his name, And ev'ry one admits his claim; Even the image of the Lord Is not with greater zeal ador'd. Strange fancy of the human race! Half sinner frail, half child of grace We see HERR WERTHER of the story In all the pomp of woodcut glory. His worth is first made duly known, By having his sad features shown At ev'ry fair the country round; In ev'ry alehouse too they're found. His stick is pointed by each dunce "The ball would reach his brain at once!" And each says, o'er his beer and bread: "Thank Heav'n that 'tis not we are dead!"
1815.* ——- PLAYING AT PRIESTS.
WITHIN a town where parity According to old form we see,— That is to say, where Catholic And Protestant no quarrels pick, And where, as in his father's day, Each worships God in his own way, We Luth'ran children used to dwell, By songs and sermons taught as well. The Catholic clingclang in truth Sounded more pleasing to our youth, For all that we encounter'd there, To us seem'd varied, joyous, fair. As children, monkeys, and mankind To ape each other are inclin'd, We soon, the time to while away, A game at priests resolved to play. Their aprons all our sisters lent For copes, which gave us great content; And handkerchiefs, embroider'd o'er, Instead of stoles we also wore; Gold paper, whereon beasts were traced, The bishop's brow as mitre graced.
Through house and garden thus in state We strutted early, strutted late, Repeating with all proper unction, Incessantly each holy function. The best was wanting to the game;
We knew that a sonorous ring
Was here a most important thing; But Fortune to our rescue came, For on the ground a halter lay;
We were delighted, and at once
Made it a bellrope for the nonce, And kept it moving all the day;
In turns each sister and each brother
Acted as sexton to another; All help'd to swell the joyous throng;
The whole proceeded swimmingly,
And since no actual bell had we, We all in chorus sang, Ding dong!
* * * * *
Our guileless child's-sport long was hush'd
In memory's tomb, like some old lay; And yet across my mind it rush'd
With pristine force the other day. The New-Poetic Catholics In ev'ry point its aptness fix!
1815.* ——- SONGS.
SONGS are like painted window-panes! In darkness wrapp'd the church remains, If from the market-place we view it; Thus sees the ignoramus through it. No wonder that he deems it tame,— And all his life 'twill be the same.
But let us now inside repair, And greet the holy Chapel there! At once the whole seems clear and bright, Each ornament is bathed in light, And fraught with meaning to the sight. God's children! thus your fortune prize, Be edified, and feast your eyes!
1827.* ——- POETRY.
GOD to his untaught children sent
Law, order, knowledge, art, from high, And ev'ry heav'nly favour lent,
The world's hard lot to qualify. They knew not how they should behave,
For all from Heav'n stark-naked came; But Poetry their garments gave,
And then not one had cause for shame.
1816. ——- A PARABLE.
I PICKED a rustic nosegay lately, And bore it homewards, musing greatly; When, heated by my hand, I found The heads all drooping tow'rd the ground. I plac'd them in a well-cool'd glass, And what a wonder came to pass The heads soon raised themselves once more. The stalks were blooming as before, And all were in as good a case As when they left their native place.
* * * *
So felt I, when I wond'ring heard My song to foreign tongues transferr'd.
1828. ——- SHOULD E'ER THE LOVELESS DAY.
SHOULD e'er the loveless day remain Obscured by storms of hail and rain,
Thy charms thou showest never; I tap at window, tap at door: Come, lov'd one, come! appear once more!
Thou art as fair as ever!
1827.* ——- A PLAN THE MUSES ENTERTAINED.
A PLAN the Muses entertain'd
Methodically to impart
To Psyche the poetic art; Prosaic-pure her soul remain'd. No wondrous sounds escaped her lyre
E'en in the fairest Summer night; But Amor came with glance of fire,—
The lesson soon was learn'd aright.
1827.* ——- THE DEATH OF THE FLY.
WITH eagerness he drinks the treach'rous potion,
Nor stops to rest, by the first taste misled; Sweet is the draught, but soon all power of motion
He finds has from his tender members fled; No longer has he strength to plume his wing, No longer strength to raise his head, poor thing! E'en in enjoyment's hour his life he loses, His little foot to bear his weight refuses; So on he sips, and ere his draught is o'er, Death veils his thousand eyes for evermore.
1810. ——- BY THE RIVER.
WHEN by the broad stream thou dost dwell,
Oft shallow is its sluggish flood; Then, when thy fields thou tendest well,
It o'er them spreads its slime and mud.
The ships descend ere daylight wanes,
The prudent fisher upward goes; Round reef and rock ice casts its chains,
And boys at will the pathway close.
To this attend, then, carefully,
And what thou wouldst, that execute! Ne'er linger, ne'er o'erhasty be,
For time moves on with measured foot.
1821.* ——- THE FOX AND CRANE.
ONCE two persons uninvited
Came to join my dinner table; For the nonce they lived united,
Fox and crane yclept in fable.
Civil greetings pass'd between us
Then I pluck'd some pigeons tender For the fox of jackal-genius,
Adding grapes in full-grown splendour.
Long-neck'd flasks I put as dishes
For the crane, without delaying, Fill'd with gold and silver fishes,
In the limpid water playing.
Had ye witness'd Reynard planted
At his flat plate, all demurely, Ye with envy must have granted:
"Ne'er was such a gourmand, surely!"
While the bird with circumspection
On one foot, as usual, cradled, From the flasks his fish-refection
With his bill and long neck ladled.
One the pigeons praised,—the other,
As they went, extoll'd the fishes, Each one scoffing at his brother
For preferring vulgar dishes.
* * *
If thou wouldst preserve thy credit,
When thou askest folks to guzzle At thy hoard, take care to spread it
Suited both for bill and muzzle.
1819. ——- THE FOX AND HUNTSMAN.
HARD 'tis on a fox's traces
To arrive, midst forest-glades; Hopeless utterly the chase is,
If his flight the huntsman aids.
And so 'tis with many a wonder,
(Why A B make Ab in fact,) Over which we gape and blunder,
And our head and brains distract.
1821.* ——- THE FROGS.
A POOL was once congeal'd with frost; The frogs, in its deep waters lost,
No longer dared to croak or spring; But promised, being half asleep, If suffer'd to the air to creep,
As very nightingales to sing.
A thaw dissolved the ice so strong,— They proudly steer'd themselves along, When landed, squatted on the shore, And croak'd as loudly as before.
1821.* ——- THE WEDDING.
A FEAST was in a village spread,— It was a wedding-day, they said. The parlour of the inn I found, And saw the couples whirling round, Each lass attended by her lad, And all seem'd loving, blithe, and glad; But on my asking for the bride, A fellow with a stare, replied: "'Tis not the place that point to raise!
We're only dancing in her honour; We now have danced three nights and days,
And not bestowed one thought upon her."
* * * *
Whoe'er in life employs his eyes Such cases oft will recognise.
1821.* ——- BURIAL.
To the grave one day from a house they bore
A maiden; To the window the citizens went to explore; In splendour they lived, and with wealth as of yore
Their banquets were laden. Then thought they: "The maid to the tomb is now borne; We too from our dwellings ere long must be torn, And he that is left our departure to mourn,
To our riches will be the successor,
For some one must be their possessor.
1827.* ——- THREATENING SIGNS.
IF Venus in the evening sky Is seen in radiant majesty, If rod-like comets, red as blood, Are 'mongst the constellations view'd, Out springs the Ignoramus, yelling: "The star's exactly o'er my dwelling! What woeful prospect, ah, for me! Then calls his neighbour mournfully: "Behold that awful sign of evil, Portending woe to me, poor devil! My mother's asthma ne'er will leave her, My child is sick with wind and fever; I dread the illness of my wife, A week has pass'd, devoid of strife,— And other things have reach'd my ear; The Judgment Day has come, I fear!"
His neighbour answered: "Friend, you're right! Matters look very had to-night. Let's go a street or two, though, hence, And gaze upon the stars from thence."— No change appears in either case. Let each remain then in his place, And wisely do the best he can, Patient as any other man.
1821.* ——- THE BUYERS.
To an apple-woman's stall
Once some children nimbly ran; Longing much to purchase all, They with joyous haste began Snatching up the piles there raised, While with eager eyes they gazed On the rosy fruit so nice; But when they found out the price, Down they threw the whole they'd got, Just as if they were red hot.
* * * * *
The man who gratis will his goods supply Will never find a lack of folks to buy!
1820. ——- THE MOUNTAIN VILLAGE.
"THE mountain village was destroy'd; But see how soon is fill'd the void! Shingles and boards, as by magic arise, The babe in his cradle and swaddling-clothes lies; How blest to trust to God's protection!"
Behold a wooden new erection, So that, if sparks and wind but choose, God's self at such a game must lose!
1821.* ——- SYMBOLS.
PALM Sunday at the Vatican
They celebrate with palms; With reverence bows each holy man,
And chaunts the ancient psalms. Those very psalms are also sung
With olive boughs in hand, While holly, mountain wilds among,
In place of palms must stand: In fine, one seeks some twig that's green,
And takes a willow rod, So that the pious man may e'en
In small things praise his God.
And if ye have observed it well,
To gain what's fit ye're able, If ye in faith can but excel;
Such are the myths of fable.
1827.* ——- THREE PALINODIAS.
"Incense is hut a tribute for the gods,— To mortals 'tis but poison."
THE smoke that from thine altar blows,
Can it the gods offend? For I observe thou hold'st thy nose—
Pray what does this portend? Mankind deem incense to excel
Each other earthly thing, So he that cannot bear its smell,
No incense e'er should bring.
