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The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/The Reckoning


THE RECKONING.

LEADER.

Let no cares now hover o'er us!
Let the wine unsparing run!
Wilt thou swell our merry chorus?
Hast thou all thy duty done?

SOLO.

Two young folks—the thing is curious—
Loved each other; yesterday
Both quite mild, to-day quite furious,
Next day, quite the deuce to pay!
If her neck she there was stooping,
He must here needs pull his hair,
I revived their spirits drooping,
And they're now a happy pair.

CHORUS.

Surely we for wine may languish!
Let the bumper then go round!
For all sighs and groans of anguish
Thou to-day in joy hast drowned.

SOLO.

Why, young orphan, all this wailing?
"Would to heaven that I were dead!
For my guardian's craft prevailing
Soon will make me beg my bread."
Knowing well the rascal genus,
Into court I dragged the knave;
Fair the judges were between us,
And the maiden's wealth did save.

CHORUS.

Surely we for wine may languish!
Let the bumper then go round!
For all sighs and groans of anguish
Thou to-day in joy hast drowned.

SOLO.

To a little fellow, quiet,
Unpretending and subdued.
Has a big clown, running riot,
Been to-day extremely rude.
I bethought me of my duty,
And my courage swelled apace,
So I spoiled the rascal's beauty,
Slashing him across the face.

CHORUS.

Surely we for wine may languish!
Let the bumper then go round!
For all sighs and groans of anguish
Thou to-day in joy hast drowned.

SOLO.

Brief must be my explanation,
For I really have done nought.
Free from trouble and vexation,
I a landlord's business bought.
There I've done with all due ardour
All that duty ordered me;
Each one asked me for the larder,
And there was no scarcity.

CHORUS.

Surely we for wine may languish!
Let the bumper then go round!
For all sighs and groans of anguish
Thou to-day in joy hast drowned.

LEADER.

Each should thus make proclamation
Of what he did well to-day!
That's the match whose conflagration
Should inflame our tuneful lay.
Let it be our precept ever
To admit no waverer here!
For to act the good endeavour,
None but rascals meek appear.

CHORUS.

Surely we for wine may languish!
Let the bumper then go round!
For all sighs and groans of anguish
We have now in rapture drowned.

TRIO.

Let each merry minstrel enter,
He's right welcome to our hall!
'Tis but with the self-tormentor
That we are not liberal;
For we fear that his caprices,
That his eyebrows dark and sad,
That his grief that never ceases
Hide an empty heart, or bad.

CHORUS.

No one now for wine shall languish!
Here no minstrel shall be found,
Who all sighs and groans of anguish
Has not first in rapture drowned!