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Poems of Goethe

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.