Poems of Goethe




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.