With unmoved face by thee at least
To dolls is homage given; If not obstructed by the priest,
The scent mounts up to heaven.
CONFLICT OF WIT AND BEAUTY.
SIR Wit, who is so much esteem'd,
And who is worthy of all honour, Saw Beauty his superior deem'd
By folks who loved to gaze upon her; At this he was most sorely vex'd.
Then came Sir Breath (long known as fit
To represent the cause of wit),
Beginning, rudely, I admit, To treat the lady with a text. To this she hearken'd not at all, But hasten'd to his principal: "None are so wise, they say, as you,— Is not the world enough for two?
If you are obstinate, good-bye! If wise, to love me you will try, For be assured the world can ne'er Give birth to a more handsome pair."
FAIR daughters were by Beauty rear'd,
Wit had but dull sons for his lot; So for a season it appear'd
Beauty was constant, Wit was not. But Wit's a native of the soil,
So he return'd, work'd, strove amain, And found—sweet guerdon for his toil!—
Beauty to quicken him again.
RAIN AND RAINBOW.
DURING a heavy storm it chanced That from his room a cockney glanced At the fierce tempest as it broke, While to his neighbour thus he spoke: "The thunder has our awe inspired, Our barns by lightning have been fired,— Our sins to punish, I suppose; But in return, to soothe our woes, See how the rain in torrents fell, Making the harvest promise well! But is't a rainbow that I spy Extending o'er the dark-grey sky? With it I'm sure we may dispense, The colour'd cheat! The vain pretence!" Dame Iris straightway thus replied: "Dost dare my beauty to deride? In realms of space God station'd me A type of better worlds to be To eyes that from life's sorrows rove In cheerful hope to Heav'n above, And, through the mists that hover here God and his precepts blest revere. Do thou, then, grovel like the swine, And to the ground thy snout confine, But suffer the enlighten'd eye To feast upon my majesty."
I ONCE was fond of fools,
And bid them come each day; Then each one brought his tools
The carpenter to play; The roof to strip first choosing,
Another to supply, The wood as trestles using,
To move it by-and-by, While here and there they ran,
And knock'd against each other; To fret I soon began,
My anger could not smother, So cried, "Get out, ye fools!"
At this they were offended Then each one took his tools,
And so our friendship ended.
Since that, I've wiser been,
And sit beside my door; When one of them is seen,
I cry, "Appear no more!" "Hence, stupid knave!" I bellow:
At this he's angry too: "You impudent old fellow!
And pray, sir, who are you? Along the streets we riot,
And revel at the fair; But yet we're pretty quiet,
And folks revile us ne'er. Don't call us names, then, please!"— At length I meet with ease,
For now they leave my door— 'Tis better than before!
1827.* ——- THE COUNTRY SCHOOLMASTER.
A MASTER of a country school Jump'd up one day from off his stool, Inspired with firm resolve to try To gain the best society; So to the nearest baths he walk'd, And into the saloon he stalk'd. He felt quite. startled at the door, Ne'er having seen the like before. To the first stranger made he now A very low and graceful bow, But quite forgot to bear in mind That people also stood behind; His left-hand neighbor's paunch he struck A grievous blow, by great ill luck; Pardon for this he first entreated, And then in haste his bow repeated. His right hand neighbor next he hit, And begg'd him, too, to pardon it; But on his granting his petition, Another was in like condition; These compliments he paid to all, Behind, before, across the hall; At length one who could stand no more, Show'd him impatiently the door.
* * * *
May many, pond'ring on their crimes, A moral draw from this betimes!
As he proceeded on his way He thought, "I was too weak to-day; To bow I'll ne'er again be seen; For goats will swallow what is green." Across the fields he now must speed, Not over stumps and stones, indeed, But over meads and cornfields sweet, Trampling down all with clumsy feet. A farmer met him by-and-by, And didn't ask him: how? or why? But with his fist saluted him.
"I feel new life in every limb!" Our traveller cried in ecstasy. "Who art thou who thus gladden'st me? May Heaven such blessings ever send! Ne'er may I want a jovial friend!"
1808.* ——- THE LEGEND OF THE HORSESHOE.
WHAT time our Lord still walk'd the earth, Unknown, despised, of humble birth, And on Him many a youth attended (His words they seldom comprehended), It ever seem'd to Him most meet To hold His court in open street, As under heaven's broad canopy One speaks with greater liberty. The teachings of His blessed word From out His holy mouth were heard; Each market to a fane turn'd He With parable and simile.
One day, as tow'rd a town He roved, In peace of mind with those He loved, Upon the path a something gleam'd; A broken horseshoe 'twas, it seem'd. So to St. Peter thus He spake: "That piece of iron prythee take!" St. Peter's thoughts had gone astray,— He had been musing on his way Respecting the world's government, A dream that always gives content, For in the head 'tis check'd by nought; This ever was his dearest thought, For him this prize was far too mean Had it a crown and sceptre been! But, surely, 'twasn't worth the trouble For half a horseshoe to bend double! And so he turn'd away his head, As if he heard not what was said,
The Lord, forbearing tow'rd all men, Himself pick'd up the horseshoe then (He ne'er again like this stoop'd down). And when at length they reach'd the town, Before a smithy He remain'd, And there a penny for 't obtain'd. As they the market-place went by, Some beauteous cherries caught His eye: Accordingly He bought as many As could be purchased for a penny, And then, as oft His wont had been, Placed them within His sleeve unseen.
They went out by another gate, O'er plains and fields proceeding straight, No house or tree was near the spot, The sun was bright, the day was hot; In short, the weather being such, A draught of water was worth much. The Lord walk'd on before them all, And let, unseen, a cherry fall. St. Peter rush'd to seize it hold, As though an apple 'twere of gold; His palate much approv'd the berry; The Lord ere long another cherry Once more let fall upon the plain; St. Peter forthwith stoop'd again. The Lord kept making him thus bend To pick up cherries without end. For a long time the thing went on; The Lord then said, in cheerful tone: "Had'st thou but moved when thou wert bid, Thou of this trouble had'st been rid; The man who small things scorns, will next, By things still smaller be perplex'd."
1797. ——- A SYMBOL.
(This fine poem is given by Goethe amongst a small collection of what he calls Loge (Lodge), meaning thereby Masonic pieces.)
THE mason's trade Observe them well,
Resembles life, And watch them revealing
With all its strife,— How solemn feeling Is like the stir made And wonderment swell
By man on earth's face. The hearts of the brave.
Though weal and woe The voice of the blest,
The future may hide, And of spirits on high
Unterrified Seems loudly to cry: We onward go "To do what is best,
In ne'er changing race. Unceasing endeavour!
A veil of dread "In silence eterne
Hangs heavier still. Here chaplets are twin'd,
Deep slumbers fill That each noble mind The stars over-head, Its guerdon may earn.—
And the foot-trodden grave. Then hope ye for ever!"
——- Artist, fashion! talk not long! Be a breath thine only song! ——- THE DROPS OF NECTAR.
WHEN Minerva, to give pleasure To Prometheus, her well-loved one, Brought a brimming bowl of nectar From the glorious realms of heaven As a blessing for his creatures, And to pour into their bosoms Impulses for arts ennobling, She with rapid footstep hasten'd, Fearing Jupiter might see her, And the golden goblet trembled, And there fell a few drops from it On the verdant plain beneath her. Then the busy bees flew thither Straightway, eagerly to drink them, And the butterfly came quickly That he, too, might find a drop there; Even the misshapen spider Thither crawl'd and suck'd with vigour.
To a happy end they tasted, They, and other gentle insects! For with mortals now divide they Artthat noblest gift of all.
1789.* ——- THE WANDERER.
[Published in the Gottingen Musen Almanach, having been written "to express his feelings and caprices" after his separation from Frederica.]
YOUNG woman, may God bless thee, Thee, and the sucking infant Upon thy breast! Let me, 'gainst this rocky wall, Neath the elm-tree's shadow, Lay aside my burden, Near thee take my rest.
What vocation leads thee, While the day is burning, Up this dusty path? Bring'st thou goods from out the town Round the country? Smil'st thou, stranger, At my question?
From the town no goods I bring. Cool is now the evening; Show to me the fountain 'Whence thou drinkest, Woman young and kind!
Up the rocky pathway mount; Go thou first! Across the thicket Leads the pathway tow'rd the cottage That I live in, To the fountain Whence I drink.
Signs of man's arranging hand See I 'mid the trees! Not by thee these stones were join'd, Nature, who so freely scatterest!
Up, still up!
Lo, a mossy architrave is here! I discern thee, fashioning spirit! On the stone thou hast impress'd thy seal.
Over an inscription am I treading! 'Tis effaced! Ye are seen no longer, Words so deeply graven, Who your master's true devotion Should have shown to thousand grandsons!
At these stones, why Start'st thou, stranger? Many stones are lying yonder Round my cottage.
Through the thicket, Turning to the left, Here!
Ye Muses and ye Graces!
This, then, is my cottage.
'Tis a ruin'd temple! *
Just below it, see, Springs the fountain Whence I drink.
Thou dost hover O'er thy grave, all glowing, Genius! while upon thee Hath thy master-piece Fallen crumbling, Thou Immortal One!
Stay, a cup I'll fetch thee Whence to drink.
