Gray is, young friend, all theory:
And green of life the golden tree.
I swear it seemeth like a dream to me.
May I some future time repeat my visit,
To hear on what your wisdom grounds your views?
Command my humble service when you choose.
Ere I retire, one boon I must solicit:
Here is my album; do not, Sir, deny
This token of your favor!
[He writes and returns the book.]
ERITIS SICUT DEUS, SCIENTES BONUM ET MALUM
[He reverently closes the book and retires.]
Let but this ancient proverb be your rule,
My cousin follow still, the wily snake,
And with your likeness to the gods, poor fool,
Ere long be sure your poor sick heart will quake!
’Tis thine our course to steer.
The little world, and then the great we’ll view.
With what delight, what profit too,
Thou’lt revel through thy gay career!
Despite my length of beard I need
The easy manners that insure success;
Th’ attempt I fear can ne’er succeed;
To mingle in the world I want address;
I still have an embarrass’d air, and then
I feel myself so small with other men.
Time, my good friend, will all that’s needful
Be only self-possessed, and thou hast learn’d to live.
But how are we to start, I pray?
Steeds, servants, carriage, where are they?
We’ve but to spread this mantle wide,
’Twill serve whereon through air to ride;
No heavy baggage need you take,
When we our bold excursion make.
A little gas, which I will soon prepare,
Lifts us from earth; aloft through air,
Light-laden, we shall swiftly steer;—
I wish you joy of your new life-career.
AUERBACH’S CELLAR IN LEIPZIG
A Drinking Party
No drinking? Naught a laugh to raise?
None of your gloomy looks, I pray!
You, who so bright were wont to blaze,
Are dull as wetted straw today.