Smilingly answered the pastor:—"Death's stirring image is neither Unto the wise a cause of alarm,—or an end to the pious. Back into life it urges the former, and teaches him action, And, for the weal of the latter, it strengthens his hope in affliction. Death is a giver of life unto both. Your father did wrongly When to the sensitive boy he pointed out death in its own form. Unto the youth should be shown the worth of a noble and ripen'd Age, and unto the old man, youth, that both may rejoice in The eternal circle, and life may in life be made perfect!"
Here the door was open'd. The handsome couple appear'd there, And the friends were amazed, the loving parents astonish'd At the form of the bride, the form of the bridegroom resembling. Yes! the door appear'd too small to admit the tall figures Which now cross'd the threshold, in company walking together. To his parents Hermann presented her, hastily saying:— "Here is a maiden just of the sort you are wishing to have here, Welcome her kindly, dear father! she fully deserves it, and you too, Mother dear, ask her questions as to her housekeeping knowledge, That you may see how well she deserves to form one of our party." Then he hastily took on one side the excellent pastor, Saying:—" Kind sir, I entreat you to help me out of this trouble Quickly, and loosen the knot, whose unravelling I am so dreading; For I have not ventured to woo as my bride the fair maiden, But she believes she's to be a maid in the house, and I fear me She will in anger depart, as soon as we talk about marriage. But it must be decided at once! no longer in error Shall she remain, and I no longer this doubt can put up with. Hasten and once more exhibit that wisdom we all hold in honour." So the pastor forthwith turn'd round to the rest of the party, But the maiden's soul was, unhappily, troubled already By the talk of the father, who just had address'd her as follows, Speaking good humour'dly, and in accents pleasant and lively "Yes, I'm well satisfied, child! I joyfully see that my son has Just as good taste as his father, who in his younger days show'd it, Always leading the fairest one out in the dance, and then lastly Taking the fairest one home as his wife—'twas your dear little mother! For by the bride whom a man selects, we may easily gather What kind of spirit his is, and whether he knows his own value. But you will surely need but a short time to form your decision, For I verily think he will find it full easy to follow." Hermann but partially heard the words; the whole of his members Inwardly quivered, and all the circle were suddenly silent.
But the excellent maiden, by words of such irony wounded, (As she esteem'd them to be) and deeply distress'd in her spirit, Stood, while a passing flush from her cheeks as far as her neck was Spreading, but she restrain'd herself, and collected her thoughts soon; Then to the old man she said, not fully concealing her sorrow "Truly I was not prepared by your son for such a reception, When he described his father's nature,—that excellent burgher, And I know I am standing before you, a person of culture, Who behaves himself wisely to all, in a suitable manner. But it would seem that you feel not pity enough for the poor thing Who has just cross'd your threshold, prepared to enter your service Else you would not seek to point out, with ridicule bitter, How far removed my lot from your son's and that of yourself is. True, with a little bundle, and poor, I have enter'd your dwelling, Which it is the owner's delight to furnish with all things. But I know myself well, and feel the whole situation. Is it generous thus to greet me with language so jeering, Which was well nigh expelled me the house, when just on the threshold?"
Hermann uneasily moved about, and signed to the pastor To interpose without delay, and clear up the error. Quickly the wise man advanced to the spot, and witness'd the maiden's Silent vexation and tearful eyes and scarce-restrain'd sorrow. Then his spirit advised him to solve not at once the confusion, But, on the contrary, prove the excited mind of the maiden. So, in words framed to try her, the pastor address'd her as follows:— "Surely, my foreign maiden, you did not fully consider, When you made up your mind to serve a stranger so quickly, What it really is to enter the house of a master; For a shake of the hand decides your fate for a twelvemonth, And a single word Yes to much endurance will bind you. But the worst part of the service is not the wearisome habits, Nor the bitter toil of the work, which seems never-ending; For the active freeman works hard as well as the servant. But to suffer the whims of the master, who blames you unjustly, Or who calls for this and for that, not knowing his own mind, And the mistress's violence, always so easily kindled, With the children's rough and supercilious bad manners,— This is indeed hard to bear, whilst still fulfilling your duties Promptly and actively, never becoming morose or ill-natured; Yet for such work you appear little fit, for already the father's Jokes have offended you deeply; yet nothing more commonly happens Than to tease a maiden about her liking a youngster." Thus he spoke, and the maiden felt the weight of his language, And no more restrain'd herself; mightily all her emotions Show'd themselves, her bosom heaved, and a deep sigh escaped her, And whilst shedding burning tears, she answer'd as follows:— "Ne'er does the clever man, who seeks to advise us in sorrow, Think how little his chilling words our hearts can deliver From the pangs which an unseen destiny fastens upon us. You are happy and merry. How then should a jest ever wound you? But the slightest touch gives torture to those who are suff'ring. Even dissimulation would nothing avail me at present. Let me at once disclose what later would deepen my sorrow, And consign me perchance to agony mute and consuming. Let me depart forthwith! No more in this house dare I linger; I must hence and away, and look once more for my poor friends Whom I left in distress, when seeking to better my fortunes. This is my firm resolve; and now I may properly tell you That which had else been buried for many a year in my bosom. Yes, the father's jest has wounded me deeply, I own it, Not that I'm proud and touchy, as ill becometh a servant, But because in truth in my heart a feeling has risen For the youth, who to-day has fill'd the part of my Saviour. For when first in the road he left me, his image remain'd still Firmly fix'd in my mind; and I thought of the fortunate maiden Whom, as his betroth'd one, he cherish'd perchance in his bosom. And when I found him again at the well, the sight of him charm'd me Just as if I had-seen an angel descending from heaven. And I follow'd him willingly, when as a servant he sought me, But by my heart in truth I was flatter'd (I need must confess it), As I hitherward came, that I might possibly win him, If I became in the house an indispensable pillar. But, alas, I now see the dangers I well nigh fell into, When I bethought me of living so near a silently-loved one. Now for the first time I feel how far removed a poor maiden Is from a richer youth, however clever she may be. I have told you all this, that you my heart may mistake not, Which an event that in thought I foreshadow has wounded already. For I must have expected, my secret wishes concealing, That, ere much time had elapsed, I should see him bringing his bride home. And how then could I have endured my hidden affliction! Happily I am warn'd in time, and out of my bosom Has my secret escaped, whilst curable still is the evil. But no more of the subject! I now must tarry no longer In this house, where I now am standing in pain and confusion, All my foolish hopes and my feelings freely confessing. Not the night which, with sinking clouds, is spreading around us, Not the rolling thunder (I hear it already) shall stop me, Not the falling rain, which outside is descending in torrents, Not the blustering storm. All this I had to encounter In that sorrowful flight, while the enemy follow'd behind Us. And once more I go on my way, as I long have been wont to, Seized by the whirlpool of time, and parted from all that I care for. So farewell! I'll tarry no longer. My fate is accomplish'd!"
Thus she spoke, and towards the door she hastily turn'd her, Holding under her arm the bundle she brought when arriving. But the mother seized by both of her arms the fair maiden, Clasping her round the body, and cried with surprise and amazement "Say, what signifies this? These fruitless tears, what denote they? No, I'll not leave you alone! You're surely my dear son's betroth'd one!" But the father stood still, and show'd a great deal of reluctance, Stared at the weeping girl, and peevishly spoke then as follows "This, then, is all the indulgence my friends are willing to give me, That at the close of the day the most unpleasant thing happens! For there is nothing I hate so much as the tears of a woman, And their passionate cries, set up with such heat and excitement, Which a little plain sense would show to be utterly needless. Truly, I find the sight of these whimsical doings a nuisance. Matters must shift for themselves; as for me, I think it is bed-time." So he quickly turn'd round, and hasten'd to go to the chamber Where the marriage-bed stood, in which he slept for the most part. But his son held him back, and spoke in words of entreaty "Father, don't go in a hurry, and be not amniote with the maiden! I alone have to bear the blame of all this confusion, Which our friend has increased by his unexpected dissembling. Speak then, honour'd Sir! for to you the affair I confided; Heap not up pain and annoyance, but rather complete the whole matter; For I surely in future should not respect you so highly, If you play practical jokes, instead of displaying true wisdom."
Thereupon the worthy pastor smilingly answer'd "What kind of wisdom could have extracted the charming confession Of this good maiden, and so have reveal'd all her character to us? Is not your care converted at once to pleasure and rapture? Speak out, then, for yourself! Why need explanations from others Hermann then stepped forward, and gently address'd her as follows "Do not repent of your tears, nor yet of your passing affliction; For they perfect my happiness; yours too, I fain would consider. I came not to the fountain, to hire so noble a maiden As a servant, I came to seek to win you affections. But, alas! my timid gaze had not strength to discover Your heart's leanings; it saw in your eye but a friendly expression, When you greeted it out of the tranquil fountain's bright mirror. Merely to bring you home, made half of my happiness certain But you now make it complete! May every blessing be yours, then!" Then the maiden look'd on the youth with heartfelt emotion, And avoided not kiss or embrace, the summit of rapture, When they also are to the loving the long-wish'd-for pledges Of approaching bliss in a life which now seems to them endless. Then the pastor told the others the whole of the story; But the maiden came and gracefully bent o'er the father, Kissing the while his hand, which he to draw back attempted. And she said:—" I am sure that you will forgive the surprised one, First for her tears of sorrow, and then for her tears of true rapture. O forgive the emotions by which they both have been prompted, And let me fully enjoy the bliss that has now been vouchsafed me! Let the first vexation, which my confusion gave rise to, Also be the last! The loving service which lately Was by the servant promised, shall now by the daughter be render'd."