Ivy circles thy slender Form so graceful and godlike. How ye rise on high From the ruins, Column-pair And thou, their lonely sister yonder,— How thou, Dusky moss upon thy sacred head,— Lookest down in mournful majesty On thy brethren's figures Lying scatter'd At thy feet! In the shadow of the bramble Earth and rubbish veil them, Lofty grass is waving o'er them Is it thus thou, Nature, prizest Thy great masterpiece's masterpiece? Carelessly destroyest thou Thine own sanctuary, Sowing thistles there?
How the infant sleeps! Wilt thou rest thee in the cottage, Stranger? Wouldst thou rather In the open air still linger? Now 'tis cool! take thou the child While I go and draw some water. Sleep on, darling! sleep!
Sweet is thy repose! How, with heaven-born health imbued, Peacefully he slumbers! Oh thou, born among the ruins Spread by great antiquity, On thee rest her spirit! He whom it encircles Will, in godlike consciousness, Ev'ry day enjoy. Full, of germ, unfold, As the smiling springtime's Fairest charm, Outshining all thy fellows! And when the blossom's husk is faded, May the full fruit shoot forth From out thy breast, And ripen in the sunshine!
God bless him!—Is he sleeping still? To the fresh draught I nought can add, Saving a crust of bread for thee to eat.
I thank thee well. How fair the verdure all around! How green!
My husband soon Will home return From labour. Tarry, tarry, man, And with us eat our evening meal.
Is't here ye dwell?
Yonder, within those walls we live. My father 'twas who built the cottage Of tiles and stones from out the ruins. 'Tis here we dwell. He gave me to a husbandman, And in our arms expired.— Hast thou been sleeping, dearest heart How lively, and how full of play! Sweet rogue!
Nature, thou ever budding one, Thou formest each for life's enjoyments, And, like a mother, all thy children dear, Blessest with that sweet heritage,—a home The swallow builds the cornice round, Unconscious of the beauties She plasters up. The caterpillar spins around the bough, To make her brood a winter house; And thou dost patch, between antiquity's Most glorious relics, For thy mean use, Oh man, a humble cot,— Enjoyest e'en mid tombs!— Farewell, thou happy woman!
Thou wilt not stay, then?
May God preserve thee, And bless thy boy!
A happy journey!
Whither conducts the path Across yon hill?
How far from hence?
'Tis full three miles.
Farewell! Oh Nature, guide me on my way! The wandering stranger guide, Who o'er the tombs Of holy bygone times Is passing, To a kind sheltering place, From North winds safe, And where a poplar grove Shuts out the noontide ray! And when I come Home to my cot At evening, Illumined by the setting sun, Let me embrace a wife like this, Her infant in her arms!
1772. * Compare with the beautiful description contained in the subsequent lines, an account of a ruined temple of Ceres, given by Chamberlayne in his Pharonnida (published in 1659)
".... With mournful majesiy A heap of solitary ruins lie, Half sepulchred in dust, the bankrupt heir To prodigal antiquity...." ——- LOVE AS A LANDSCAPE PAINTER.
ON a rocky peak once sat I early, Gazing on the mist with eyes unmoving; Stretch'd out like a pall of greyish texture, All things round, and all above it cover'd.
Suddenly a boy appear'd beside me, Saying "Friend, what meanest thou by gazing On the vacant pall with such composure? Hast thou lost for evermore all pleasure Both in painting cunningly, and forming?" On the child I gazed, and thought in secret: "Would the boy pretend to be a master?"
"Wouldst thou be for ever dull and idle," Said the boy, "no wisdom thou'lt attain to; See, I'll straightway paint for thee a figure,— How to paint a beauteous figure, show thee."
And he then extended his fore-finger,— (Ruddy was it as a youthful rosebud) Tow'rd the broad and far outstretching carpet, And began to draw there with his finger.
First on high a radiant sun he painted, Which upon mine eyes with splendour glisten'd, And he made the clouds with golden border, Through the clouds he let the sunbeams enter; Painted then the soft and feathery summits Of the fresh and quicken'd trees, behind them One by one with freedom drew the mountains; Underneath he left no lack of water, But the river painted so like Nature, That it seem'd to glitter in the sunbeams, That it seem'd against its banks to murmur.
Ah, there blossom'd flowers beside the river, And bright colours gleam'd upon the meadow, Gold, and green, and purple, and enamell'd, All like carbuncles and emeralds seeming!
Bright and clear he added then the heavens, And the blue-tinged mountains far and farther, So that I, as though newborn, enraptured Gazed on, now the painter, now the picture.
Then spake he: "Although I have convinced thee That this art I understand full surely, Yet the hardest still is left to show thee."
Thereupon he traced, with pointed finger, And with anxious care, upon the forest, At the utmost verge, where the strong sunbeams From the shining ground appear'd reflected,
Traced the figure of a lovely maiden, Fair in form, and clad in graceful fashion, Fresh the cheeks beneath her brown locks' ambush, And the cheeks possess'd the selfsame colour As the finger that had served to paint them.
"Oh thou boy!" exclaim'd I then, "what master In his school received thee as his pupil, Teaching thee so truthfully and quickly Wisely to begin, and well to finish?"
Whilst I still was speaking, lo, a zephyr Softly rose, and set the tree-tops moving, Curling all the wavelets on the river, And the perfect maiden's veil, too, fill'd it, And to make my wonderment still greater, Soon the maiden set her foot in motion. On she came, approaching tow'rd the station Where still sat I with my arch instructor.
As now all, yes, all thus moved together,— Flowers, river, trees, the veil,—all moving,— And the gentle foot of that most fair one, Can ye think that on my rock I linger'd, Like a rock, as though fast-chain'd and silent?
GOD, SOUL, AND WORLD.
——- RHYMED DISTICHS.
[The Distichs, of which these are given as a specimen, are about forty in number.]
WHO trusts in God, Fears not His rod. ——- THIS truth may be by all believed: Whom God deceives, is well deceived. ——- HOW? when? and where?—No answer comes from high; Thou wait'st for the Because, and yet thou ask'st not Why? ——- IF the whole is ever to gladden thee, That whole in the smallest thing thou must see. ——- WATER its living strength first shows, When obstacles its course oppose. ——- TRANSPARENT appears the radiant air, Though steel and stone in its breast it may bear; At length they'll meet with fiery power, And metal and stones on the earth will shower. ——— WHATE'ER a living flame may surround, No longer is shapeless, or earthly bound. 'Tis now invisible, flies from earth, And hastens on high to the place of its birth.
1815.* ——— PROCEMION.
IN His blest name, who was His own creation, Who from all time makes making his vocation; The name of Him who makes our faith so bright, Love, confidence, activity, and might; In that One's name, who, named though oft He be, Unknown is ever in Reality: As far as ear can reach, or eyesight dim, Thou findest but the known resembling Him; How high so'er thy fiery spirit hovers, Its simile and type it straight discovers Onward thou'rt drawn, with feelings light and gay, Where'er thou goest, smiling is the way; No more thou numbrest, reckonest no time, Each step is infinite, each step sublime.
1816. ——- WHAT God would outwardly alone control, And on his finger whirl the mighty Whole? He loves the inner world to move, to view Nature in Him, Himself in Nature too, So that what in Him works, and is, and lives, The measure of His strength, His spirit gives.
1816. ——- WITHIN us all a universe doth dwell; And hence each people's usage laudable, That ev'ry one the Best that meets his eyes As God, yea e'en his God, doth recognise; To Him both earth and heaven surrenders he, Fears Him, and loves Him too, if that may be.
1816. ——- THE METAMORPHOSIS OF PLANTS.
