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The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/At Midnight Hour


AT MIDNIGHT HOUR.

[Goethe relates that a remarkable situation he was in one bright moonlight night led to the composition of this sweet song, which was "the dearer to him because he could not say whence it came and whither it would."]

At midnight hour I went, not willingly,
A little, little boy, yon churchyard past,
To Father Vicar's house; the stars on high
On all around their beauteous radiance cast,
At midnight hour.

And when, in journeying o'er the path of life,
My love I followed, as she onward moved,
With stars and northern lights o'erhead in strife,
Going and coming, perfect bliss I proved
At midnight hour.

Until at length the full moon, lustre-fraught,
Burst thro' the gloom wherein she was enshrined;
And then the willing, active, rapid thought
Around the past, as round the future twined,
At midnight hour.