The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/Song of the Fates


Ye children of mortals
The deities dread!
The mastery hold they
In hands all eternal,
And use them, unquestioned,
What manner they like.

Let him fear them doubly,
Whom they have uplifted!
On cliffs and on clouds, lo,
Round tables all-golden,
The seats are made ready.
When rises contention,
The guests are hurled downward
With shame and dishonour
To deep depths of midnight,
And vainly await they,
Bound fast in the darkness,
A just condemnation.

But they remain ever
In firmness unshaken
Round tables all-golden.
On stride they from mountain
To mountain far distant:
From out the abysses'
Dark jaws, the breath rises
Of torment-choked Titans
Up tow'rd them, like incense
In light clouds ascending.

The rulers immortal
Avert from whole peoples
Their blessing-fraught glances,
And shun, in the children,
To trace the once cherished,
Still eloquent features
Their ancestors wore.

Thus chanted the Parcæ;
The old man, the banished,
In gloomy vault lying.
Their song overheareth,
Sons, grandsons rememb'reth,
And shaketh his head.