THOU art confused, my beloved, at, seeing the thousandfold union
Shown in this flowery troop, over the garden dispers'd; any a name dost thou hear assign'd; one after another
Falls on thy list'ning ear, with a barbarian sound. None resembleth another, yet all their forms have a likeness;
Therefore, a mystical law is by the chorus proclaim'd; Yes, a sacred enigma! Oh, dearest friend, could I only
Happily teach thee the word, which may the mystery solve! Closely observe how the plant, by little and little progressing,
Step by step guided on, changeth to blossom and fruit! First from the seed it unravels itself, as soon as the silent
Fruit-bearing womb of the earth kindly allows Its escape, And to the charms of the light, the holy, the ever-in-motion,
Trusteth the delicate leaves, feebly beginning to shoot. Simply slumber'd the force in the seed; a germ of the future,
Peacefully lock'd in itself, 'neath the integument lay, Leaf and root, and bud, still void of colour, and shapeless;
Thus doth the kernel, while dry, cover that motionless life. Upward then strives it to swell, in gentle moisture confiding,
And, from the night where it dwelt, straightway ascendeth to light. Yet still simple remaineth its figure, when first it appeareth;
And 'tis a token like this, points out the child 'mid the plants. Soon a shoot, succeeding it, riseth on high, and reneweth,
Piling-up node upon node, ever the primitive form; Yet not ever alike: for the following leaf, as thou seest,
Ever produceth itself, fashioned in manifold ways. Longer, more indented, in points and in parts more divided,
Which. all-deform'd until now, slept in the organ below, So at length it attaineth the noble and destined perfection,
Which, in full many a tribe, fills thee with wondering awe. Many ribb'd and tooth'd, on a surface juicy and swelling,
Free and unending the shoot seemeth in fullness to be; Yet here Nature restraineth, with powerful hands, the formation,
And to a perfecter end, guideth with softness its growth, Less abundantly yielding the sap, contracting the vessels,
So that the figure ere long gentler effects doth disclose. Soon and in silence is check'd the growth of the vigorous branches,
And the rib of the stalk fuller becometh in form. Leafless, however, and quick the tenderer stem then up-springeth,
And a miraculous sight doth the observer enchant. Ranged in a circle, in numbers that now are small, and now countless,
Gather the smaller-sized leaves, close by the side of their like. Round the axis compress'd the sheltering calyx unfoldeth,
And, as the perfectest type, brilliant-hued coronals forms. Thus doth Nature bloom, in glory still nobler and fuller,
Showing, in order arranged, member on member uprear'd. Wonderment fresh dost thou feel, as soon as the stem rears the flower
Over the scaffolding frail of the alternating leaves. But this glory is only the new creation's foreteller,
Yes, the leaf with its hues feeleth the hand all divine, And on a sudden contracteth itself; the tenderest figures
Twofold as yet, hasten on, destined to blend into one. Lovingly now the beauteous pairs are standing together,
Gather'd in countless array, there where the altar is raised. Hymen hovereth o'er them, and scents delicious and mighty
Stream forth their fragrance so sweet, all things enliv'ning around. Presently, parcell'd out, unnumber'd germs are seen swelling,
Sweetly conceald in the womb, where is made perfect the fruit. Here doth Nature close the ring of her forces eternal;
Yet doth a new one, at once, cling to the one gone before, So that the chain be prolonged for ever through all generations,
And that the whole may have life, e'en as enjoy'd by each part. Now, my beloved one, turn thy gaze on the many-hued thousands
Which, confusing no more, gladden the mind as they wave. Every plant unto thee proclaimeth the laws everlasting,
Every flowered speaks louder and louder to thee; But if thou here canst decipher the mystic words of the goddess,
Everywhere will they be seen, e'en though the features are changed. Creeping insects may linger, the eager butterfly hasten,—
Plastic and forming, may man change e'en the figure decreed! Oh, then, bethink thee, as well, how out of the germ of acquaintance,
Kindly intercourse sprang, slowly unfolding its leaves; Soon how friendship with might unveil'd itself in our bosoms,
And how Amor, at length, brought forth blossom and fruit Think of the manifold ways wherein Nature hath lent to our feelings,
Silently giving them birth, either the first or the last! Yes, and rejoice in the present day! For love that is holy
Seeketh the noblest of fruits,—that where the thoughts are the same, Where the opinions agree,—that the pair may, in rapt contemplation,
Lovingly blend into one,—find the more excellent world.
——- 'TIS easier far a wreath to bind, Than a good owner fort to find. ——- I KILL'D a thousand flies overnight, Yet was waken'd by one, as soon as twas light. ——- To the mother I give; For the daughter I live. ——- A BREACH is every day,
By many a mortal storm'd; Let them fall in the gaps as they may,
Yet a heap of dead is ne'er form'd. ——- WHAT harm has thy poor mirror done, alas? Look not so ugly, prythee, in the glass!
1815.* ——- TAME XENIA.
THE Epigrams bearing the title of XENIA were written by Goethe and Schiller together, having been first occasioned by some violent attacks made on them by some insignificant writers. They are extremely numerous, but scarcely any of them could be translated into English. Those here given are merely presented as a specimen.
GOD gave to mortals birth,
In his own image too; Then came Himself to earth,
A mortal kind and true.
1821.* ——- BARBARIANS oft endeavour
Gods for themselves to make But they're more hideous ever
Than dragon or than snake.
1821.* ——- WHAT shall I teach thee, the very first thing?— Fain would I learn o'er my shadow to spring!
1827.* ——- "WHAT is science, rightly known? 'Tis the strength of life alone. Life canst thou engender never, Life must be life's parent ever.
1827.* ——- It matters not, I ween,
Where worms our friends consume, Beneath the turf so green,
Or 'neath a marble tomb. Remember, ye who live,
Though frowns the fleeting day, That to your friends ye give
What never will decay.
RELIGION AND CHURCH.
——- THOUGHTS ON JESUS CHRIST'S DESCENT INTO HELL.
[THE remarkable Poem of which this is a literal but faint representation, was written when Goethe was only sixteen years old. It derives additional interest from the fact of its being the very earliest piece of his that is preserved. The few other pieces included by Goethe under the title of Religion and Church are polemical, and devoid of interest to the English reader.]
WHAT wondrous noise is heard around! Through heaven exulting voices sound,
A mighty army marches on By thousand millions follow'd, lo, To yon dark place makes haste to go
God's Son, descending from His throne! He goes—the tempests round Him break,
As Judge and Hero cometh He; He goes—the constellations quake,
The sun, the world quake fearfully.
I see Him in His victor-car, On fiery axles borne afar,
Who on the cross for us expired. The triumph to yon realms He shows,— Remote from earth, where star ne'er glows,
The triumph He for us acquired. He cometh, Hell to extirpate,
Whom He, by dying, wellnigh kill'd; He shall pronounce her fearful fate
Hark! now the curse is straight fulfill'd.
Hell sees the victor come at last, She feels that now her reign is past,
She quakes and fears to meet His sight; She knows His thunders' terrors dread, In vain she seeks to hide her head,
Attempts to fly, but vain is flight; Vainly she hastes to 'scape pursuit
And to avoid her Judge's eye; The Lord's fierce wrath restrains her foot
Like brazen chains,—she cannot fly.
Here lies the Dragon, trampled down, He lies, and feels God's angry frown,
He feels, and grinneth hideously; He feels Hell's speechless agonies, A thousand times he howls and sighs:
"Oh, burning flames! quick, swallow me!" There lies he in the fiery waves,
By torments rack'd and pangs infernal, Instant annihilation craves,
And hears, those pangs will be eternal.
Those mighty squadrons, too, are here, The partners of his cursed career,
Yet far less bad than he were they. Here lies the countless throng combined, In black and fearful crowds entwined,
While round him fiery tempests play; He sees how they the Judge avoid,
He sees the storm upon them feed, Yet is not at the sight o'erjoy'd,
Because his pangs e'en theirs exceed.
The Son of Man in triumph passes Down to Hell's wild and black morasses,
And there unfolds His majesty. Hell cannot bear the bright array, For, since her first created day.
Darkness alone e'er govern'd she. She lay remote from ev'ry light
With torments fill'd in Chaos here; God turn'd for ever from her sight
His radiant features' glory clear.
Within the realms she calls her own, She sees the splendour of the Son,
His dreaded glories shining forth; She sees Him clad in rolling thunder, She sees the rocks all quake with wonder,
When God before her stands in wrath. She sees He comes her Judge to be,
She feels the awful pangs inside her, Herself to slay endeavours she,
But e'en this comfort is denied her.
Now looks she back, with pains untold, Upon those happy times of old,
When those glories gave her joy; When yet her heart revered the truth, When her glad soul, in endless youth
And rapture dwelt, without alloy. She calls to mind with madden'd thought
How over man her wiles prevail'd; To take revenge on God she sought,
And feels the vengeance it entail'd.
God was made man, and came to earth. Then Satan cried with fearful mirth:
"E'en He my victim now shall be!" He sought to slay the Lord Most High, The world's Creator now must die;
But, Satan, endless woe to thee! Thou thought'st to overcome Him then,
Rejoicing in His suffering; But he in triumph comes again
To bind thee: Death! where is thy sting?
Speak, Hell! where is thy victory? Thy power destroy'd and scatter'd see!
Know'st thou not now the Highest's might? See, Satan, see thy rule o'erthrown!
By thousand-varying pangs weigh'd down, Thou dwell'st in dark and endless night.
As though by lightning struck thou liest, No gleam of rapture far or wide;
In vain! no hope thou there decriest,— For me alone Messiah died!
A howling rises through the air, A trembling fills each dark vault there,
When Christ to Hell is seen to come. She snarls with rage, but needs must cower Before our mighty hero's power;
He signs—and Hell is straightway dumb. Before his voice the thunders break,
On high His victor-banner blows; E'en angels at His fury quake,
When Christ to the dread judgment goes.
Now speaks He, and His voice is thunder, He speaks, the rocks are rent in sunder,
His breath is like devouring flames. Thus speaks He: "Tremble, ye accurs'd! He who from Eden hurl'd you erst,
Your kingdom's overthrow proclaims. Look up! My children once were ye,
Your arms against Me then ye turn'd, Ye fell, that ye might sinners be,
Ye've now the wages that ye earn'd.
"My greatest foeman from that day, Ye led my dearest friends astray,—
As ye had fallen, man must fall. To kill him evermore ye sought, 'They all shall die the death,' ye thought;
But howl! for Me I won them all. For them alone did I descend,
For them pray'd, suffer'd, perish'd I. Ye ne'er shall gain your wicked end;
Who trusts in Me shall never die.
"In endless chains here lie ye now, Nothing can save you from the slough.
Not boldness, not regret for crime. Lie, then, and writhe in brimstone fire! 'Twas ye yourselves drew down Mine ire,
Lie and lament throughout all time! And also ye, whom I selected,
E'en ye forever I disown, For ye My saving grace rejected
Ye murmur? blame yourselves alone!
"Ye might have lived with Me in bliss, For I of yore had promis'd this;
Ye sinn'd, and all My precepts slighted Wrapp'd in the sleep of sin ye dwelt, Now is My fearful judgment felt,
By a just doom your guilt requited."— Thus spake He, and a fearful storm
From Him proceeds, the lightnings glow, The thunders seize each wicked form,
And hurl them in the gulf below.
The God-man closeth Hell's sad doors, In all His majesty He soars
From those dark regions back to light. He sitteth at the Father's side; Oh, friends, what joy doth this betide!
