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The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/My Goddess


Say, which Immortal
Merits the highest reward?
With none contend I,
But I will give it
To the aye-changing,
Wondrous daughter of Jove,
His best-beloved offspring,
Sweet Phantasy.

For unto her
Hath he granted
All the fancies which erst
To none allowed he
Saving himself;
Now he takes his pleasure
In the mad one.

She may, crowned with roses,
With staff twined round with lilies
Roam through flowery valleys,
Rule the butterfly people,
And soft-nourishing dew
With bee-like lips
Drink from the blossom:

Or else she may,
With fluttering hair
And gloomy looks,
Sigh in the wind
Round rocky cliffs,
And thousand-hued,
Like morn and even,
Ever changing,
Like moonbeam's light,
To mortals appear.

Let us all, then,
Adore the Father!
The old, the mighty,
Who such a beauteous
Ne'er-fading spouse
Deigns to accord
To perishing mortals!

To us alone
Doth he unite her,
With heavenly bonds,
While he commands her
In joy and sorrow,
As a true spouse
Never try to fly us.

All the remaining
Eaces so poor
Of life-teeming earth,
In children so rich,
Wander and feed
In vacant enjoyment,
And 'mid the dark sorrows
Of evanescent
Restricted life,—
Bowed by the heavy
Yoke of Necessity.

But unto us he
Hath his most versatile,
Most cherished daughter
Granted,—what joy!

Lovingly greet her
As a beloved one!
Give her the woman's
Place in our home!

And, oh, may the aged
Stepmother Wisdom
Her gentle spirit
Ne'er seek to harm!

Yet know I her sister,
The older, sedater,
Mine own silent friend;
Oh, may she never,
Till life's lamp is quenched,
Turn away from me,—
That noble inciter,