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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Poems
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THE GERMAN PARNASSUS. by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
in the wares before you spread,
Types of all things may be read.

'NEATH the shadow

Of these bushes,
On the meadow

Where the cooling water gushes.
Phoebus gave me, when a boy,
All life's fullness to enjoy.
So, in silence, as the God
Bade them with his sov'reign nod,
Sacred Muses train'd my days
To his praise.--
With the bright and silv'ry flood
Of Parnassus stirr'd my blood,
And the seal so pure and chaste
By them on my lips was placed.

With her modest pinions, see,
Philomel encircles me!
In these bushes, in yon grove,

Calls she to her sister-throng,

And their heavenly choral song
Teaches me to dream of love.

Fullness waxes in my breast
Of emotions social, blest;
Friendship's nurturedДlove awakes,--
And the silence Phoebus breaks
Of his mountains, of his vales,
Sweetly blow the balmy gales;
All for whom he shows affection,
Who are worthy his protection,
Gladly follow his direction.

This one comes with joyous bearing

And with open, radiant gaze;
That a sterner look is wearing,
This one, scarcely cured, with daring

Wakes the strength of former days;
For the sweet, destructive flame
Pierced his marrow and his frame.
That which Amor stole before
Phoebus only can restore,
Peace, and joy, and harmony,
Aspirations pure and free.

Brethren, rise ye!
Numbers prize ye!
Deeds of worth resemble they.

Who can better than the bard
Guide a friend when gone astray?

If his duty he regard,
More he'll do, than others may.

Yes! afar I hear them sing!
Yes! I hear them touch the string,
And with mighty godlike stroke

Right and duty they inspire,
And evoke,

As they sing, and wake the lyre,
Tendencies of noblest worth,
To each type of strength give birth.

Phantasies of sweetest power
Round about on ev'ry bough,
Bending now
Like the magic wood of old,
'Neath the fruit that gleams like gold.

What we feel and what we view

In the land of highest bliss,--

This dear soil, a sun like this,--
Lures the best of women too.
And the Muses' breathings blest
Rouse the maiden's gentle breast,
Tune the throat to minstrelsy,
And with cheeks of beauteous dye,
Bid it sing a worthy song,
Sit the sister-band among;
And their strains grow softer still,
As they vie with earnest will.

One amongst the band betimes

Goes to wander
By the beeches, 'neath the limes,

Yonder seeking, finding yonder
That which in the morning-grove
She had lost through roguish Love,
All her breast's first aspirations,
And her heart's calm meditations,
To the shady wood so fair

Gently stealing,
Takes she that which man can ne'er

Duly merit,--each soft feeling,--
Disregards the noontide ray
And the dew at close of day,Д

In the plain her path she loses.
Ne'er disturb her on her way!

Seek her silently, ye Muses

Shouts I hear, wherein the sound
Of the waterfall is drown'd.
From the grove loud clamours rise,
Strange the tumult, strange the cries.
See I rightly? Can it be?
To the very sanctuary,
Lo, an impious troop in-hies!

O'er the land
Streams the band;
Hot desire,
In their gaze
Wildly plays,--
Makes their hair
Bristle there.
And the troop,
With fell swoop,
Women, men,
Coming then,
Ply their blows
And expose,
Void of shame,
All the frame.
Iron shot,
Fierce and hot,
Strike with fear
On the ear;
All they slay
On their way.
O'er the land
Pours the band;
All take flight
At their sight.

Ah, o'er ev'ry plant they rush!
Ah, their cruel footsteps crush
All the flowers that fill their path!
Who will dare to stem their wrath?

Brethren, let us venture all!

Virtue in your pure cheek glows.
Phoebus will attend our call

When he sees our heavy woes;
And that we may have aright
Weapons suited to the fight,
He the mountain shaketh now--
From its brow
Rattling down
Stone on stone
Through the thicket spread appear.
Brethren, seize them! Wherefore fear?
Now the villain crew assail,
As though with a storm of hail,
And expel the strangers wild
From these regions soft and mild
Where the sun has ever smil'd!

What strange wonder do I see?
Can it be?
All my limbs of power are reft.
And all strength my hand has left.
Can it he?
None are strangers that I see!
And our brethren 'tis who go
On before, the way to show!
Oh, the reckless impious ones!
How they, with their jarring tones,
Beat the time, as on they hie!
Quick, my brethren!--let us fly!

To the rash ones, yet a word!
Ay, my voice shall now be heard,
As a peal of thunder, strong!

Words as poets' arms were made,--

When the god will he obey'd,
Follow fast his darts ere long.

Was it possible that ye
Thus your godlike dignity
Should forget? The Thyrsus rude

Must a heavy burden feel

To the hand but wont to steal
O'er the lyre in gentle mood.
From the sparkling waterfalls,
From the brook that purling calls,
Shall Silenus' loathsome beast
Be allow'd at will to feast?
Aganippe's * wave he sips
With profane and spreading lips,--
With ungainly feet stamps madly,
Till the waters flow on sadly.

Fain I'd think myself deluded

In the sadd'ning sounds I hear;
From the holy glades secluded

Hateful tones assail the ear.
Laughter wild (exchange how mournful!)

Takes the place of love's sweet dream;
Women-haters and the scornful

In exulting chorus scream.
Nightingale and turtle dove

Fly their nests so warm and chaste,
And, inflamed with sensual love,

Holds the Faun the Nymph embrac'd.
Here a garment's torn away,

Scoffs succeed their sated bliss,
While the god, with angry ray,

Looks upon each impious kiss.

Vapour, smoke, as from a fire,

And advancing clouds I view;
Chords not only grace the lyre,

For the bow its chords bath too.
Even the adorer's heart

Dreads the wild advancing hand,
For the flames that round them dart

Show the fierce destroyer's hand.

Oh neglect not what I say,

For I speak it lovingly!
From our boundaries haste away,

From the god's dread anger fly!
Cleanse once more the holy place,

Turn the savage train aside!
Earth contains upon its face

Many a spot unsanctified;
Here we only prize the good.

Stars unsullied round us burn.

If ye, in repentant mood,

From your wanderings would return,--
If ye fail to find the bliss

That ye found with us of yore,--
Or when lawless mirth like this

Gives your hearts delight no more,--
Then return in pilgrim guise,

Gladly up the mountain go,
While your strains repentant rise,

And our brethren's advent show.

Let a new-born wreath entwine

Solemnly your temples round;
Rapture glows in hearts divine

When a long-lost sinner's found.
Swifter e'en than Lathe's flood

Round Death's silent house can play,
Ev'ry error of the good

Will love's chalice wash away.
All will haste your steps to meet,

As ye come in majesty,--
Men your blessing will entreat;--

Ours ye thus will doubly be!

(* Aganippe--A spring in Boeotia, which arose
out of Mount Helicon, and was sacred to Apollo and the Muses.)
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