For us, for us He still will fight! The angels sacred quire around
Rejoice before the mighty Lord, So that all creatures hear the sound:
"Zebaoth's God be aye ador'd!"
——- LEOPOLD, DUKE OF BRUNSWICK.
[Written on the occasion of the death, by drowning, of the Prince.]
THOU wert forcibly seized by the hoary lord of the river,—
Holding thee, ever he shares with thee his streaming domain, Calmly sleepest thou near his urn as it silently trickles,
Till thou to action art roused, waked by the swift-rolling flood. Kindly be to the people, as when thou still wert a mortal,
Perfecting that as a god, which thou didst fail in, as man.
1785. ——- TO THE HUSBANDMAN.
SMOOTHLY and lightly the golden seed by the furrow is cover'd;
Yet will a deeper one, friend, cover thy bones at the last. Joyously plough'd and sow'd! Here food all living is budding,
E'en from the side of the tomb Hope will not vanish away.
1789.* ——- ANACREON'S GRAVE.
HERE where the roses blossom, where vines round the laurels are twining,
Where the turtle-dove calls, where the blithe cricket is heard, Say, whose grave can this be, with life by all the Immortals
Beauteously planted and deck'd?—Here doth Anacreon sleep Spring and summer and autumn rejoiced the thrice-happy minstrel,
And from the winter this mound kindly hath screen'd him at last.
1789.* ——- THE BRETHREN.
SLUMBER and Sleep, two brethren ordain'd by the gods to their service,
Were by Prometheus implored, comfort to give to his race; But though so light to the gods, too heavy for man was their burden,
We in their slumber find sleep, we in their sleep meet with death.
1789.* ——- MEASURE OF TIME.
EROS, what mean'st thou by this? In each of thine hands is an hourglass!
What, oh thou frivolous god! twofold thy measure of time? "Slowly run from the one, the hours of lovers when parted;
While through the other they rush swiftly, as soon as they meet."
1789.* ——- WARNING.
WAKEN not Amor from sleep! The beauteous urchin still slumbers;
Go, and complete thou the task, that to the day is assign'd! Thus doth the prudent mother with care turn time to her profit,
While her babe is asleep, for 'twill awake but too soon.
1785.* ——- SOLITUDE.
OH ye kindly nymphs, who dwell 'mongst the rocks and the thickets,
Grant unto each whatsoe'er he may in silence desire! Comfort impart to the mourner, and give to the doubter instruction,
And let the lover rejoice, finding the bliss that he craves. For from the gods ye received what they ever denied unto mortals,
Power to comfort and aid all who in you may confide.
1782. ——- THE CHOSEN CLIFF.
HERE in silence the lover fondly mused on his loved one;
Gladly he spake to me thus: "Be thou my witness, thou stone! Yet thou must not be vainglorious, thou hast many companions;
Unto each rock on the plain, where I, the happy one, dwell, Unto each tree of the wood that I cling to, as onward I ramble,
'Be thou a sign of my bliss!' shout I, and then 'tis ordain'd. Yet to thee only I lend a voice, as a Muse from the people
Chooseth one for herself, kissing his lips as a friend."
1782. ——- THE CONSECRATED SPOT.
WHEN in the dance of the Nymphs, in the moonlight so holy assembled,
Mingle the Graces, down from Olympus in secret descending, Here doth the minstrel hide, and list to their numbers enthralling,
Here doth he watch their silent dances' mysterious measure. All that is glorious in Heaven, and all that the earth in her beauty
Ever hath brought into life, the dreamer awake sees before him; All he repeats to the Muses, and lest the gods should be anger'd,
How to tell of secrets discreetly, the Muses instruct him.
1789.* ——- THE INSTRUCTORS.
WHEN Diogenes quietly sunn'd himself in his barrel,
When Calanus with joy leapt in the flame-breathing grave, Oh, what noble lessons were those for the rash son of Philip,
Were not the lord of the world e'en for instruction too great!
1789.* ——- THE UNEQUAL MARRIAGE,
EVEN this heavenly pair were unequally match'd when united:
Psyche grew older and wise, Amor remain'd still a child,
1789.* ——- EXCUSE.
THOU dost complain of woman for changing from one to another?
Censure her not: for she seeks one who will constant remain.
1789.* ——- SAKONTALA.
WOULDST thou the blossoms of spring, as well as the fruits of the autumn,
Wouldst thou what charms and delights, wouldst thou what
plenteously, feeds, Would thou include both Heaven and earth in one designation,
All that is needed is done, when I Sakontala name.
1792. ——- THE MUSE'S MIRROR.
EARLY one day, the Muse, when eagerly bent on adornment, Follow'd a swift-running streamlet, the quietest nook by it seeking. Quickly and noisily flowing, the changeful surface distorted Ever her moving form; the goddess departed in anger. Yet the stream call'd mockingly after her, saying: "What, truly! Wilt thou not view, then, the truth, in my mirror so clearly depicted?" But she already was far away, on the brink of the ocean, In her figure rejoicing, and duly arranging her garland.
1799.* ——- PHOEBUS AND HERMES.
DELOS' stately ruler, and Maia's son, the adroit one,
Warmly were striving, for both sought the great prize to obtain. Hermes the lyre demanded, the lyre was claim'd by Apollo,
Yet were the hearts of the foes fruitlessly nourish'd by hope. For on a sudden Ares burst in, with fury decisive,
Dashing in twain the gold toy, brandishing wildly his sword. Hermes, malicious one, laughed beyond measure; yet deep-seated sorrow
Seized upon Phoebus's heart, seized on the heart of each Muse.
1799.* ——- THE NEW AMOR.
AMOR, not the child, the youthful lover of Psyche, Look'd round Olympus one day, boldly, to triumph inured; There he espied a goddess, the fairest amongst the immortals,— Venus Urania she,—straight was his passion inflamed. Even the holy one powerless proved, alas! 'gainst his wooing,— Tightly embraced in his arm, held her the daring one fast. Then from their union arose a new, a more beauteous Amor, Who from his father his wit, grace from his mother derives. Ever thou'lt find him join'd in the kindly Muses' communion, And his charm-laden bolt foundeth the love of the arts.
1792. ——- THE GARLANDS.
KLOPSTOCK would lead us away from Pindus; no longer for laurel May we be eager—the homely acorn alone must content us; Yet he himself his more-than-epic crusade is conducting High on Golgotha's summit, that foreign gods he may honour! Yet, on what hill he prefers, let him gather the angels together, Suffer deserted disciples to weep o'er the grave of the just one: There where a hero and saint hath died, where a bard breath'd his numbers, Both for our life and our death an ensample of courage resplendent And of the loftiest human worth to bequeath,—ev'ry nation There will joyously kneel in devotion ecstatic, revering Thorn and laurel garland, and all its charms and its tortures.
1815.* ——- THE SWISS ALPS.
YESTERDAY brown was still thy head, as the locks of my loved one,
Whose sweet image so dear silently beckons afar. Silver-grey is the early snow to-day on thy summit,
Through the tempestuous night streaming fast over thy brow. Youth, alas, throughout life as closely to age is united
As, in some changeable dream, yesterday blends with to-day.
Uri, October 7th, 1797. ——- DISTICHS.
CHORDS are touch'd by Apollo,—the death-laden bow, too, he bendeth;
While he the shepherdess charms, Python he lays in the dust. ——- WHAT is merciful censure? To make thy faults appear smaller?
May be to veil them? No, no! O'er them to raise thee on high! ——- DEMOCRATIC food soon cloys on the multitude's stomach; But I'll wager, ere long, other thou'lt give them instead. ——- WHAT in France has pass'd by, the Germans continue to practise,
For the proudest of men flatters the people and fawns. ——- WHO is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, And in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. ——- NOT in the morning alone, not only at mid-day he charmeth;
Even at setting, the sun is still the same glorious planet. ——-
VENETIAN EPIGRAMS. (Written in 1790.) ——- URN and sarcophagus erst were with life adorn'd by the heathen
Fauns are dancing around, while with the Bacchanal troop Chequerd circles they trace; and the goat-footed, puffy-cheekd player
Wildly produceth hoarse tones out of the clamorous horn. Cymbals and drums resound; we see and we hear, too, the marble.
Fluttering bird! oh how sweet tastes the ripe fruit to thy bill! Noise there is none to disturb thee, still less to scare away Amor,
Who, in the midst of the throng, learns to delight in his torch. Thus doth fullness overcome death; and the ashes there cover'd
Seem, in that silent domain, still to be gladdend with life. Thus may the minstrel's sarcophagus be hereafter surrounded
With such a scroll, which himself richly with life has adorn'd. ——- CLASP'D in my arms for ever eagerly hold I my mistress,
Ever my panting heart throbs wildly against her dear breast, And on her knees forever is leaning my head, while I'm gazing
Now on her sweet-smiling mouth, now on her bright sparkling eyes. "Oh thou effeminate!" spake one, "and thus, then, thy days thou
Ah, they in sorrow are spent. List while I tell thee my tale: Yes! I have left my only joy in life far behind me,
Twenty long days hath my car borne me away from her sight. Vettrini defy me, while crafty chamberlains flatter,
And the sly Valet de place thinks but of lies and deceit. If I attempt to escape, the Postmaster fastens upon me,
Postboys the upper hand get, custom-house duties enrage. "Truly, I can't understand thee! thou talkest enigmas! thou seemest
Wrapp'd in a blissful repose, glad as Rinaldo of yore: Ah, I myself understand full well; 'tis my body that travels,
And 'tis my spirit that rests still in my mistress's arms. ——- I WOULD liken this gondola unto the soft-rocking cradle,
And the chest on its deck seems a vast coffin to be. Yes! 'tween the cradle and coffin, we totter and waver for ever
On the mighty canal, careless our lifetime is spent. ——- WHY are the people thus busily moving? For food they are seeking,
Children they fain would beget, feeding them well as they can. Traveller, mark this well, and when thou art home, do thou likewise!
