The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/Philine's Song


Sing not thus in notes of sadness
Of the loneliness of night:
No! 'tis made for social gladness,
Converse sweet, and love's delight.

As to rugged man his wife is
For his fairest half decreed,
So dear night the half of life is,
And the fairest half, indeed.

Who could hail the day with pleasure,
Which but interrupts our joys,
Scares us from our dreams of leisure
With its glare and irksome noise?

But when night is come, and glowing
Is the lamp's attempered ray,
And from lip to lip are flowing
Love and mirth, in sparkling play;

When the fiery boy, that wildly
Gambols in his wayward mood,
Calms to rest, disporting mildly,
By some trivial gift subdued;

When the nightingale is trilling
Songs of love to lovers' ears,
Which, to hearts with sorrow thrilling,
Seem but sighs and waken tears;

How, with pulses lightly bounding,
Leaps the heart to hear the bell,
Which, the hour of midnight sounding,
Doth of rest and safety tell.

Then, dear heart, this comfort borrow
In the long day's lingering light—
Every day hath its own sorrow.
Gladness cometh with the night!