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The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/The Wanderer's Storm-Song


THE WANDERER'S STORM-SONG.

[Goethe says of this ode, that it is the only one remaining out of several strange hymns and dithyrambs composed by him at a period of great unhappiness, when the love-affair between him and Frederica had been broken off by him. He used to sing them while wandering wildly about the country. This particular one was caused by his being caught in a tremendous storm on one of these occasions. He calls it a half-crazy piece (haybunsinn), and the reader will probably agree with him.]

He whom thou ne'er leavest, Genius,
Feels no dread within his heart
At the tempest or the rain.
He whom thou ne'er leavest, Genius,
Will to the rain clouds,
Will to the hail-storm,
Sing in reply
As the lark sings,
O thou on high!

Him whom thou ne'er leavest, Genius,
Thou wilt raise above the mud-track
With thy fiery pinions.
He will wander,
As, with flowery feet,
Over Deucalion's dark flood,
Python-slaying, light, glorious,
Pythius Apollo.

Him whom thou ne'er leavest, Genius,
Thou wilt place upon thy fleecy pinion,
When he sleepeth on the rock, —
Thou wilt shelter with thy guardian wing
In the forest's midnight hour.

Him whom thou ne'er leavest, Genius,
Thou wilt wrap up warmly
In the snow-drift;
Toward the warmth approach the Muses,
Toward the warmth approach the Graces.

Ye Muses, hover round me!
Ye Graces also!
That is water, that is earth,
And the son of water and of earth
Over which I wander,
like the gods.

Ye are pure, like the heart of the water,
Ye are pure like the marrow of earth,
Hov'ring round me, while I hover
Over water, o'er the earth,
like the gods.

Shall he, then, return,
The small, the dark, the fiery peasant?
Shall he, then, return, awaiting
Only thy gifts, O Father Bromius,
And brightly gleaming, warm the spreading fire?
Return with joy?
And I, whom ye attended,
Ye Muses and ye Graces,
Whom all awaits that ye.
Ye Muses and ye Graces,
Of circling bliss in life
Have glorified—shall I
Return dejected?
Father Bromius!
Thou art the Genius,
Genius of ages,
Thou'rt what inward glow
To Pindar was,
What to the world
Phoebus Apollo.

Woe! Woe! Inward warmth,
Spirit-warmth,
Central-point!
Glow, and vie with
Phœbus Apollo:
Coldly soon
His regal look
Over thee will swiftly glide,—
Envy-struck
Linger o'er the cedar's strength,
Which, to flourish,
Waits him not.

Why doth my lay name thee the last?
Thee, from whom it began,
Thee, in whom it endeth,
Thee, from whom it flows,
Jupiter Pluvius!
Toward thee streams my song,
And a Castalian spring
Runs as a fellow brook,
Runs to the idle ones,
Mortal, happy ones,
Apart from thee,
Who coverest me around,
Jupiter Pluvius!

Not by the elm-tree
Him didst thou visit,
With the pair of doves
Held in his gentle arm,—
With the beauteous garland of roses,—
Caressing him, so blest in his flowers,
Anacreon,
Storm-breathing godhead!
Not in the poplar grove,
Near the Sybaris' strand,
Not in the mountain's
Sun-illumined brow
Didst thou seize him.
The flower-singing,
Honey-breathing,
Sweetly nodding
Theocritus.

When the wheels were rattling.
Wheel on wheel toward the goal,
High arose
The sound of the lash
Of youth with victory glowing,
In the dust rolling,
As from the mountain fall
Showers of stone in the vale—
Then thy soul was brightly glowing, Pindar—
Glowing? Poor heart?
There, on the hill,—
Heavenly might!
But enough glow
Thither to wend,
Where is my cot?