The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/The Bliss of Absence


'Tis sweet for him, the livelong day that lies,
Wrapt in the heaven of his dear lady's eyes,
Whose dreams her image blesseth evermore,
Love knoweth not a sharper joy than this,
Yet greater, purer, nobler is the bliss,
To be afar from her whom we adore!

Distance and Time, eternal powers, that be
Still, like the stars, o'erruling secretly,
Cradle this tempest of the blood to' peace.
Calm grows my soul, and calmer every hour,
Yet daily feels my heart a springing power,
And daily finds my happiness increase.

All times she lives within my heart and brain,
Yet can I think of her without a pain,
My spirit soars away serene and free,
And, by the strength of its divine emotion,
Transforms its love to all a saint's devotion,
Refines desire into idolatry.

The lightest cloudlet that doth fleck the sky,
And floats along the sunshine airily,
More lightly in its beauty floateth never,
Than doth my heart, with tranquil joy elate.
By fear untouched, for jealousy too great,
I love, oh, yes, I love—I love her ever.