The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/Phoebus and Hermes


The deep-browed lord of Delos once, and Maia's nimble-witted son,
Contended eagerly by whom the prize of glory should be won;
Hermes longed to grasp the lyre,—the lyre Apollo hoped to gain.
And both their hearts were full of hope, and yet the hopes of both were vain.
For Ares, to decide the strife, between them rudely dashed in ire,
And waving high his falchion keen, he cleft in twain the golden lyre.
Loud Hermes laughed maliciously, but at the direful deed did fall
The deepest grief upon the heart of Phœbus and the Muses all.