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The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/The Spring Oracle


THE SPRING ORACLE.

Oh, prophetic bird so bright,
Blossom-songster, cuckoo hight!
In the fairest time of year,
Dearest bird, oh! deign to hear
What a youthful pair would pray;
Do thou call, if hope they may;
Thy cuck-oo, thy cuck-oo,
Ever more cuck-oo, cuck-oo!

Hearest thou? A loving pair
Fain would to the altar fare;
Yes! a pair in happy youth,
Full of virtue, full of truth.
Is the hour not fixed by fate?
Say, how long must they still wait?
Hark! cuck-oo! hark! cuck-oo!
Silent yet! for shame, cuck-oo!

'Tis not our fault, certainly!
Only two years patient be!
But if we ourselves please here,
Will pa-pa-papas appear?
Know that thou'lt more kindness do us,
More thou'lt prophesy unto us.
One! cuck-oo! Two! cuck-oo!
Ever, ever, cuck-oo, cuck-oo, coo!

If we've calculated clearly,
We have half a dozen nearly.
If good promises we'll give,
Wilt thou say how long we'll live?
Truly, we'll confess to thee,
We'd prolong it willingly.
Coo, cuck-oo, coo, cuck-oo!
Coo, coo, coo, coo, coo, coo, coo, coo, coo!

Life is one continued feast—
(If we keep no score, at least).
If now we together dwell,
Will true love remain as well?
For if that should e'er decay,
Happiness would pass away.
Coo, cuck-oo, coo, cuck-oo,
Coo, coo, coo, coo, coo, coo, coo, coo, coo!

(Gracefully in infinitum.)