Welcome and Departure

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Quick throbb'd my heart: to horse! haste, haste,
And lo! 'twas done with speed of light;
The evening soon the world embraced,
And o'er the mountains hung the night.
Soon stood, in robe of mist, the oak,
A tow'ring giant in his size,
Where darkness through the thicket broke,
And glared with hundred gloomy eyes.

From out a hill of clouds the moon
With mournful gaze began to peer:
The winds their soft wings flutter'd soon,
And murmur'd in mine awe-struck ear;
The night a thousand monsters made,
Yet fresh and joyous was my mind;
What fire within my veins then play'd!
What glow was in my bosom shrin'd!

I saw thee, and with tender pride
Felt thy sweet gaze pour joy on me;
While all my heart was at thy side.
And every breath I breath'd for thee.
The roseate hues that spring supplies
Were playing round thy features fair,
And love for me - ye Deities!
I hoped it, I deserved it ne'er!

But, when the morning sun return'd,
Departure filled with grief my heart:
Within thy kiss, what rapture burn'd!
But in thy look, what bitter smart!
I went - thy gaze to earth first roved
Thou follow'dst me with tearful eye:
And yet, what rapture to be loved!
And, Gods, to love - what ecstasy!
1771, translation by Edgar A. Bowring, 1853      

Versions --> German - English:   Cobb / Dyrsen / Zeydel
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© 1994-1999 Robert Godwin-Jones
Virginia Commonwealth University