And the father, his tears concealing, straightway embraced her; Lovingly came the mother in turn, and heartily kiss'd her, Warmly shaking her hand; and silently wept they together. Then in a hasty manner, the good and sensible pastor Seized the hand of the father, his wedding-ring off from his finger Drawing (not easily though; so plump was the member that held it) Then he took the mother's ring, and betroth'd the two children, Saying:—"Once more may it be these golden hoops' destination Firmly to fasten a bond altogether resembling the old one! For this youth is deeply imbued with love for the maiden, And the maiden confesses that she for the youth has a liking. Therefore, I now betroth you, and wish you all blessings hereafter, With the parents' consent, and with our friend here as a witness."
And the neighbour bent forward, and added his own benediction; But when the clergyman placed the gold ring on the hand of the maiden, He with astonishment saw the one which already was on it, And which Hermann before at the fountain had anxiously noticed. Whereupon he spoke in words at once friendly and jesting "What! You are twice engaging yourself? I hope that the first one May not appear at the altar, unkindly forbidding the banns there!"
But she said in reply:—"O let me devote but one moment To this mournful remembrance! For well did the good youth deserve it, Who, when departing, presented the ring, but never return'd home. All was by him foreseen, when freedom's love of a sudden, And a desire to play his part in the new-found Existence, Drove him to go to Paris, where prison and death were his portion. 'Farewell,' said he, 'I go; for all things on earth are in motion At this moment, and all things appear in a state of disunion. Fundamental laws in the steadiest countries are loosen'd, And possessions are parted from those who used to possess them, Friends are parted from friends, and love is parted from love too. I now leave you here, and whether I ever shall see you Here again,—who can tell? Perchance these words will our last be. Man is a stranger here upon earth, the proverb informs us; Every person has now become more a stranger than ever. Ours the soil is no longer; our treasures are fast flying from us; All the sacred old vessels of gold and silver are melted, All is moving, as though the old-fashion'd world would roll backwards Into chaos and night, in order anew to be fashion'd. You of my heart have possession, and if we shall ever here-after Meet again over the wreck of the world, it will be as new creatures, All remodell'd and free and independent of fortune; For what fetters can bind down those who survive such a period! But if we are destined not to escape from these dangers, If we are never again to embrace each other with raptures O then fondly keep in your thoughts my hovering image, That you may be prepared with like courage for good and ill fortune! If a new home or a new alliance should chance to allure you, Then enjoy with thanks whatever your destiny offers, Purely loving the loving, and grateful to him who thus loves you. But remember always to tread with a circumspect footstep, For the fresh pangs of a second loss will behind you be lurking. Deem each day as sacred; but value not life any higher Than any other possession, for all possessions are fleeting.' Thus he spoke; and the noble youth and I parted for ever: Meanwhile I ev'rything lost, and a thousand times thought of his warning. Once more I think of his words, now that love is sweetly preparing Happiness for me anew, and the brightest of hopes is unfolding. Pardon me, dearest friend, for trembling e'en at the moment When I am clasping your arm! For thus, on first landing, the sailor Fancies that even the solid ground is shaking beneath him."
Thus she spoke, and she placed the rings by the side of each other. But the bridegroom answer'd, with noble and manly emotion "All the firmer, amidst the universal disruption, Be, Dorothea, our union! We'll show ourselves bold and enduring, Firmly hold our own, and firmly retain our possessions. For the man who in wav'ring times is inclined to be wav'ring Only increases the evil, and spreads it wider and wider; But the man of firm decision the universe fashions. 'Tis not becoming the Germans to further this fearful commotion, And in addition to waver uncertainly hither and thither. 'This is our own!' we ought to say, and so to maintain it! For the world will ever applaud those resolute nations Who for God and the Law, their wives, and parents, and children Struggle, and fall when contending against the foeman together. You are mine; and now what is mine, is mine more than ever. Not with anxiety will I preserve it, or timidly use it, But with courage and strength. And if the enemy threaten Now or hereafter, I'll hold myself ready, and reach down my weapons. If I know that the house and my parents by you are protected, I shall expose my breast to the enemy, void of all terror; And if all others thought thus, then might against might should be measured, And in the early prospect of peace we should all be rejoicing."
17967. ——- WEST-EASTERN DIVAN. ——- Who the song would understand, Needs must seek the song's own land. Who the minstrel understand, Needs must seek the minstrel's land. ——-
THE Poems comprised in this collection are written in the Persian style, and are greatly admired by Oriental scholars, for the truthfulness with which the Eastern spirit of poetry is reproduced by the Western minstrel. They were chiefly composed between the years 1814 and 1819, and first given to the world in the latter year. Of the twelve books into which they are divided, that of Suleika will probably be considered the best, from the many graceful love-songs which it contains. The following is Hanoi's account of the Divan, and may well serve as a substitute for anything I could say respecting it:—
It contains opinions and sentiments on the East, expressed in a series of rich cantos and stanzas full of sweetness and spirit, and all this as enchanting as a harem emitting the most delicious and rare perfumes, and blooming with exquisitely-lovely nymphs with eyebrows painted black, eyes piercing as those of the antelope, arms white as alabaster, and of the most graceful and perfectly-formed shapes, while the heart of the reader beats and grows faint, as did that of the happy Gaspard Debaran, the clown, who, when on the highest step of his ladder, was enabled to peep into the Seraglio of Constantinople—that recess concealed from the inspection of man. Sometimes also the reader may imagine himself indolently stretched on a carpet of Persian softness, luxuriously smoking the yellow tobacco of Turkistan through a long tube of jessamine and amber, while a black slave fans him with a fan of peacock's feathers, and a little boy presents him with a cup of genuine Mocha. Goethe has put these enchanting and voluptuous customs into poetry, and his verses are so perfect, so harmonious, so tasteful, so soft, that it seems really surprising that he should ever have been able to have brought the German language to this state of suppleness. The charm of the book is inexplicable; it is a votive nosegay sent from the West to the East, composed of the most precious and curious plants: red roses, hortensias like the breast of a spotless maiden, purple digitalis like the long finger of a man, fantastically formed ranunculi, and in the midst of all, silent and tastefully concealed, a tuft of German violets. This nosegay signifies that the West is tired of thin and icy-cold spirituality, and seeks warmth in the strong and healthy bosom of the East."
Translations are here given of upwards of sixty of the best Poems embraced in the Divan, the number in the original exceeding two hundred. ——- I. MORGAGNI NAME.
BOOK OF THE MINSTREL.
GOD is of the east possess'd, God is ruler of the west; North and south alike, each land Rests within His gentle hand. ——- HE, the only righteous one, Wills that right to each be done. 'Mongst His hundred titles, then, Highest praised be this!—Amen. ——- ERROR seeketh to deceive me, Thou art able to retrieve me; Both in action and in song Keep my course from going wrong.
1819.* ——- THE FOUR FAVOURS.
THAT Arabs through the realms of space
May wander on, light-hearted, Great Allah hath, to all their race,
Four favours meet imparted.
The turban first—that ornament
All regal crowns excelling; A light and ever-shifting tent,
Wherein to make our dwelling;
A sword, which, more than rocks and walls
Doth shield us, brightly glistening; A song that profits and enthrall,
For which the maids are list'ning!
1814. ——- DISCORD.
WHEN by the brook his strain
Cupid is fluting, And on the neighboring plain
Mayors disputing, There turns the ear ere long,
Loving and tender, Yet to the noise a song
Soon must surrender. Loud then the flute-notes glad
Sound 'mid war's thunder; If I grow raving mad,
Is it a wonder? Flutes sing and trumpets bray,
Waxing yet stronger; If, then, my senses stray,
Wonder no longer.
1814. ——- SONG AND STRUCTURE.
LET the Greek his plastic clay
Mould in human fashion, While his own creation may
Wake his glowing passion;
But it is our joy to court
Great Euphrates' torrent, Here and there at will to sport
In the Wat'ry current.
Quench'd I thus my spirit's flame,
Songs had soon resounded; Water drawn by bards whose fame
Pure is, may be rounded.+
1819.* (+ This oriental belief in the power of the pure to roll-up water into a crystal hail is made the foundation of the Interesting Pariah Legend, that will be found elsewhere amongst the Ballads.) ——- II. HAFIS NAME.
BOOK OF HAFIS.
SPIRIT let us bridegroom call,
And the word the bride; Known this wedding is to all
Who have Hafis tried.