More can no mortal effect, work with what ardour he will. ——- I WOULD compare to the land this anvil, its lord to the hammer,
And to the people the plate, which in the middle is bent. Sad is the poor tin-plate's lot, when the blows are but given at random:
Ne'er will the kettle be made, while they uncertainly fall. ——- WHAT is the life of a man? Yet thousands are ever accustom'd Freely to talk about man,—what he has done, too, and how. Even less is a poem; yet thousands read and enjoy it, Thousands abuse it.—My friend, live and continue to rhyme! ——- MERRY'S the trade of a poet; but somewhat a dear one, I fear me
For, as my book grows apace, all of my sequins I lose. ——- Is' thou'rt in earnest, no longer delay, but render me happy; Art thou in jest? Ah, sweet love! time for all jesting is past. ——- ART thou, then, vex'd at my silence? What shall I speak of? Thou markest
Neither my sorrowful sigh, nor my soft eloquent look. Only one goddess is able the seal of my lips to unloosen,—
When by Aurora I'm found, slumbering calm on thy breast. Ah, then my hymn in the ears of the earliest gods shall be chaunted,
As the Memnonian form breath'd forth sweet secrets in song. ——- IN the twilight of morning to climb to the top of the mountain,—
Thee to salute, kindly star, earliest herald of day,— And to await, with impatience, the gaze of the ruler of heaven,—
Youthful delight, oh oft lur'st thou me out in the night! Oh ye heralds of day, ye heavenly eyes of my mistress,
Now ye appear, and the sun evermore riseth too soon. ——- THOU art amazed, and dost point to the ocean. It seems to be burning, Flame-crested billows in play dart round our night-moving bark. Me it astonisheth not,—of the ocean was born Aphrodite,— Did not a flame, too, proceed from her for us, in her son? ——- GLEAMING the ocean appear'd, the beauteous billows were smiling,
While a fresh, favouring wind, filling the sails, drove us on. Free was my bosom from yearning; yet soon my languishing glances
Turn'd themselves backward in haste, seeking the snow-cover'd hills. Treasures unnumber'd are southwards lying. Yet one to the northwards
Draws me resistlessly back, like the strong magnet in force. ——- SPACIOUS and fair is the world; yet oh! how I thank the kind heavens
That I a garden possess, small though it be, yet mine own. One which enticeth me homewards; why should a gardener wander?
Honour and pleasure he finds, when to his garden he looks. ——- AH, my maiden is going! she mounts the vessel! My monarch,
AEolus! potentate dread! keep ev'ry storm far away! "Oh, thou fool!" cried the god:"ne'er fear the blustering tempest;
When Love flutters his wings, then mayst thou dread the soft breeze." ——-
——- PART I.
[The Roman Elegies were written in the same year as the Venetian Epigrams—viz. 1790.]
SPEAK, ye stones, I entreat! Oh speak, ye palaces lofty!
Utter a word, oh ye streets! Wilt thou not, Genius, awake? All that thy sacred walls, eternal Rome, hold within them
Teemeth with life; but to me, all is still silent and dead. Oh, who will whisper unto me,—when shall I see at the casement
That one beauteous form, which, while it scorcheth, revives? Can I as yet not discern the road, on which I for ever
To her and from her shall go, heeding not time as it flies? Still do I mark the churches, palaces, ruins, and columns,
As a wise traveller should, would he his journey improve. Soon all this will be past; and then will there be but one temple,
Amor's temple alone, where the Initiate may go. Thou art indeed a world, oh Rome; and yet, were Love absent,
Then would the world be no world, then would e'en Rome be no Rome. ——- Do not repent, mine own love, that thou so soon didst surrender
Trust me, I deem thee not bold! reverence only I feel. Manifold workings the darts of Amor possess; some but scratching,
Yet with insidious effect, poison the bosom for years. Others mightily feather'd, with fresh and newly-born sharpness
Pierce to the innermost bone, kindle the blood into flame. In the heroical times, when loved each god and each goddess,
Longing attended on sight; then with fruition was bless'd. Think'st thou the goddess had long been thinking of love and its pleasures
When she, in Ida's retreats, own'd to Anchises her flame? Had but Luna delayd to kiss the beautiful sleeper,
Oh, by Aurora, ere long, he had in envy been rous'd! Hero Leander espied at the noisy feast, and the lover
Hotly and nimbly, ere long, plunged in the night-cover'd flood. Rhea Silvia, virgin princess, roam'd near the Tiber,
Seeking there water to draw, when by the god she was seiz'd. Thus were the sons of Mars begotten! The twins did a she-wolf
Suckle and nurture,—and Rome call'd herself queen of the world, ——- ALEXANDER, and Caesar, and Henry, and Fred'rick, the mighty,
On me would gladly bestow half of the glory they earn'd, Could I but grant unto each one night on the couch where I'm lying;
But they, by Orcus's night, sternly, alas! are held down. Therefore rejoice, oh thou living one, blest in thy love-lighted homestead,
Ere the dark Lethe's sad wave wetteth thy fugitive foot. ——- THESE few leaves, oh ye Graces, a bard presents, in your honour,
On your altar so pure, adding sweet rosebuds as well, And he does it with hope. The artist is glad in his workshop,
When a Pantheon it seems round him for ever to bring. Jupiter knits his godlike brow,—her's, Juno up-lifteth;
Phoebus strides on before, shaking his curly-lock'd head Calmly and drily Minerva looks down, and Hermes the light one,
Turneth his glances aside, roguish and tender at once. But tow'rds Bacchus, the yielding, the dreaming, raiseth Cythere
Looks both longing and sweet, e'en in the marble yet moist. Of his embraces she thinks with delight, and seems to be asking
"Should not our glorious son take up his place by our side?" ——- AMOR is ever a rogue, and all who believe him are cheated!
To me the hypocrite came: "Trust me, I pray thee, this once. Honest is now my intent,—with grateful thanks I acknowledge
That thou thy life and thy works hast to my worship ordain'd. See, I have follow'd thee thither, to Rome, with kindly intention,
Hoping to give thee mine aid, e'en in the foreigner's land. Every trav'ller complains that the quarters he meets with are wretched
Happily lodged, though, is he, who is by Amor receiv'd. Thou dost observe the ruins of ancient buildings with wonder,
Thoughtfully wandering on, over each time-hallow'd spot. Thou dost honour still more the worthy relics created
By the few artists—whom I loved in their studios to seek. I 'twas fashion'd those forms! thy pardon,—I boast not at present;
Presently thou shalt confess, that what I tell thee is true. Now that thou serv'st me more idly, where are the beauteous figures,
Where are the colours, the light, which thy creations once fill'd? Hast thou a mind again to form? The school of the Grecians
Still remains open, my friend; years have not barr'd up its doors. I, the teacher, am ever young, and love all the youthful,
Love not the subtle and old; Mother, observe what I say! Still was new the Antique, when yonder blest ones were living;
Happily live,—and, in thee, ages long vanish'd will live! Food for song, where hop'st thou to find it? I only can give it,
And a more excellent style, love, and love only can teach." Thus did the Sophist discourse. What mortal, alas! could resist him?
And when a master commands, I have been train'd to obey. Now he deceitfully keeps his word, gives food for my numbers,
But, while he does so, alas! robs me of time, strength, and mind. Looks, and pressure of hands, and words of kindness, and kisses,
Syllables teeming with thought, by a fond pair are exchang'd. Then becomes whispering, talk,—and stamm'ring, a language enchanting;
Free from all prosody's rules, dies such a hymn on the ear. Thee, Aurora, I used to own as the friend of the Muses;
Hath, then, Amor the rogue cheated, Aurora, e'en thee? Thou dost appear to me now as his friend, and again dost awake me
Unto a day of delight, while at his altar I kneel. All her locks I find on my bosom, her head is reposing,
Pressing with softness the arm, which round her neck is entwin'd; Oh! what a joyous awak'ning, ye hours so peaceful, succeeded,
Monument sweet of the bliss which had first rock'd us to sleep In her slumber she moves, and sinks, while her face is averted,
Far on the breadth of the couch, leaving her hand still in mine Heartfelt love unites us for ever, and yearnings unsullied,
And our cravings alone claim for themselves the exchange. One faint touch of the hand, and her eyes so heavenly see I
Once more open. Ah, no! let me still look on that form! Closed still remain! Ye make me confused and drunken, ye rob me
Far too soon of the bliss pure contemplation affords. Mighty, indeed, are these figures! these limbs, how gracefully rounded!
Theseus, could'st thou e'er fly, whilst Ariadne thus slept? Only one single kiss on these lips! Oh, Theseus, now leave us!
Gaze on her eyes! she awakes—Firmly she holds thee embrac'd ——- PART II.
ALEXIS AND DORA.
[This beautiful poem was first published in Schiller's Horen.]
