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


[Composed for the merry party already mentioned, on the occasion of the departure for France of the hereditary prince, who was one of the number, and who is especially alluded to in the third verse.]

O'er me,—how I cannot say,—
Heavenly rapture's growing.
Will it help to guide my way
To yon stars all-glowing?
Yet that here I'd sooner be,
To assert I'm able,
Where, with wine and harmony,
I may thump the table.

Wonder not, my dearest friends,
What 'tis gives me pleasure;
For of all that earth e'er lends,
'Tis the sweetest treasure.
Therefore solemnly I swear,
With no reservation,
That maliciously I'll ne'er
Leave my present station.

Now that here we're gathered round,
Chasing cares and slumbers,
Let, methought, the goblet sound
To the bard's glad numbers!
Many a hundred mile away,
Go those we love dearly;
Therefore let us here to-day
Make the glass ring clearly!

Here's His health through whom we live!
I that faith inherit.
To our king the next toast give,
Honour is his merit,
'Gainst each in and outward foe
He's our rock and tower.
Of his maintenance thinks he though,
More that grows his power.

Next to her good health I drink,
Who has stirred my passion;
Of his mistress let each think,
Think in knightly fashion.
If the beauteous maid but see
Whom 'tis I now call so,
Let her smiling nod to me:
"Here's my love's health also."

To those friends,—the two or three,—
Be our next toast given.
In whose presence revel we,
In the silent even,—
Who the gloomy mist so cold
Scatter gently, lightly;
To those friends, then, new or old,
Let the toast ring brightly.

Broader now the stream rolls on,
With its waves more swelling,
While in higher, nobler tone,
Comrades, we are dwelling,—
We who with collected might
Bravely cling together,
Both in fortune's sunshine bright,
And in stormy weather.

Just as we are gathered thus,
Others are collected;
On them, therefore, as on us,
Be Fate's smile directed!
From the spring-head to the sea,
Many a mill's revolving,
And the world's prosperity
Is the task I'm solving.