THAT thou can't never end, doth make thee great, And that thou ne'er beginnest, is thy fate. Thy song is changeful as yon starry frame, End and beginning evermore the same; And what the middle bringeth, but contains What was at first, and what at last remains. Thou art of joy the true and minstrel-source, From thee pours wave on wave with ceaseless force. A mouth that's aye prepared to kiss,
A breast whence flows a loving song, A throat that finds no draught amiss,
An open heart that knows no wrong.
And what though all the world should sink!
Hafis, with thee, alone with thee
Will I contend! joy, misery,
The portion of us twain shall be; Like thee to love, like thee to drink,—
This be my pride,—this, life to me!
Now, Song, with thine own fire be sung,— For thou art older, thou more young!
1817.* ——- TO HAFIS.
HAFIS, straight to equal thee,
One would strive in vain; Though a ship with majesty
Cleaves the foaming main, Feels its sails swell haughtily
As it onward hies Crush'd by ocean's stern decree,
Wrecked it straightway lies. Tow'rd thee, songs, light, graceful, free,
Mount with cooling gush; Then their glow consumeth me,
As like fire they rush. Yet a thought with ecstasy
Hath my courage moved; In the land of melody
I have lived and loved.
1815. ——- III. USCHK NAME.
BOOK OF LOVE.
LIST, and in memory bear These six fond loving pair. Love, when aroused, kept true Rustan and Rad! Strangers approach from far Joseph and Suleika; Love, void of hope, is in Ferhad and Schirin. Born for each other are Medschnun and Lily; Loving, though old and grey, Dschemil saw Boteinah. Love's sweet caprice anon, Brown maid + and Solomon! If thou dost mark them well, Stronger thy love will swell.
1817.* (+ Brown maid is the Queen of Sheba.) ——- ONE PAIR MORE.
LOVE is indeed a glorious prize! What fairer guerdon meets our eyes?— Though neither wealth nor power are thine, A very hero thou dost shine. As of the prophet, they will tell, Wamik and Asia's tale as well.— They'll tell not of them,—they'll but give Their names, which now are all that live. The deeds they did, the toils they proved No mortal knows! But that they loved This know we. Here's the story true Of Wamik and of Asia too.
1827.* ——- LOVE's torments sought a place of rest,
Where all might drear and lonely be; They found ere long my desert breast,
And nestled in its vacancy.
1827.* ——- IV. TEFKIR NAME.
BOOK OF CONTEMPLATION.
WHAT makes time short to me?
Activity! What makes it long and spiritless?
'Tis idleness! What brings us to debt?
To delay and forget! What makes us succeed?
Decision with speed How to fame to ascend?
Oneself to defend!
1814 ——- FOR woman due allowance make!
Form'd of a crooked rib was she,—
By Heaven she could not straightened be. Attempt to bend her, and she'll break; If left alone, more crooked grows madam; What well could be worse, my good friend, Adam?— For woman due allowance make; 'Twere grievous, if thy rib should break!
1819.* ——- FIRDUSI (Speaks).
OH world, with what baseness and guilt thou art rife!
Thou nurtures, trainest, and illest the while.
He only whom Allah doth bless with his smile Is train'd and is nurtured with riches and life.
1819.* ——- SULEIKA (Speaks).
THE mirror tells me, I am fair!
Thou sayest, to grow old my fate will be. Nought in God's presence changeth e'er,—
Love him, for this one moment, then, in me.
1819.* ——- V. RENDSCH NAME
BOOK OF GLOOM.
IT is a fault oneself to praise,
And yet 'tis done by each whose deeds are kind; And if there's no deceit in what he says,
The good we still as good shall find.
Let, then, ye fools, that wise man taste
Of joy, who fancies that he s wise, That he, a fool like you, may waste
Th' insipid thanks the world supplies.
1816. ——- VI. HIKMET NAME.
BOOK OF PROVERBS.
CALL on the present day and night for nought, Save what by yesterday was brought. ——- THE sea is flowing ever, The land retains it never. ——- BE stirring, man, while yet the day is clear; The night when none can work fast Draweth near. ——- WHEN the heavy-laden sigh, Deeming help and hope gone by, Oft, with healing power is heard, Comfort-fraught, a kindly word. ——- How vast is mine inheritance, how glorious and sublime! For time mine own possession is, the land I till is time! ——- UNWARY saith,—ne'er lived a man more true; The deepest heart, the highest head he knew,— "In ev'ry place and time thou'lt find availing Uprightness, judgment, kindliness unfailing." ——- THOUGH the bards whom the Orient sun bath bless'd Are greater than we who dwell in the west, Yet in hatred of those whom our equals we find. In this we're not in the least behind. ——-
WOULD we let our envy burst,
Feed its hunger fully first! To keep our proper place,
We'll show our bristles more; With hawks men all things chase,
Except the savage boar. ——- BY those who themselves more bravely have fought A hero's praise will be joyfully told. The worth of man can only be taught By those who have suffer'd both heat and cold. ——- "WHEREFORE is truth so far from our eyes, Buried as though in a distant land?" None at the proper moment are wise!
Could they properly understand,
Truth would appear in her own sweet guise, Beauteous, gentle, and close at hand. ——- WHY these inquiries make,
Where charity may flow? Cast in the flood thy cake,—
Its eater, who will know? ——- ONCE when I a spider had kill'd,
Then methought: wast right or wrong?
That we both to these times should belong, This had God in His goodness willed. ——- MOTLEY this congregation is, for, lo! At the communion kneel both friend and foe. ——- IF the country I'm to show, Thou must on the housetop go. ——- A MAN with households twain
Ne'er finds attention meet, A house wherein two women reign
Is ne'er kept clean and neat. ——- BLESS, thou dread Creator,
Bless this humble fane; Man may build them greater,—
More they'll not contain. ——- LET this house's glory rise,
Handed to far ages down,
And the son his honour prize. As the father his renown. ——- O'ER the Mediterranean sea
Proudly hath the Orient sprung; Who loves Hafis and knows him, he
Knows what Caldron hath sung. ——- IF the ass that bore the Saviour
Were to Mecca driven, he
Would not alter, but would be Still an ass in his behavior. ——- THE flood of passion storms with fruitless strife
'Gainst the unvanquished solid land.—
It throws poetic pearls upon the strand, And thus is gain'd the prize of life. ——- WHEN so many minstrels there are,
How it pains me, alas, to know it! Who from the earth drives poetry far?
Who but the poet! ——- VII. TIMUR NAME.
BOOK OF TIMUR.
THE WINTER AND TIMUR.
So the winter now closed round them With resistless fury. Scattering Over all his breath so icy, He inflamed each wind that blithe To assail them angrily. Over them he gave dominion To his frost-unsharpened tempests; Down to Timur's council went he, And with threat'ning voice address'd him:— "Softly, slowly, wretched being! Live, the tyrant of injustice; But shall hearts be scorch'd much longer By thy flames,—consume before them? If amongst the evil spirits Thou art one,—good! I'm another. Thou a greybeard art—so I am; Land and men we make to stiffen. Thou art Mars! And I Saturnus,— Both are evil-working planets, When united, horror-fraught. Thou dost kill the soul, thou freezes E'en the atmosphere; still colder Is my breath than thine was ever. Thy wild armies vex the faithful With a thousand varying torments; Well! God grant that I discover Even worse, before I perish! And by God, I'll give thee none. Let God hear what now I tell thee! Yes, by God! from Death's cold clutches Nought, O greybeard, shall protect thee, Not the hearth's broad coalfire's ardour, Not December's brightest flame."
1814. ——- TO SULEIKA.
FITTING perfumes to prepare,
And to raise thy rapture high, Must a thousand rosebuds fair
First in fiery torments die.
One small flask's contents to glean,
Whose sweet fragrance aye may live, Slender as thy finger e'en,
Must a world its treasures give;
Yes, a world where life is moving,
Which, with impulse full and strong, Could forbode the Bulbul's loving,
Sweet, and spirit-stirring song.
Since they thus have swell'd our joy,
Should such torments grieve us, then? Doth not Timur's rule destroy
Myriad souls of living men?
1815.* ——- VIII. SULEIKA NAME.
BOOK OF SULEIKA.
ONCE, methought, in the night hours cold,
That I saw the moon in my sleep; But as soon as I waken'd, behold
Unawares rose the sun from the deep.
THAT Suleika's love was so strong
For Joseph, need cause no surprise;
He was young, youth pleaseth the eyes,—
He was fair, they say, beyond measure
Fair was she, and so great was their pleasure. But that thou, who awaitedst me long, Youthful glances of fire dost throw me, Soon wilt bless me, thy love now dost show me, This shall my joyous numbers proclaim, Thee I for ever Suleika shall name.
1815. ——- HATEM.
NOT occasion makes the thief;
She's the greatest of the whole; For Love's relics, to my grief,
From my aching heart she stole.
She hath given it to thee,—
All the joy my life had known, So that, in my poverty,
Life I seek from thee alone.
Yet compassion greets me straight
In the lustre of thine eye, And I bless my newborn fate,
As within thine arms I lie.
1815. ——- SULEIKA.