FARTHER and farther away, alas! at each moment the vessel
Hastens, as onward it glides, cleaving the foam-cover'd flood! Long is the track plough'd up by the keel where dolphins are sporting,
Following fast in its rear, while it seems flying pursuit. All forebodes a prosperous voyage; the sailor with calmness
Leans 'gainst the sail, which alone all that is needed performs. Forward presses the heart of each seamen, like colours and streamers;
Backward one only is seen, mournfully fix'd near the mast, While on the blue tinged mountains, which fast are receding, he gazeth,
And as they sink in the sea, joy from his bosom departs. Vanish'd from thee, too, oh Dora, is now the vessel that robs thee
Of thine Alexis, thy friend,—ah, thy betrothed as well! Thou, too, art after me gazing in vain. Our hearts are still throbbing,
Though, for each other, yet ah! 'gainst one another no more. Oh, thou single moment, wherein I found life! thou outweighest
Every day which had else coldly from memory fled. 'Twas in that moment alone, the last, that upon me descended
Life, such as deities grant, though thou perceived'st it not. Phoebus, in vain with thy rays dost thou clothe the ether in glory:
Thine all-brightening day hateful alone is to me. Into myself I retreat for shelter, and there, in the silence,
Strive to recover the time when she appear'd with each day. Was it possible beauty like this to see, and not feel it?
Work'd not those heavenly charms e'en on a mind dull as thine? Blame not thyself, unhappy one! Oft doth the bard an enigma
Thus propose to the throng, skillfully hidden in words. Each one enjoys the strange commingling of images graceful,
Yet still is wanting the word which will discover the sense. When at length it is found, the heart of each hearer is gladden'd,
And in the poem he sees meaning of twofold delight. Wherefore so late didst thou remove the bandage, oh Amor,
Which thou hadst placed o'er mine eyes,—wherefore remove it so late? Long did the vessel, when laden, lie waiting for favouring breezes,
'Till in kindness the wind blew from the land o'er the sea. Vacant times of youth! and vacant dreams of the future!
Ye all vanish, and nought, saving the moment, remains. Yes! it remains,—my joy still remains! I hold thee; my Dora,
And thine image alone, Dora, by hope is disclos'd. Oft have I seen thee go, with modesty clad, to the temple,
While thy mother so dear solemnly went by thy side. Eager and nimble thou wert, in bearing thy fruit to the market,
Boldly the pail from the well didst thou sustain on thy head. Then was reveal'd thy neck, then seen thy shoulders so beauteous,
Then, before all things, the grace filling thy motions was seen. Oft have I fear'd that the pitcher perchance was in danger of falling,
Yet it ever remain'd firm on the circular cloth. Thus, fair neighbour, yes, thus I oft was wont to observe thee,
As on the stars I might gaze, as I might gaze on the moon, Glad indeed at the sight, yet feeling within my calm bosom
Not the remotest desire ever to call them mine own. Years thus fleeted away! Although our houses were only
Twenty paces apart, yet I thy threshold ne'er cross'd. Now by the fearful flood are we parted! Thou liest to Heaven,
Billow! thy beautiful blue seems to me dark as the night. All were now in movement; a boy to the house of my father
Ran at full speed and exclaim'd: "Hasten thee quick to the strand Hoisted the sail is already, e'en now in the wind it is flutt'ring,
While the anchor they weigh, heaving it up from the sand; Come, Alexis, oh come!"—My worthy stout-hearted father
Press'd, with a blessing, his hand down on my curly-lock'd head, While my mother carefully reach'd me a newly-made bundle,
"Happy mayst thou return!" cried they—" both happy and rich!" Then I sprang away, and under my arm held the bundle,
Running along by the wall. Standing I found thee hard by, At the door of thy garden. Thou smilingly saidst then "Alexis!
Say, are yon boisterous crew going thy comrades to be? Foreign coasts will thou visit, and precious merchandise purchase,
Ornaments meet for the rich matrons who dwell in the town. Bring me, also, I praythee, a light chain; gladly I'll pay thee,
Oft have I wish'd to possess some stich a trinket as that." There I remain'd, and ask'd, as merchants are wont, with precision
After the form and the weight which thy commission should have. Modest, indeed, was the price thou didst name! I meanwhile was gazing
On thy neck which deserv'd ornaments worn but by queens. Loudly now rose the cry from the ship; then kindly thou spakest
"Take, I entreat thee, some fruit out of the garden, my friend Take the ripest oranges, figs of the whitest; the ocean
Beareth no fruit, and, in truth, 'tis not produced by each land." So I entered in. Thou pluckedst the fruit from the branches,
And the burden of gold was in thine apron upheld. Oft did I cry, Enough! But fairer fruits were still falling
Into the hand as I spake, ever obeying thy touch. Presently didst thou reached the arbour; there lay there a basket,
Sweet blooming myrtle trees wav'd, as we drew nigh, o'er our heads. Then thou began'st to arrange the fruit with skill and in silence:
First the orange, which lay heavy as though 'twere of gold, Then the yielding fig, by the slightest pressure disfigur'd,
And with myrtle the gift soon was both cover'd and grac'd. But I raised it not up. I stood. Our eyes met together,
And my eyesight grew dim, seeming obscured by a film, Soon I felt thy bosom on mine! Mine arm was soon twining
Round thy beautiful form; thousand times kiss'd I thy neck. On my shoulder sank thy head; thy fair arms, encircling,
Soon rendered perfect the ring knitting the rapturous pair. Amor's hands I felt: he press'd us together with ardour,
And, from the firmament clear, thrice did it thunder; then tears Stream'd from mine eyes in torrents, thou weptest, I wept, both were weeping,
And, 'mid our sorrow and bliss, even the world seem'd to die. Louder and louder they calI'd from the strand; my feet would no longer
Bear my weight, and I cried:—"Dora! and art thou not mine?" "Thine forever!" thou gently didst say. Then the tears we were shedding
Seem'd to be wiped from our eyes, as by the breath of a god. Nearer was heard the cry "Alexis!" The stripling who sought me
Suddenly peep'd through the door. How he the basket snatch'd up! How he urged me away! how press'd I thy hand! Wouldst thou ask me
How the vessel I reach'd? Drunken I seem'd, well I know. Drunken my shipmates believed me, and so had pity upon me;
And as the breeze drove us on, distance the town soon obscur'd. "Thine for ever!" thou, Dora, didst murmur; it fell on my senses
With the thunder of Zeus! while by the thunderer's throne Stood his daughter, the Goddess of Love; the Graces were standing
Close by her side! so the bond beareth an impress divine! Oh then hasten, thou ship, with every favouring zephyr!
Onward, thou powerful keel, cleaving the waves as they foam! Bring me unto the foreign harbour, so that the goldsmith
May in his workshop prepare straightway the heavenly pledge! Ay, of a truth, the chain shall indeed be a chain, oh my Dora!
Nine times encircling thy neck, loosely around it entwin'd Other and manifold trinkets I'll buy thee; gold-mounted bracelets,
Richly and skillfully wrought, also shall grace thy fair hand. There shall the ruby and emerald vie, the sapphire so lovely
Be to the jacinth oppos'd, seeming its foil; while the gold Holds all the jewels together, in beauteous union commingled.
Oh, how the bridegroom exults, when he adorns his betroth'd! Pearls if I see, of thee they remind me; each ring that is shown me
Brings to my mind thy fair hand's graceful and tapering form. I will barter and buy; the fairest of all shalt thou choose thee,
Joyously would I devote all of the cargo to thee. Yet not trinkets and jewels alone is thy loved one procuring;
With them he brings thee whate'er gives to a housewife delight. Fine and woollen coverlets, wrought with an edging of purple,
Fit for a couch where we both, lovingly, gently may rest; Costly pieces of linen. Thou sittest and sewest, and clothest
Me, and thyself, and, perchance, even a third with it too. Visions of hope, deceive ye my heart! Ye kindly Immortals,
Soften this fierce-raging flame, wildly pervading my breast! Yet how I long to feel them again, those rapturous torments.
When, in their stead, care draws nigh, coldly and fearfully calm. Neither the Furies' torch, nor the hounds of hell with their harking
Awe the delinquent so much, down in the plains of despair, As by the motionless spectre I'm awed, that shows me the fair one
Far away: of a truth, open the garden-door stands! And another one cometh! For him the fruit, too, is falling,
And for him, also, the fig strengthening honey doth yield! Doth she entice him as well to the arbour? He follows? Oh, make me
Blind, ye Immortals! efface visions like this from my mind! Yes, she is but a maiden! And she who to one doth so quickly
Yield, to another ere long, doubtless, Will turn herself round. Smile not, Zeus, for this once, at an oath so cruelly broken!
Thunder more fearfully! Strike!—Stay—thy fierce lightnings withhold! Hurl at me thy quivering bolt! In the darkness of midnight
Strike with thy lightning this mast, make it a pitiful wreck! Scatter the planks all around, and give to the boisterous billows
All these wares, and let me be to the dolphins a prey Now, ye Muses, enough! In vain would ye strive to depicture
How, in a love-laden breast, anguish alternates with bliss. Ye cannot heal the wounds, it is true, that love hath inflicted;
Yet from you only proceeds, kindly ones, comfort and balm.
1796. ——- HERMANN AND DOROTHEA.
IN NINE CANTOS. ——- I. KALLIOPE.
FATE AND SYMPATHY.
