THE WANDERER'S STORM-SONG. by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
[Goethe says of this ode, that it is the only one remaining out of several strange hymns and dithyrambs composed by him at a period of great unhappiness, when the love-affair between him and Frederica had been broken off by him. He used to sing them while wandering wildly about the country. This particular one was caused by his being caught in a tremendous storm on one of these occasions. He calls it a half-crazy piece (halkunsinn), and the reader will probably agree with him.]
He whom thou ne'er leavest, Genius, Feels no dread within his heart At the tempest or the rain. He whom thou ne'er leavest, Genius, Will to the rain-clouds, Will to the hailstorm, Sing in reply As the lark sings, Oh thou on high!
Him whom thou ne'er leavest, Genius, Thou wilt raise above the mud-track With thy fiery pinions. He will wander, As, with flowery feet, Over Deucalion's dark flood, Python-slaying, light, glorious, Pythius Apollo.
Him whom thou ne'er leavest, Genius, Thou wilt place upon thy fleecy pinion When he sleepeth on the rock,-- Thou wilt shelter with thy guardian wing In the forest's midnight hour.
Him whom thou ne'er leavest, Genius, Thou wilt wrap up warmly In the snow-drift; Tow'rd the warmth approach the Muses, Tow'rd the warmth approach the Graces.
Ye Muses, hover round me! Ye Graces also! That is water, that is earth, And the son of water and of earth Over which I wander, Like the gods.
Ye are pure, like the heart of the water, Ye are pure like the marrow of earth, Hov'ring round me, while I hover Over water, o'er the earth Like the gods.
Shall he, then, return, The small, the dark, the fiery peasant? Shall he, then, return, waiting Only thy gifts, oh Father Bromius, And brightly gleaming, warmth-spreading fire? Return with joy? And I, whom ye attended, Ye Muses and ye Graces, Whom all awaits that ye, Ye Muses and ye Graces, Of circling bliss in life Have glorified--shall I Return dejected?
Father Bromius! Thourt the Genius, Genius of ages, Thou'rt what inward glow To Pindar was, What to the world Phoebus Apollo.
Woe! Woe Inward warmth, Spirit-warmth, Central-point! Glow, and vie with Phoebus Apollo! Coldly soon His regal look Over thee will swiftly glide,--
Envy-struck Linger o'er the cedar's strength, Which, to flourish, Waits him not.
Why doth my lay name thee the last? Thee, from whom it began, Thee, in whom it endeth, Thee, from whom it flows, Jupiter Pluvius! Tow'rd thee streams my song. And a Castalian spring Runs as a fellow-brook, Runs to the idle ones, Mortal, happy ones, Apart from thee, Who cov'rest me around, Jupiter Pluvius!
Not by the elm-tree Him didst thou visit, With the pair of doves Held in his gentle arm,-- With the beauteous garland of roses,-- Caressing him, so blest in his flowers, Anacreon, Storm-breathing godhead! Not in the poplar grove, Near the Sybaris' strand, Not on the mountain's Sun-illumined brow Didst thou seize him, The flower-singing, Honey-breathing, Sweetly nodding Theocritus.
When the wheels were rattling, Wheel on wheel tow'rd the goal, High arose The sound of the lash Of youths with victory glowing, In the dust rolling, As from the mountain fall Showers of stones in the vale-- Then thy soul was brightly glowing, Pindar-- Glowing? Poor heart!
There, on the hill,-- Heavenly might! But enough glow Thither to wend, Where is my cot!