THE sun appears! A glorious sight!
The crescent-moon clings round him now. What could this wondrous pair unite?
How to explain this riddle? How?
May this our joy's foreboder prove!
In it I view myself and thee; Thou calmest me thy sun, my love,—
Come, my sweet moon, cling thou round me!
1815. ——- LOVE for love, and moments sweet,
Lips returning kiss for kiss, Word for word, and eyes that meet;
Breath for breath, and bliss for bliss. Thus at eve, and thus the morrow!
Yet thou feeblest, at my lay, Ever some half-hidden sorrow; Could I Joseph's graces borrow,
All thy beauty I'd repay!
1815. ——- HATEM.
O, SAY, 'neath what celestial sign
The day doth lie, When ne'er again this heart of mine
Away will fly? And e'en though fled (what thought divine!)
Would near me lie?— On the soft couch, on whose sweet shrine
My heart near hers will lie!
1816. ——- HATEM.
HOLD me, locks, securely caught
In the circle of her face! Dear brown serpents, I have nought
To repay this act of grace,
Save a heart whose love ne'er dies,
Throbbing with aye-youthful glow; For a raging ETA lies
'Neath its veil of mist and snow.
Yonder mountain's stately brow
Thou, like morning beams, dost shame; Once again feels Hatem now
Spring's soft breath and summer's flame.
One more bumper! Fill the glass;
This last cup I pledge to thee!— By mine ashes if she pass,
"He consumed," she'll say, "for me."
1815. ——- THE LOVING ONE SPEAKS.
AND wherefore sends not The horseman-captain His heralds hither
Each day, unfailing? Yet hath he horses, He writes well.
He waiteth Tali, And Neski knows he To write with beauty On silken tablets. I'd deem him present, Had I his words.
The sick One will not, Will not recover From her sweet sorrow; She, when she heareth That her true lover Grows well, falls sick.
1819.* ——- THE LOVING ONE AGAIN.
WRITES he in Neski, Faithfully speaks he; Writes he in Tali, Joy to give, seeks he: Writes he in either, Good!—for he loves!
1819.* ——- THESE tufted branches fair
Observe, my loved one, well! And see the fruits they bear
In green and prickly shell!
They've hung roll'd up, till now,
Unconsciously and still; A loosely-waving bough
Doth rock them at its will.
Yet, ripening from within.
The kernel brown swells fast; It seeks the air to win,
It seeks the sun at last.
With joy it bursts its thrall,
The shell must needs give way. 'Tis thus my numbers fall
Before thy feet, each day.
1815. ——- SULEIKA.
WHAT is by this stir reveal'd?
Doth the East glad tidings bring? For my heart's deep wounds are heal'd
By his mild and cooling wing.
He the dust with sports doth meet,
And in gentle cloudlets chase; To the vineleaf's safe retreat
Drives the insects' happy race,
Cools these burning cheeks of mine,
Checks the sun's fierce glow Adam, Kisses, as he flies, the vine,
Flaunting over hill and plain.
And his whispers soft convey
Thousand greetings from my friend; Ere these hills own night's dark sway,
Kisses greet me, without end.
Thus canst thou still onward go,
Serving friend and mourner too! There, where lofty ramparts glow,
Soon the loved one shall I view.
Ah, what makes the heart's truth known,—
Love's sweet breath,—a newborn life,— Learn I from his mouth alone,
In his breath alone is rife!
1815. ——- THE SUBLIME TYPE.
THE sun, whom Grecians Helms call,
His heavenly path with pride doth tread, And, to subdue the world's wide all,
Looks round, beneath him, high o'er head.
He sees the fairest goddess pine,
Heaven's child, the daughter of the clouds,— For her alone he seems to shine;
In trembling grief his form he shrouds,
Careless for all the realms of bliss,—
Her streaming tears more swiftly flow: For every pearl he gives a kiss,
And changeth into joy her woe.
She gazeth upward fixedly,
And deeply feels his glance of might, While, stamped with his own effigy,
Each pearl would range itself aright.
Thus wreath'd with bows, with hues thus grac'd,
With gladness beams her face so fair, While he, to meet her, maketh haste,
And yet, alas! can reach her ne'er.
So, by the harsh decree of Fate,
Thou modest from me, dearest one; And were I Helms e'en, the Great,
What would avail his chariot-throne?
1815. ——- SULEIKA.
ZEPHYR, for thy humid wing,
Oh, how much I envy thee! Thou to him canst tidings bring
How our parting saddens me!
In my breast, a yearning still
As thy pinions wave, appears; Flow'rs and eyes, and wood, and hill
At thy breath are steeped in tears.
Yet thy mild wing gives relief,
Soothes the aching eyelid's pain; Ah, I else had died for grief,
Him ne'er hoped to see again.
To my love, then, quick repair,
Whisper softly to his heart; Yet, to give him pain, beware,
Nor my bosom's pangs impart.
Tell him, but in accents coy,
That his love must be my life; Both, with feelings fraught with joy,
In his presence will be rife.
1815. ——- THE REUNION.
CAN it be! of stars the star,
Do I press thee to my heart? In the night of distance far,
What deep gulf, what bitter smart! Yes, 'tis thou, indeed, at last,
Of my joys the partner dear! Mindful, though, of sorrows past,
I the present needs must fear.
When the still-unfashion'd earth
Lay on God's eternal breast, He ordain'd its hour of birth,
With creative joy possess'd. Then a heavy sigh arose,
When He spake the sentence:—"Be!" And the All, with mighty throes,
Burst into reality.
And when thus was born the light,
Darkness near it fear'd to stay, And the elements with might
Fled on every side away; Each on some far-distant trace,
Each with visions wild employ, Numb, in boundless realm of space,
Harmony and feeling-void.
Dumb was all, all still and dead,
For the first time, God alone! Then He form'd the morning-red,
Which soon made its kindness known: It unravelled from the waste,
Bright and glowing harmony, And once more with love was grac'd
What contended formerly.
And with earnest, noble strife,
Each its own Peculiar sought; Back to full, unbounded life
Sight and feeling soon were brought. Wherefore, if 'tis done, explore
How? why give the manner, name? Allah need create no more,
We his world ourselves can frame.
So, with morning pinions bright,
To thy mouth was I impell'd; Stamped with thousand seals by night,
Star-clear is the bond fast held. Paragons on earth are we
Both of grief and joy sublime, And a second sentence:—"Be!"
Parts us not a second time.
1815. ——- SULEIKA.
WITH what inward joy, sweet lay,
I thy meaning have descried! Lovingly thou seem'st to say
That I'm ever by his side;
That he ever thinks of me,
That he to the absent gives All his love's sweet ecstasy,
While for him alone she lives.
Yes, the mirror which reveals
Thee, my loved one, is my breast; This the bosom, where thy seals
Endless kisses have impress'd.
Numbers sweet, unsullied truth,
Chain me down in sympathy! Love's embodied radiant youth,
In the garb of poesy!
1819.* ——- IN thousand forms mayst thou attempt surprise,
Yet, all-beloved-one, straight know I thee; Thou mayst with magic veils thy face disguise,
And yet, all-present-one, straight know I thee.
Upon the cypress' purest, youthful bud,
All-beauteous-growing-one, straight know I thee; In the canal's unsullied, living flood,
All-captivating-one, well know I thee.
When spreads the water-column, rising proud,
All-sportive one, how gladly know I thee; When, e'en in forming, is transform'd the cloud,
All-figure-changing-one, there know I thee.
Veil in the meadow-carpet's flowery charms,
All-checkered-starry-fair-one, know I thee; And if a plant extend its thousand arms,
O, all-embracing-one, there know I thee.
When on the mount is kindled morn's sweet light,
Straightway, all-gladdening-one, salute I thee, The arch of heaven o'er head grows pure and bright,—
All-heart-expanding-one, then breathe I thee.
That which my inward, outward sense proclaims,
Thou all-instructing-one, I know through thee; And if I utter Allah's hundred names,
A name with each one echoes, meant for thee.
1819.* ——- IX. SAKE NAME.
THE CONVIVIAL BOOK.
CAN the Koran from Eternity be?
'Tis worth not a thought! Can the Koran a creation, then, be?
Of that, I know nought! Yet that the book of all books it must be,
I believe, as a Mussulman ought. That from Eternity wine, though, must be,
I ever have thought; That 'twas ordain'd, ere the Angels, to be,
As a truth may be taught. Drinkers, however these matters may be,
Gaze on God's face, fearing nought.
1815. ——- YE'VE often, for our drunkenness,
Blamed us in ev'ry way, And, in abuse of drunkenness,
Enough can never say. Men, overcome by drunkenness,
Are wont to lie till day; And yet I find my drunkenness
All night-time make me stray; For, oh! 'tis Love's sweet drunkenness
That maketh me its prey, Which night and day, and day and night,
My heart must needs obey,— A heart that, in its drunkenness,
Pours forth full many a lay, So that no trifling drunkenness
Can dare assert its sway. Love, song, and wine's sweet drunkenness,
By night-time and by day,— How god-like is the drunkenness
That maketh me its prey!
