The Bride of Corinth [From my grave to wander]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - 1749-1832
   "From my grave to wander I am forc'd
      Still to seek The God's long-sever'd link,
Still to love the bridegroom I have lost,
      And the life-blood of his heart to drink;
         When his race is run,
         I must hasten on,
   And the young must 'neath my vengeance sink.

   "Beauteous youth! no longer mayst thou live;
      Here must shrivel up thy form so fair;
Did not tI to thee a token give.
      Taking in return this lock of hair?
         View it to thy sorrow!
         Grey thou'lt be to-morrow,
      Only to grow brown again when there."

   "Mother, to this final prayer give ear!
      Let a funeral pile be straightway dress'd;
Open then my cell so sad and drear,
      That the flames may give the lovers rest!
         When ascends the fire
         From the glowing pyre,
      To the gods of old we'll hasten, blest."

More by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Farewell

To break one's word is pleasure–fraught,

To do one's duty gives a smart;
While man, alas! will promise nought,

That is repugnant to his heart.

Using some magic strains of yore,

Thou lurest him, when scarcely calm,
On to sweet folly's fragile bark once more,

Renewing, doubling chance of harm.

Why seek to hide thyself from me?

Fly not my sight—be open then!

Known late or early it must be,

And here thou hast thy word again.

My duty is fulfill'd to–day,

No longer will I guard thee from surprise;
But, oh, forgive the friend who from thee turns away,

And to himself for refuge flies!

Christel

My senses ofttimes are oppress'd,

Oft stagnant is my blood;
But when by Christel's sight I'm blest,

I feel my strength renew'd.
I see her here, I see her there,

And really cannot tell
The manner how, the when, the where,

The why I love her well.

If with the merest glance I view

Her black and roguish eyes,
And gaze on her black eyebrows too,

My spirit upward flies.
Has any one a mouth so sweet,

Such love–round cheeks as she?
Ah, when the eye her beauties meet,

It ne'er content can be.

And when in airy German dance

I clasp her form divine,
So quick we whirl, so quick advance,

What rapture then like mine!
And when she's giddy, and feels warm,

I cradle her, poor thing,
Upon my breast, and in mine arm,—

I'm then a very king!

And when she looks with love on me,

Forgetting all but this,
When press'd against my bosom she

Exchanges kiss for kiss,
All through my marrow runs a thrill,

Runs e'en my foot along!
I feel so well, I feel so ill,

I feel so weak, so strong!

Would that such moments ne'er would end!

The day ne'er long I find;
Could I the night too with her spend,

E'en that I should not mind.
If she were in mine arms but held,

To quench love's thirst I'd try;
And could my torments not be quell'd,

Upon her breast would die.

Faust [Go, find yourself a more obedient slave!]

Poet

Go, find yourself a more obedient slave!
What! shall the Poet that which Nature gave,
The highest right, supreme Humanity,
Forfeit so wantonly, to swell your treasure?
Whence o'er the heart his empire free?
The elements of Life how conquers he?
Is't not his heart's accord, urged outward far and dim,
To wind the world in unison with him?
When on the spindle, spun to endless distance,
By Nature's listless hand the thread is twirled,
And the discordant tones of all existence
In sullen jangle are together hurled,
Who, then, the changeless orders of creation
Divides, and kindles into rhythmic dance?
Who brings the One to join the general ordination,
Where it may throb in grandest consonance?
Who bids the storm to passion stir the bosom?
In brooding souls the sunset burn above?
Who scatters every fairest April blossom
Along the shining path of Love?
Who braids the noteless leaves to crowns, requiting
Desert with fame, in Action's every field?
Who makes Olympus sure, the Gods uniting?
The might of Man, as in the Bard revealed.