Thither to find the way I know full well!—
Yet can I not enough declare,
What wealth unown’d lies waiting everywhere:
The countryman, who ploughs the land,
Gold-crocks upturneth with the mould;
Nitre he seeks in lime-walls old,
And findeth, in his meagre hand,
Scared, yet rejoiced, rouleaus of gold.
How many a vault upblown must be,
Into what clefts, what shafts, must he
Who doth of hidden treasure know,
Descend, to reach the world below!
In cellars vast, impervious made,
Goblets of gold he sees displayed,
Dishes and plates, row after row;
There beakers, rich with rubies, stand;
And would he use them, close at hand
Well stored the ancient moisture lies;
Yet—would ye him who knoweth, trust?—
The staves long since have turned to dust,
A tartar cask their place supplies!
Not gold alone and jewels rare,
Essence of noblest wines are there,
In night and horror veiled. The wise,
Unwearied here pursues his quest.
To search by day, that were a jest;
’Tis darkness that doth harbor mysteries.
What can the dark avail? Look thou to that!
If aught have worth, it cometh to the light.
Who can detect the rogue at dead of night?
Black are the cows, and gray is every cat.
These pots of heavy gold, if they be there—
Come, drive thy plough, upturn them with thy share!
Take spade and hoe thyself;—dig on—
Great shalt thou be through peasant toil—
A herd of golden calves anon
Themselves shall tear from out the soil;
Then straight, with rapture newly born,
Thyself thou canst, thy sweet-heart wilt adorn.
A sparkling gem, lustrous, of varied dye,
Beauty exalts as well as majesty.
To work, to work! How long wilt linger?
Relax, I pray, such vehement desire!
First let us see the motley, joyous show!
A mind distraught conducts not to the goal.
First must we calmness win through self-control,
Through things above deserve what lies below.
Who seeks for goodness, must himself be good;
Who seeks for joy, must moderate his blood;
Who wine desires, the luscious grape must press;
Who craveth miracles, more faith possess.
So be the interval in gladness spent!
Ash-Wednesday cometh, to our heart’s content.
Meanwhile we’ll solemnize, whate’er befall,
More merrily the joyous Carnival.
That merit and success are link’d together,
This to your fools occurreth never;
Could they appropriate the wise man’s stone,
That, not the wise man, they would prize alone.