1815. ——- X. MATHAL NAME.
BOOK OF PARABLES.
FROM heaven there fell upon the foaming wave
A timid drop; the flood with anger roared,—
But God, its modest boldness to reward, Strength to the drop and firm endurance gave. Its form the mussel captive took,
And to its lasting glory and renown,
The pearl now glistens in our monarch's crown, With gentle gleam and loving look.
1819.* ——- BULBUL'S song, through night hours cold,
Rose to Allah's throne on high;
To reward her melody, Giveth he a cage of gold. Such a cage are limbs of men,—
Though at first she feels confin'd,
Yet when all she brings to mind, Straight the spirit sings again.
1819.* ——- IN the Koran with strange delight A peacock's feather met my sight: Thou'rt welcome in this holy place, The highest prize on earth's wide face! As in the stars of heaven, in thee, God's greatness in the small we see; For he whose gaze whole worlds bath bless'd His eye hath even here impress'd, And the light down in beauty dress'd, So that e'en monarchs cannot hope In splendour with the bird to cope. Meekly enjoy thy happy lot, And so deserve that holy spot!
1815. ——- ALL kinds of men, both small and great, A fine-spun web delight to create, And in the middle they take their place, And wield their scissors with wondrous grace. But if a besom should sweep that way: "What a most shameful thing," they say,— "They've crush'd a mighty palace to-day."
1815. ——- IT IS GOOD.
IN Paradise while moonbeams play'd,
Jehovah found, in slumber deep, Adam fast sunk; He gently laid
Eve near him,—she, too, fell asleep. There lay they now, on earth's fair shrine, God's two most beauteous thoughts divine.— When this He saw, He cried:—'Tis Good!!! And scarce could move from where He stood.
No wonder, that our joy's complete While eye and eye responsive meet, When this blest thought of rapture moves us— That we're with Him who truly loves us, And if He cries:—Good, let it be! 'Tis so for both, it seems to me. Thou'rt clasp'd within these arms of mine, Dearest of all God's thoughts divine!
1815. ——- XI. PARIS NAME.
BOOK OF THE PARSEES.
THE BEQUEST OF THE ANCIENT PERSIAN FAITH.
BRETHREN, what bequest to you should come From the lowly poor man, going home, Whom ye younger ones with patience tended, Whose last days ye honour'd and defended?
When we oft have seen the monarch ride, Gold upon him, gold on ev'ry side; Jewels on him, on his courtiers all, Thickly strewed as hailstones when they fall,
Have ye e'er known envy at the sight? And not felt your gaze become more bright, When the sun was, on the wings of morning, Darnawend's unnumber'd peaks adorning,
As he, bow-like, rose? How each eye dwelt On the glorious scene! I felt, I felt, Thousand times, as life's days fleeted by, Borne with him, the coming one, on high.
God upon His throne then to proclaim, Him, the life-fount's mighty Lord, to name, Worthily to prize that glorious sight, And to wander on beneath His light.
When the fiery orb was all defined, There I stood, as though in darkness, blind, Beat my breast, my quicken'd members threw On the earth, brow-foremost, at the view.
Let this holy, great bequest reward Brotherly good-will and kind regard: SOLEMN DUTY'S DAILY observation.— More than this, it needs no revelation.
If its gentle hands a new-born one Move, then straightway turn it tow'rd the sun,— Soul and body dip in bath of fire! Then each morning's favour 'twill acquire.
To the living one, commit the dead, O'er the beast let earth and dust be spread, And, so far as may extend your might, What ye deem impure, conceal from sight.
Till your plains to graceful purity, That the sun with joy your labours see; When ye plant, your trees in rows contrive, For he makes the Regular to thrive.
E'en the floods that through the channel rush Must not fail in fulness or in gush; And as Senderud, from mountain high, Rises pure, in pureness must it die.
Not to weaken water's gentle fall, Carefully cleanse out the channels all; Salamander, snake, and rush, and reed,— All destroy,—each monster and each weed.
If thus pure ye earth and water keep, Through the air the sun will gladly peep, Where he, worthily enshrined in space, Worketh life, to life gives holy grace.
Ye, by toil on toil so sorely tried, Comfort take, the All is purified; And now man, as priest, may boldly dare From the stone God's image to prepare.
When the flame burns joyously and bright, Limbs are supple, radiant is the night; On the hearth when fire with ardour glows, Ripe the sap of plants and creatures grows.
Dragging wood, with rapture be it done, 'Tis the seed of many an earthly sun; Plucking Pambeh, gladly may ye say:— This, as wick, the Holy will convey.
If ye meekly, in each burning lamp, See the nobler light's resplendent stamp, Ne'er will Fate prevent you, void of feeling, At God's throne at morningtide from kneeling.
This is Being's mighty signet, then, God's pure glass to angels and to men; Each word lisped the Highest's praise to sound, Ring in ring, united there is found.
From the shore of Senderud ascendeth, Up to Darnawend its pinions bendeth, As He dawns, with joy to greet His light, You with endless blessings to requite.
1819.* ——- XII. CHULD NAME.
BOOK OF PARADISE.
THE PRIVILEGED MEN.
AFTER THE BATTLE OF BADE, BENEATH THE CANOPY OF HEAVEN.
[This battle was fought in the second year of the Hegira (A.A. 623), between the followers of Mahomet, who numbered three hundred and thirteen, possessing two horses and seventy camels, and the 'idolaters,' or Meccans, whose forces amounted to nine hundred and fifty, including two hundred cavalry. The victory remained with Mahomet, who lost fourteen men, while seventy of the enemy were slain. A great accession of strength ensued in consequence to the Prophet, who pretended that miracles were wrought in his behalf in the battle, God having sent angels to fight on his side, and having also made his army to appear larger to the enemy than it really was.—See the Koran, chapter viii., and ABULFEDA'S Life of Mahomet.]
LET the foeman sorrow o'er his dead,
Ne'er will they return again to light; O'er our brethren let no tear be shed,
For they dwell above yon spheres so bright.
All the seven planets open throw
All their metal doors with mighty shock, And the forms of those we loved below
At the gates of Eden boldly knock.
There they find, with bliss ne'er dream'd before,
Glories that my flight first show'd to eye, When the wondrous steed my person bore
In one second through the realms on high.
Wisdom's trees, in cypress-order growing,
High uphold the golden apples sweet; Trees of life, their spreading shadows throwing,
Shade each blossoming plant, each flow'ry seat.
Now a balmy zephyr from the East
Brings the heavenly maidens to thy view; With the eye thou now dost taste the feast,
Soon the sight pervades thee through and through.
There they stand, to ask thee thy career:
Mighty plans? or dangerous bloody rout? Thou'rt a hero, know they,—for Thourt here,
What a hero?—This they'll fathom out.
By thy wounds soon clearly this is shown,
Wounds that write thy fame's undying story; Wounds the true believer mark alone,
When have perish'd joy and earthly glory.
To chiosks and arbors thou art brought,
Fill'd with checkered marble columns bright; To the noble grape-juice, solace-fraught,
They the guest with kindly sips invite.
Youth! Thou'rt welcome more than e'er was youth
All alike are radiant and serene; When thou tak'st one to thine heart with truth,
Of thy band she'll be the friend and queen.
So prepare thee for this place of rest,
Never can it now be changed again; Maids like these will ever make thee blest,
Wines like these will never harm thy brain.
1819. ——- THE FAVOURED BEASTS.
Or beasts there have been chosen four
To come to Paradise, And there with saints for evermore
They dwell in happy wise.
Amongst them all the Ass stands first;
He comes with joyous stride, For to the Prophet-City erst
Did Jesus on him ride.
Half timid next a Wolf doth creep,
To whom Mahomet spake "Spoil not the poor man of his sheep,
The rich man's thou mayst take."
And then the brave and faithful Hound,
Who by his master kept, And slept with him the slumbers sound
The seven sleepers slept.
Abuherrira's Cat, too, here,
Purrs round his master blest, For holy must the beast appear
The Prophet hath caress'd.
1815. ——- THE SEVEN SLEEPERS.
Six among the courtiers favour'd Fly before the Caesar's fury, Who would as a god be worshipp'd, Though in truth no god appearing, For a fly prevents him ever From enjoying food at table. Though with fans his servants scare it, They the fly can never banish. It torments him, stings, and troubles, And the festal board perplexes, Then returning like the herald Of the olden crafty Fly-God. "What!"—the striplings say together— "Shall a fly a god embarrass?
Shall a god drink, eat at table, Like us mortals? No, the Only, Who the sun and moon created, And the glowing stars arch'd o'er us, He is God,—we'll fly!"—The gentle, Lightly shod, and dainty striplings Did a shepherd meet, and hide them, With himself, within a cavern.
And the sheep-dog will not leave them,— Scared away, his foot all-mangled, To his master still he presses, And he joins the hidden party, Joins the favorites of slumber.
And the prince, whom they had fled from, Fondly-furious, thinks of vengeance, And, discarding sword and fire, Has them walled-up in the cavern, Walled-up fast with bricks and mortar.
