The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/Tame Xenia
[The Epigrams bearing the title of "Xenia" were written by Goethe and Schiller together, having been first occasioned by some violent attacks made on them by some insignificant writers. They are extremely numerous, but scarcely any of them could be translated into English. Those here given are merely presented as a specimen.]
God gave to mortals birth,
In his own image, too;
Then came himself to earth,
A mortal kind and true.
Barbarians oft endeavour
Gods for themselves to make;
But they're more hideous ever
Than dragon or than snake.
"What is science, rightly known?"
'Tis the strength of life alone.
Life canst thou engender never,
Life must be life's parent ever
It matters not, I ween,
Where worms our friends consume,
Beneath the turf so green,
Or 'neath a marble tomb.
Remember, ye who live,
Though frowns the fleeting day,
That to your friends ye give
What never will decay.
What shall I teach thee, the very first thing?—
Fain would I learn o'er my shadow to spring!