"NE'ER have I seen the market and streets so thoroughly empty! Still as the grave is the town, clear'd out! I verily fancy Fifty at most of all our inhabitants still may be found there. People are so inquisitive! All are running and racing Merely to see the sad train of poor fellows driven to exile. Down to the causeway now building, the distance nearly a league is, And they thitherward rush, in the heat and the dust of the noonday. As for me, I had rather not stir from my place just to stare at Worthy and sorrowful fugitives, who, with what goods they can carry, Leaving their own fair land on the further side of the Rhine-stream, Over to us are crossing, and wander through the delightful Nooks of this fruitful vale, with all its twistings and windings. Wife, you did right well to bid our son go and meet them, Taking with him old linen, and something to eat and to drink too, Just to give to the poor; the rich are bound to befriend them. How he is driving along! How well he holds in the horses! Then the new little carriage looks very handsome; inside it Four can easily sit, besides the one on the coachbox. This time he is alone; how easily-turns it the corner!" Thus to his wife the host of the Golden Lion discoursed, Sitting at ease in the porch of his house adjoining the market. Then replied as follows the shrewd and sensible hostess "Father, I don't like giving old linen away, for I find it Useful in so many ways, 'tis not to he purchased for money Just when it's wanted. And yet to-day I gladly have given Many excellent articles, shirts and covers and suchlike; For I have heard of old people and children walking half-naked. Will you forgive me, too, for having ransacked your presses? That grand dressing-gown, cover'd with Indian flowers all over, Made of the finest calico, lined with excellent flannel, I have despatch'd with the rest; 'tis thin, old, quite out of fashion."
But the worthy landlord only smiled, and then answer'd I shall dreadfully miss that ancient calico garment, Genuine Indian stuff! They're not to be had any longer. Well! I shall wear it no more. And your poor husband henceforward Always must wear a surtout, I suppose, or commonplace jacket, Always must put on his boots; good bye to cap and to slippers!"
"See," continued his wife, "a few are already returning Who have seen the procession, which long ago must have pass'd by. See how dusty their shoes are, and how their faces are glowing Each one carries a handkerchief, wiping the sweat from his forehead. I, for one, wouldn't hurry and worry myself in such weather Merely to see such a sight! I'm certain to hear all about it."
And the worthy father, speaking with emphasis, added "Such fine weather seldom lasts through the whole of the harvest And we're bringing the fruit home, just as the hay we brought lately, Perfectly dry; the sky is clear, no cloud's in the heavens, And the whole day long delicious breezes are blowing. Splendid weather I call it! The corn already too ripe is, And to-morrow begin we to gather the plentiful harvest."
Whilst he was thus discoursing, the number of men and of women Crossing the market and going towards home kept ever increasing; And there return'd amongst others, bringing with him his daughters, On the other side of the market, their prosperous neighbour, Going full speed to his newbuilt house, the principal merchant, Riding inside an open carriage (in Landau constructed). All the streets were alive; for the town, though small, was well peopled, Many a factory throve there, and many a business also.
Long sat the excellent couple under the doorway, exchanging Many a passing remark on the people who happen'd to pass them. Presently thus to her husband exclaim'd the good-natured hostess "See! Yon comes the minister; with him is walking the druggist: They'll be able to give an account of all that has happen'd, What they witness'd, and many a sight I fear which was painful."
Both of them came in a friendly manner, and greeted the couple, Taking their seats on the wooden benches under the doorway, Shaking the dust from their feet, their handkerchiefs using to fan them. Presently, after exchanging reciprocal greetings, the druggist Open'd his mouth, and almost peevishly vented his feelings "What strange creatures men are! They all resemble each other, All take pleasure in staring, when troubles fall on their neighbours. Ev'ry one runs to see the flames destroying a dwelling, Or a poor criminal led in terror and shame to the scaffold. All the town has been out to gaze at the sorrowing exiles, None of them bearing in mind that a like misfortune hereafter, Possibly almost directly, may happen to be their own portion. I can't pardon such levity; yet 'tis the nature of all men." Thereupon rejoin'd the noble and excellent pastor, He, the charm of the town, in age scarce more than a stripling:— (He was acquainted with life, and knew the wants of his hearers, Fully convinced of the worth of the Holy Scriptures, whose mission Is to reveal man's fate, his inclinations to fathom; He was also well read in the best of secular writings.) "I don't like to find fault with any innocent impulse Which in the mind of man Dame Nature has ever implanted; For what reason and intellect ne'er could accomplish, is often Done by some fortunate, quite irresistible instinct within him. If mankind were never by curiosity driven, Say, could they e'er have found out for themselves the wonderful manner Things in the world range in order? For first they Novelty look for, Then with untiring industry seek to discover the Useful, Lastly they yearn for the Good, which makes them noble and worthy. All through their youth frivolity serves as their joyous companion, Hiding the presence of danger, and. swiftly effacing the traces Caused by misfortune and grief, as soon as their onslaught is over. Truly the man's to be praised who, as years roll onward, develops Out of such glad disposition an intellect settled and steady,— Who, in good fortune as well as misfortune, strives zealously, nobly; For what is Good he brings forth, replacing whatever is injured." Then in a friendly voice impatiently spoke thus the hostess:— "Tell us what have you seen; I am eagerly longing to hear it."
Then with emphasis answer'd the druggist:—" The terrible stories Told me to-day will serve for a long time to make me unhappy. Words would fail to describe the manifold pictures of mis'ry. Far in the distance saw we the dust, before we descended Down to the meadows; the rising hillocks hid the procession Long from our eyes, and little could we distinguish about it. When, however, we reach'd the road that winds thro' the valley, Great was the crowd and the noise of the emigrants mix'd with the waggons. We unhappily saw poor fellows passing in numbers, Some of them showing how bitter the sense of their sorrowful flight was, Some with a feeling of joy at saving their lives in a hurry. Sad was the sight of the manifold goods and chattels pertaining Unto a well-managed house, which the careful owner's accustom'd Each in its proper position to place, and in regular order, Always ready for use, for all are wanted and useful.— Sad was the sight of them now, on many a waggon and barrow Heap'd in thorough confusion, and hurriedly huddled together. Over a cupboard was placed a sieve and a coverlet woollen; Beds in the kneeding troughs lay, and linen over the glasses. Ah! and the danger appear'd to rob the men of their senses, Just as in our great fire of twenty years ago happen'd, When what was worthless they saved, and left all the best things behind them. So on the present occasion with heedless caution they carried Many valueless chattels, o'erlading the cattle and horses,— Common old boards and barrels, a birdcage next to a goosepen. Women and children were gasping beneath the weight of their bundles, Baskets and tubs full of utterly useless articles, bearing. (Man is always unwilling the least of his goods to abandon.) Thus on its dusty way advanced the crowded procession, All in hopeless confusion. First one, whose cattle were weaker, Fain would slowly advance, while others would eagerly hasten. Then there arose a scream of half-crush'd women and children, And a lowing of cattle, with yelping of dogs intermingled, And a wailing of aged and sick, all sitting and shaking, Ranged in their beds on the top of the waggon too-heavily laden. Next some lumbering wheel, push'd out of the track by the pressure, Went to the edge of the roadway; the vehicle fell in the ditch then, Rolling right over, and throwing, in falling, the men who were in it Far in the field, screaming loudly, their persons however uninjured. Then the boxes roll'd off and tumbled close to the waggon. Those who saw them failing full surely expected to see them Smash'd to pieces beneath the weight of the chests and the presses. So the waggon lay broken, and those that it carried were helpless, For the rest of the train went on, and hurriedly pass'd them, Thinking only of self, and carried away by the current. So we sped to the spot, and found the sick and the aged Who, when at home and in bed, could scarcely endure their sad ailments, Lying there on the ground, all sighing and groaning in anguish, Stifled by clouds of dust, and scorch'd by the fierce sun of summer.
Then replied in tones of compassion the sensitive landlord Hermann I trust will find them and give them refreshment and clothing. I should unwillingly see them: I grieve at the eight of such sorrow. Touch'd by the earliest news of the sad extent of the suffering, Hastily sent we a trifle from out of our superabundance, Just to comfort a few, and then our minds were more easy. Now let us cease to discourse on such a sorrowful subject, For men's hearts are easily overshadow'd by terror, And by care, more odious far to me than misfortune. Now let us go to a cooler place, the little back-parlour; There the sun never shines, and the walls are so thick that the hot air Never can enter; and mother shall forthwith bring us a glass each Full of fine Eighty-three, well fitted to drive away trouble. This is a bad place for drinking; the flies will hum round the glasses." So they all went inside, enjoying themselves in the coolness. Then in a well-cut flask the mother carefully brought them Some of that clear good wine, upon a bright metal waiter With those greenish rummers, the fittingest goblets for Rhine wine. So the three sat together, around the glistening polish'd Circular large brown table-on massive feet it was planted. Merrily clink'd together the glasses of host and of pastor, But the other one thoughtfully held his glass without moving, And in friendly fashion the host thus ask'd him to join them:—
"Drink, good neighbour, I pray! A merciful God has protected Us in the past from misfortune, and will protect us in future. All must confess that since He thought fit to severely chastise us, When that terrible fire occurr'd, He has constantly bless'd us. And watch'd over us constantly, just as man is accustom'd His eye's precious apple to guard, that dearest of members. Shall He not for the future preserve us, and be our Protector? For 'tis in danger we learn to appreciate duly His Goodness. This so flourishing town, which He built again from its ashes By the industrious hands of its burghers, and bless'd it so richly, Will He again destroy it, and render their toil unavailing?"
Cheerfully answer'd the excellent pastor, in accents of mildness "Steadfastly cling to this faith, and cherish such worthy opinions; In good fortune they'll make you prudent, and then in misfortune Well-grounded hopes they'll supply, and furnish you true consolation."