But the others slumber ever, And the Angel, their protector, Gives before God's throne this notice "To the right and left alternate Have I ever cared to turn them, That their fair and youthful members Be not by the mould-damp injured; Clefts within the rocks I open'd, That the sun may, rising, setting, Keep their cheeks in youthful freshness." So they lie there, bless'd by Heaven. And, with forepaws sound and scatheless, Sleeps the dog in gentle slumber.
Years come round, and years fly onward, And the youths at length awaken, And the wall, which now had moldered, From its very age has fallen. And Jamblika says,—whose beauty Far exceedeth all the others,— When the fearful shepherd lingers:— "I will run, and food procure you, Life and piece of gold I'll wager!"— Ephebus had many a year now Own'd the teaching of the Prophet Jesus (Peace be with the Good One!)
And he ran, and at the gateway Were the warders and the others. Yet he to the nearest baker's, Seeking bread, went swiftly onwards.— "Rogue!" thus cried the baker—"hast thou, Youth, a treasure, then, discover'd? Give me,—for the gold betrays thee,— Give me half, to keep thy secret!"—
And they quarrel.—To the monarch Comes the matter; and the monarch Fain would halve it, like the baker.
Now the miracle is proven Slowly by a hundred tokens. He can e'en his right establish To the palace he erected, For a pillar, when pierced open.
Leads to wealth he said 'twould lead to. Soon are gather'd there whole races, Their relationship to show him. And as great-grandfather, nobly Stands Jamblika's youthful figure.
As of ancestors, he hears them, Speaking of his son and grandsons. His great-grandsons stand around him, Like a race of valiant mortals, Him to honour,—him, the youngest. And one token on another Rises up, the proof completing; The identity is proven Of himself, and of his comrades.
Now returns he to the cavern, With him go both king and people.— Neither to the king nor people E'er returns that chosen mortal; For the Seven, who for ages— Eight was, with the dog, their number— Had from all the world been sunder'd, Gabriel's mysterious power, To the will of God obedient, Hath to Paradise conducted,— And the cave was closed for ever.
SONGS FROM VARIOUS PLAYS, ETC
——- FROM FAUST.
YE shadowy forms, again ye're drawing near,
So wont of yore to meet my troubled gaze! Were it in vain to seek to keep you here?
Loves still my heart that dream of olden days? Oh, come then! and in pristine force appear,
Parting the vapor mist that round me plays! My bosom finds its youthful strength again, Feeling the magic breeze that marks your train.
Ye bring the forms of happy days of yore,
And many a shadow loved attends you too; Like some old lay, whose dream was well nigh o'er,
First-love appears again, and friendship true; Upon life's labyrinthine path once more
Is heard the sigh, and grief revives anew; The friends are told, who, in their hour of pride, Deceived by fortune, vanish'd from my side.
No longer do they hear my plaintive song,
The souls to whom I sang in life's young day; Scatter'd for ever now the friendly throng,
And mute, alas! each sweet responsive lay. My strains but to the careless crowd belong,
Their smiles but sorrow to my heart convey; And all who heard my numbers erst with gladness, If living yet, roam o'er the earth in sadness.
Long buried yearnings in my breast arise,
Yon calm and solemn spirit-realm to gain; Like the AEONIAN harp's sweet melodies,
My murmuring song breathes forth its changeful strain. A trembling seizes me, tears fill mine eyes,
And softer grows my rugged heart amain. All I possess far distant seems to be, The vanish'd only seems reality.
II. PROLOGUE IN HEAVEN.
THE ARCHANGELS' SONG.
THE sun still chaunts, as in old time,
With brother-spheres in choral song, And with his thunder-march sublime
Moves his predestined course along. Strength find the angels in his sight,
Though he by none may fathomed be; Still glorious is each work of might
As when first form'd in majesty.
And swift and swift, in wondrous guise,
Revolves the earth in splendour bright, The radiant hues of Paradise
Alternating with deepest night. From out the gulf against the rock,
In spreading billows foams the ocean,— And cliff and sea with mighty shock,
The spheres whirl round in endless motion.
And storms in emulation growl
From land to sea, from sea to land, And fashion, as they wildly howl,
A circling, wonder-working band. Destructive flames in mad career
Precede Thy thunders on their way; Yet, Lord, Thy messengers revere
The soft mutations of Thy day.
Strength find the angels in Thy sight,
Though none may hope to fathom Thee; Still glorious are Thy works of might,
As when first form'd in majesty.
III. CHORUS OF ANGELS.
CHRIST is arisen!
Mortal, all hail! Thou, of Earth's prison
Dreary and frail, Bursting the veil,
Proudly hast risen!
CHORUS OF WOMEN.
Rich spices and myrrh,
To embalm Him we brought; His corpse to inter
His true followers sought. In pure cerements shrin'd,
'Twas placed in the bier But, alas! we now find
That Christ is not here.
CHORUS OF ANGELS.
Christ is arisen!
Speechless His love. Who to Earth's prison
Came from above, Trials to prove.
Now is He risen!
CHORUS OF YOUTHS.
Death's gloomy portal
Now hath He rended,— Living, immortal,
Heavenward ascended; Freed from His anguish,
Sees He God's throne; We still must languish,
Earthbound, alone. Now that He's reft us,
Heart-sad we pine; Why hast Thou left us,
CHORUS OF ANGELS.
Christ is arisen,
Death hath He slain;
Burst ye your prison,
Rend ye each chain!
Songs of praise lead ye,—
Love to show, heed ye,—
Hungry ones feed ye,—
Preaching, on speed ye,—
Coming joys plead ye,— Then is the Master near, Then is He here!
IV. CHORUS OF SPIRITS.
VANISH, dark clouds on high,
Offspring of night! Let a more radiant beam Through the blue ether gleam,
Charming the sight! Would the dark clouds on high
Melt into air! Stars glimmer tenderly,
Planets more fair
Shed their soft light. Spirits of heav'nly birth, Fairer than sons of earth, Quivering emotions true
Hover above; Yearning affections, too,
In their train move. See how the spirit-band, By the soft breezes fann'd, Covers the smiling land,— Covers the leafy grove, Where happy lovers rove, Deep in a dream of love, True love that never dies! Bowers on bowers rise,
Soft tendrils twine; While from the press escapes, Born of the juicy grapes,
Foaming, the wine; And as the current flows O'er the bright stones it goes,— Leaving the hilly lands
Far, far behind,— Into a sea expands,
Loving to wind Round the green mountain's base; And the glad-winged race,
Rapture sip in, As they the sunny light, And the fair islands bright,
Hasten to win, That on the billows play With sweet deceptive ray, Where in glad choral song Shout the exulting throng; Where on the verdant plain
Dancers we see, Spreading themselves amain
Over the lea. Some boldly climbing are
O'er the steep brake, Others are floating far
O'er the smooth lake. All for a purpose move,
All with life teem, While the sweet stars above
V. MARGARET AT HER SPINNING-WHEEL.
MY heart is sad,
My peace is o'er; I find it never
When gone is he, The grave I see; The world's wide all Is turned to gall.
Alas, my head
Is well-nigh crazed; My feeble mind
Is sore amazed.
My heart is sad,
My peace is o'er; I find it never
For him from the window
Alone I spy; For him alone
From home go I.
His lofty step,
His noble form, His mouth's sweet smile,
His glances warm,
His voice so fraught
With magic bliss, His hand's soft pressure,
And, ah, his kiss!
My heart is sad,
My peace is o'er; I find it never
My bosom yearns
For his form so fair; Ah, could I clasp him
And hold him there!
My kisses sweet
Should stop his breath, And 'neath his kisses
I'd sink in death!
VI. SCENE—A GARDEN,
DOST thou believe in God?
Doth mortal live
Who dares to say that he believes in God? Go, bid the priest a truthful answer give,
Go, ask the wisest who on earth e'er trod,— Their answer will appear to be Given alone in mockery.
Then thou dost not believe? This sayest thou?
Sweet love, mistake not what I utter now! Who knows His name? Who dares proclaim:— Him I believe? Who so can feel His heart to steel To sari believe Him not? The All-Embracer, The All-Sustained, Holds and sustains He not Thee, me, Himself?
Hang not the heavens their arch overhead? Lies not the earth beneath us, firm? Gleam not with kindly glances Eternal stars on high? Looks not mine eye deep into thine? And do not all things Crowd on thy head and heart, And round thee twine, in mystery eterne, Invisible, yet visible? Fill, then, thy heart, however vast, with this, And when the feeling perfecteth thy bliss, O, call it what thou wilt, Call it joy! heart! love! God! No name for it I know! 'Tis feeling all—nought else; Name is but sound and smoke, Obscuring heaven's bright glow.
VII. MARGARET, Placing fresh flowers in the flower-pots.
O THOU well-tried in grief,
Grant to thy child relief, And view with mercy this unhappy one!
The sword within thy heart,
Speechless with bitter smart, Thou Lookest up towards thy dying son.
Thou look'st to God on high,
And breathest many a sigh O'er his and thy distress, thou holy One!
