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Poems of Goethe

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.]

MAHOMET (Speaks).

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.