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The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/By the River ("When by the broad stream thou dost dwell")

For works with similar titles, see By the River.


When by the broad stream thou dost dwell,
Oft shallow is its sluggish flood;
Then, when thy fields thou tendest well,
It o'er them spreads its slime and mud.

The ships descend ere daylight wanes,
The prudent fisher upward goes;
Round reef and rock ice casts its chains,
And boys at will the pathway close.

To this attend, then carefully,
And what thou would, that execute!
Ne'er linger, ne'er o'erhasty be,
For time moves on with measured foot.

Each road to the proper end
Runs straight on, without a bend.