Who e'er can know
The depth of woe
Piercing my very bone? The sorrows that my bosom fill, Its trembling, its aye-yearning will,
Are known to thee, to thee alone!
Wherever I may go,
With woe, with woe, with woe, My bosom sad is aching!
I scarce alone can creep,
I weep, I weep, I weep, My very heart is breaking.
The flowers at my window
My falling tears bedewed, When I, at dawn of morning,
For thee these flow'rets strewed.
When early to my chamber
The cheerful sunbeams stole, I sat upon my pallet,
In agony of soul.
Help! rescue me from death and misery!
Oh, thou well-tried in grief,
Grant to thy child relief, And view with mercy my deep agony!
FROM FAUST—SECOND PART.
WHEN in spring the gentle rain
Breathes into the flower new birth, When the green and happy plain
Smiles upon the sons of earth, Haste to give what help we may,
Little elves of wondrous might! Whether good or evil they,
Pity for them feels the sprite.
II. CHORUS OF SPIRITS.
WHEN the moist and balmy gale
Round the verdant meadow sighs, Odors sweet in misty veil
At the twilight-hour arise. Murmurings soft of calm repose
Rock the heart to child-like rest, And the day's bright portals close
On the eyes with toil oppress'd.
Night already reigns o'er all,
Strangely star is link'd to star; Planets mighty, sparkling small,
Glitter near and gleam afar. Gleam above in clearer night,
Glitter in the glassy sea; Pledging pure and calm delight,
Rules the moon in majesty.
Now each well-known hour is over,
Joy and grief have pass'd away; Feel betimes! thoult then recover:
Trust the newborn eye of day. Vales grow verdant, hillocks teem,
Shady nooks the bushes yield, And with waving, silvery gleam,
Rocks the harvest in the field.
Wouldst thou wish for wish obtain,
Look upon yon glittering ray! Lightly on thee lies the chain,
Cast the shell of sleep away! Tarry not, but be thou bold,
When the many loiter still; All with ease may be controll'd
By the man of daring will.
HARK! the storm of hours draws near, Loudly to the spirit-ear Signs of coming day appear. Rocky gates are wildly crashing, Phoebus' wheels are onward dashing;
(A wonderful noise proclaims the approach of the sun.)
Light doth mighty sounds beget! Pealing loud as rolling thunder, Eye and ear it fills with wonder,
Though itself unconscious yet. Downward steals it,'mongst the flowers Seeking deeper, stiller bowers, 'Mongst the foliage, 'neath the rock; Thou'lt be deafened by the shock! ——- FROM FAUST—SECOND PART.
SCENE THE LAST.
ANGELS. [Hovering in the higher regions of air, and hearing the immortal part of Faust.]
THE spirit-region's noble limb
Hath 'scaled the Archfiend's power; For we have strength to rescue him
Who labours ev'ry hour. And if he feels within his breast
A ray of love from heaven. He's met by all the squadron blest
With welcome gladly given.
THE YOUNGER ANGELS.
Yonder roses, from the holy Hands of penitents so lowly, Help'd to render us victorious, And to do the deed all-glorious; For they gain'd us this soul-treasure.
Evil ones those roses banish'd,
Devils, when we met them, vanish'd. Spirits felt love's pangs with pleasure, Where hell's torments used to dwell; E'en the hoary king of hell Felt sharp torments through him run. Shout for joy! the prize is won.
THE MORE PERFECT ANGELS.
Strains of mortality
Long have oppress'd us; Pure could they ever be,
If of asbestos. If mighty spirit-strength
Elements ever Knew how to seize at length,
Angels could never Link'd twofold natures move,
Where single-hearted; By nought but deathless love
Can they be parted.
THE YOUNGER ANGELS.
See where a spirit-race
Bursts on the sight! Dimly their forms I trace
Round the far height. Each cloud becometh clear, While the bright troops appear
Of the blest boys,
From the Earth's burden free, In a glad company
Drinking in joys, Born of the world above,
Springtime and bliss. May they forerunners prove Of a more perfect love,
Link'd on to this!
THE BEATIFIED CHILDREN.
Thus as a chrysalis
Gladly we gain him, And as a pledge of bliss
Safely retain him; When from the shell he's free
Whereby he's tainted, Perfect and fair he'll be,
Holy and sainted.
DOCTOR MARINAS. (In the highest, purest cell.)
Wide is the prospect here,
Raised is the soul; Women on high appear,
Seeking their goal.
'Mongat them the radiant one,
Queen of the skies, In her bright starry crown
Greets my glad eyes.
Thou who art of earth the queen.
Let me, 'neath the blue Heav'nly canopy serene
Thy sweet mystery view! Grant the gentle solemn force
Which the breast can move. And direct our onward course
Tow'rd thy perfect love. Dauntless let our courage be,
At thy bright behest; Mild our ardour suddenly,
When thou bidd'st us rest. Virgin, type of holiness,
Mother, honour-crown'd, Thou whom we as queen confess,
Godlike and renowned.
Round her, in gentle play,
Light clouds are stealing; Penitents fair are they,
Who, humbly kneeling, Sip in the ether sweet, As they for grace entreat.
Thou, who art from passions free,
Kindly art inclin'd, When the sons of frailty
Seek thee, meek in mind.
Borne by weakness' stream along,
Hard it is to save them; Who can burst lust's chains so strong,
That, alas, enslave them? O how soon the foot may slip,
When the smooth ground pressing! O, how false are eye and lip,
False a breath caressing!
MATER GLORLOSA hovers past.
CHORUS OF PENITENT WOMEN.
To bring realms on high
In majesty soaring, O, hark to our cry
Thy pity imploring, Thou help to the cheerless, In glory so peerless!
MAGNA PECCATRIX (St. Luke vii. 36).
By the love, which o'er the feet
Of thy God-transfigur'd Son Dropp'd the team, like balsam sweet,
Spite of ev'ry scornful one; By the box of ointment rare,
Whence the drops so fragrant fell; By the locks, whose gentle care
Dried His holy members well—
muller SAMARITANA (St, John iv.).
By the well where Abram erst
Drove his flocks to drink their fill; By the bucket which the thirst
Of the Saviour served to still; By the fountain, balm-exhaling,
That from yon bright region flows, Ever clear and never failing.
As round ev'ry world it goes—
MARIA AEGYPTIACA (Acta Sanctorum).
By the sacred spot immortal,
Where the Lord's remains they plac'd; By the arm, that from the portal
Drove me back with warning haste; By my forty years of lowly
Penance in a desert land; By the farewell greetings holy
That I wrote upon the sand—
Thou who ne'er thy radiant face
From the greatest sinners hides, Thou who Thine atoning grace
Through eternity provident,
Let this soul, by virtue stirr'd,
Self-forgetful though when living, That perceived not that it err'd,
Feel thy mercy, sin forgiving!
UNA POENITENTIUM. (Once named Margaret, pressing near them.)
Oh radiance-spreading One,
Who equall'd art by none, In mercy view mine ecstasy!
For he whom erst I loved,
No more by sorrow proved, Returns at length to me!
BEATIFIED CHILDREN. (Approaching as they hover round.)
He now in strength of limb
Far doth outweigh us, And, as we tended him,
So will repay us. Early removed were we
Far from life's story; Train'd now himself, will he
Train us in glory.
THE PENITENT, once named Margaret.
Link'd with the noble band of spirits,
Scarce can the new one feel or see The radiant life he now inherits,
So like that holy band is he. See how he bursts each bond material,
And parts the olden veil at length,— In vesture clad of grace ethereal,
Comes in the glow of youthful strength. Oh, let me guide his steps victorious,
While dazzled by the new-born light.
Come! raise thyself to spheres more glorious, He'll follow when thou matzoth his sight.
DOCTOR MARINAS. (Prostrated in adoration.)
O repentant sinful ones,
On that bright face gaze ye, And, in grateful orisons,
Your blest fortune praise ye! Be each virtue of the mind
To thy service given! Virgin, mother, be thou kind!
Goddess, queen of heaven!
Each thing of mortal birth
Is but a type What was of feeble worth
Here becomes ripe. What was a mystery
Here meets the eye; The ever-womanly
Draws us on high.
(Finis.) ——- FROM IPHIGENIA IN TAURIS.
ACT IV. SCENE 5.
SONG OF THE FATES.
YE children of mortals The deities dread! The mastery hold they In hands all-eternal, And use them, unquestioned, What manner they like.
Let him fear them doubly, Whom they have uplifted! On cliffs and on clouds, oh, Round tables all-golden, he seats are made ready.
When rises contention, The guests are humid downwards With shame and dishonor To deep depths of midnight, And vainly await they, Bound fast in the darkness, A just condemnation.
But they remain ever In firmness unshaken Round tables all-golden. On stride they from mountain To mountain far distant: From out the abysses' Dark jaws, the breath rises Of torment-choked Titans Up tow'rds them, like incense In light clouds ascending.
The rulers immortal Avert from whole peoples Their blessing-fraught glances, And shun, in the children, To trace the once cherish'd, Still, eloquent features Their ancestors wore.
