Welcome and Departure

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Get on your horse! my heart commanded;
'T was almost sooner done than thought.
Rest had to men, eve, gentle handed,
And blackest night to th' mountains brought.
Upon the road a threatening giant
With vapors clad the oak appeared,
NVhilst out of bushes, bold, defiant,
With hundred eyes grim darkness peered.

The moon, by clouds assailed and hidden,
Gave cowardly a feeble light;
The winged air, by tempest ridden,
Around my ears trembled with fright.
A thousand monsters night created,
But bold my spirits were and strong;
My heart was joyous, was elated,
And in my veins what fiery throng!

I saw thee, and the rays of gladness
From out shine eyes entered my soul.
Near thee my heart breathed free of sadness,
Each breath for thee, for thee the whole.
Her lovely face in softness vernal
Announced, a harbinger of bliss,
That she would give me, gods eternal!
An undeserved but hoped-for kiss.

Too soon, alas! daylight oppresses
With its behest of instant leave
Our sweet but innocent caresses
And makes our souls despairing griev
I left; downward she looked, unwilling
To show her eyes with tears beset.
Oh! to be loved is rapture thrilling,
To love thee greater rapture yet!
1771, translation by Paul Dyrsen, 1878      

Versions --> German - English:  Bowring / Cobb / Zeydel
Interact --> Dual language - German & dictionary

© 1994-1999 Robert Godwin-Jones
Virginia Commonwealth University