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The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/On the Lake


[This little poem was composed during a tour in Switzerland in 1775. Several others in this series belong to the same period, being that when Goethe's passion for Anna Elizabeth Schönemann, the Lili of his poems, was at its height.]

And here I drink new blood, fresh food
From world so free, so blest;
How sweet is nature and how good
Who holds me to her breast!

The waves are cradling up our boat,
The oars are beating time;
Mountains we meet that seem afloat
In heav'nly clouds sublime.

Why, my eye, art downward turning?
Golden dreams, are ye returning?
Dream, though gold, I thee repel;
Love and life here also dwell.

'Neath the waves are sinking
Stars from heaven sparkling;
Soft white mists are drinking,
Distance towering, darkling,

Morning wind is fanning
Trees by the bay that root,
And its image scanning
Is the ripening fruit.