Thus chanted the Parae; The old man, the banish'd, In gloomy vault lying, Their song overheareth, Sons, grandsons remembereth, And shaketh his head. ——- FROM GOTZ VON BERLICHINGEN.
LIEBETRAUT plays and sings.
HIS bow and dart bearing, And torch brightly flaring,
Dan Cupid on flies; With victory laden, To vanquish each maiden
He roguishly tries.
On! on! His arms rattle loudly, His wings rustle proudly, And flames fill his eyes.
Then finds he each bosom
Defenseless and bare; They gladly receive him
And welcome him there. The point of his arrows
He lights in the glow; They clasp him and kiss him
And fondle him so. He e o! Pap!
CLARA winds a skein, and sings with Brackenburg.
THE drum gives the signal!
Loud rings the shrill fife! My love leads his troops on
Full arm'd for the strife, While his hand grasps his lance As they proudly advance.
My bosom pants wildly! My blood hotly flows! Oh had I a doublet, A helmet, and hose!
Through the gate with bold footstep
I after him hied,— Each province, each country
Explored by his side. The coward foe trembled Then rattled our shot: What bliss e'er resembled
A soldier's glad lot!
And sadness And pensiveness blending
And burning In torment ne'er ending;
Sad unto death, Proudly soaring above;
Happy alone Is the soul that doth love!
FROM "WILHELM MEISTER'S APPRENTICESHIP."
BOOK II., CHAP. XIII.
WHO never eat with tears his bread,
Who never through night's heavy hours Sat weeping on his lonely bed,—
He knows you not, ye heavenly powers!
Through you the paths of life we gain,
Ye let poor mortals go astray, And then abandon them to pain,—
E'en here the penalty we pay, ——- WHO gives himself to solitude,
Soon lonely will remain; Each lives, each loves in joyous mood,
And leaves him to his pain.
Yes! leave me to my grief! Were solitude's relief
E'er granted me,
Alone I should not be.
A lover steals, on footstep light,
To learn if his love's alone; Thus o'er me steals, by day and night,
Anguish before unknown, Thus o'er me steals deep grief. Ah, when I find relief
Within the tomb so lonely,
Will rest be met with only! ——- BOOK IV., CHAP. XI.
My grief no mortals know,
Except the yearning! Alone, a prey to woe,
All pleasure spurning, Up tow'rds the sky I throw
A gaze discerning.
He who my love can know
Seems ne'er returning; With strange and fiery glow
My heart is burning. My grief no mortals know,
Except the yearning! ——- BOOK V., CHAP. X.
SING no more in mournful tones
Of the loneliness of night; For 'tis made, ye beauteous ones,
For all social pleasures bright.
As of old to man a wife
As his better half was given, So the night is half our life,
And the fairest under heaven.
How can ye enjoy the day,
Which obstructs our rapture's tide? Let it waste itself away;
Worthless 'tis for aught beside.
But when in the darkling hours
From the lamp soft rays are glowing, And from mouth to mouth sweet showers,
Now of jest, now love, are flowing,—
When the nimble, wanton boy,
Who so wildly spends his days, Oft amid light sports with joy
O'er some trifling gift delays,
When the nightingale is singing
Strains the lover holds so dear, Though like sighs and wailings ringing
In the mournful captive's ear,—
With what heart-emotion blest
Do ye hearken to the bell, Wont of safety and of rest
With twelve solemn strokes to tell!
Therefore in each heavy hour,
Let this precept fill your heart: O'er each day will sorrow loud,
Rapture ev'ry night impart. ——- EPILOGUE TO SCHILLER'S "SONG OF THE BELL."
[This fine piece, written originally in 1805, on Schiller's death, was altered and recast by Goethe in 1815, on the occasion of the performance on the stage of the Song of the Bell. Hence the allusion in the last verse.]
To this city joy reveal it!
Peace as its first signal peal it!
(Song of the Bell—concluding lines.)
AND so it proved! The nation felt, ere long,
That peaceful signal, and, with blessings fraught, A new-born joy appear'd; in gladsome song
To hail the youthful princely pair we sought; While in a living, ever-swelling throng
Mingled the crowds from ev'ry region brought, And on the stage, in festal pomp array'd The HOMAGE OF THE ARTS * we saw displayed.
(* The title of a lyric piece composed by Schiller in honour of the marriage of the hereditary Prince of Weimar to the Princess Maria of Russia, and performed in 1804.)
When, lo! a fearful midnight sound I hear,
That with a dull and mournful echo rings. And can it be that of our friend so dear
It tells, to whom each wish so fondly clings? Shall death overcome a life that all revere?
How such a loss to all confusion brings! How such a parting we must ever rue! The world is weeping,—shall not we weep too?
He was our own! How social, yet how great
Seem'd in the light of day his noble mind! How was his nature, pleasing yet sedate,
Now for glad converse joyously incline, Then swiftly changing, spirit-fraught, elate,
Life's plan with deep-felt meaning it design'd, Fruitful alike in counsel and in deed! This have we proved, this tasted, in our need.
He was our own! O may that thought so blest
Overcome the voice of wailing and of woe He might have sought the Lasting, safe at rest
In harbour, when the tempest ceased to blow. Meanwhile his mighty spirit onward press'd
Where goodness, beauty, truth, for ever grow; And in his rear, in shadowy outline, lay The vulgar, which we all, alas, obey!
Now doth he deck the garden-turret fair
Where the stars' language first illuded his soul, As secretly yet clearly through the air
On the eterne, the living sense it stole; And to his own, and our great profit, there
Exchangeth he the seasons as they roll; Thus nobly doth he vanquish, with renown, The twilight and the night that weigh us down.
Brighter now glow'd his cheek, and still more bright.
With that unchanging, ever-youthful glow,— That courage which overcomes, in hard-fought fight,
Sooner or later, ev'ry earthly foe— That faith which, soaring to the realms of light,
Now boldly Presseth on, now bendeth low, So that the good may work, wax, thrive amain, So that the day the noble may attain.
Yet, though so skill'd, of such transcendent worth,
This boarded scaffold doth he not despise; The fate that on its axis turns the earth
From day to night, here shows he to our eyes, Raising, through many a work of glorious birth,
Art and the artist's fame up tow'rd the skies. He fills with blossoms of the noblest strife, With life itself, this effigy of life.
His giant-step, as ye full surely knew,
Measured the circle of the will and deed, Each country's changing thoughts and morals too,
The darksome book with clearness could he read; Yet how he, breathless 'midst his friends so true,
Despaired in sorrow, scarce from pain was freed,— All this have we, in sadly happy years, For he was ours, bewailed with feeling tears.
When from the agonizing weight of grief
He raised his eyes upon the world again, We show'd him how his thoughts might find relief
From the uncertain present's heavy chain, Gave his fresh-kindled mind a respite brief,
With kindly skill beguiling ev'ry pain, And e'en at eve, when setting was his sun, From his wan cheeks a gentle smile we won.
Full early had he read the stern decree,
Sorrow and death to him, alas, were known; Ofttimes recovering, now departed he,—
Dread tidings, that our hearts had fear'd to own! Yet his transfigured being now can see
Itself, e'en here on earth, transfigured grown. What his own age reproved, and deem'd a crime, Hath been ennobled now by death and time.
And many a soul that with him strove in fight,
And his great merit grudged to recognise, Now feels the impress of his wondrous might,
And in his magic fetters gladly lies; E'en to the highest bath he winged his flight,
In close communion link'd with all we prize. Extol him then! What mortals while they live But half receive, posterity shall give.
Thus is he left us, who so long ago,—
Ten years, alas, already!—turn'd from earth; We all, to our great joy, his precepts know,
Oh may the world confess their priceless worth! In swelling tide tow'rd every region flow
The thoughts that were his own peculiar birth; He gleams like some departing meteor bright, Combining, with his own, eternal light. ——-
——- Now, gentle reader, is our journey ended,
Mute is our minstrel, silent is our song; Sweet the bard's voice whose strains our course attended,
Pleasant the paths he guided us along. Now must we part,—Oh word all full of sadness, Changing to pensive retrospect our gladness!
Reader, farewell! we part perchance for ever,
Scarce may I hope to meet with thee again; But e'en though fate our fellowship may sever,
Reader, will aught to mark that tie remain? Yes! there is left one sad sweet bond of union,— Sorrow at parting links us in communion.
But of the twain, the greater is my sorrow,—
Reader, and why?—Bethink thee of the sun, How, when he sets, he waiteth for the morrow,
Proudly once more his giant-race to run,— Yet, e'en when set, a glow behind him leaving, Gladdening the spirit, which had else been grieving.
Thus mayst thou feel, for thou to GOETHE only
Baldest farewell, nor camest aught for me. Twofold my parting, leaving me all lonely,—
I now must part from GOETHE and from thee, Parting at once from comrade and from leader,— Farewell, great minstrel! farewell, gentle reader!
Hush'd is the harp, its music sunk in slumbers, Memory alone can waken now its numbers.