Who help’d me
Against the Titans’ insolence?
Who rescued me from certain death,
Didst thou not do all this thyself,
My sacred glowing heart?
And glowedst, young and good,
Deceived with grateful thanks
To yonder slumbering one?
I honor thee! and why?
Hast thou e’er lighten’d the sorrows
Of the heavy laden?
Hast thou e’er dried up the tears
[Illustration: PROMETHEUS Titian.]
Of the anguish-stricken?
Was I not fashion’d to be a man
By omnipotent Time,
And by eternal Fate,
Masters of me and thee?
Didst thou e’er fancy
That life I should learn to hate,
And fly to deserts,
Because not all
My blossoming dreams grew ripe?
Here sit I, forming mortals
After my image;
A race resembling me,
To suffer, to weep,
To enjoy, to be glad,
And thee to scorn,
Thou who comest from on high,
Who all woes and sorrows stillest,
Who, for two-fold misery,
Hearts with twofold balsam fillest,
Would this constant strife would cease!
What avails the joy and pain?
To my bosom come again!
THE SEA-VOYAGE (1776)
Many a day and night my bark stood ready
Waiting fav’ring winds, I sat with true friends round me,
Pledging me to patience and to courage,
In the haven.
And they spoke thus with impatience twofold:
“Gladly pray we for thy rapid passage,
Gladly for thy happy voyage; fortune
In the distant world is waiting for thee,
In our arms thou’lt find thy prize, and love too,
And when morning came, arose an uproar
And the sailors’ joyous shouts awoke us;
All was stirring, all was living, moving,
Bent on sailing with the first kind zephyr.
And the sails soon in the breeze are swelling,
And the sun with fiery love invites us;
Fill’d the sails are, clouds on high are floating,
On the shore each friend exulting raises
Songs of hope, in giddy joy expecting
Joy the voyage through, as on the morn of sailing,
And the earliest starry nights so radiant.
But by God-sent changing winds ere long
Sideways from the course he had intended,
And he feigns as though he would surrender,
While he gently striveth to outwit them,
To his goal, e’en when thus press’d, still faithful.
But from out the damp gray distance rising,
Softly now the storm proclaims its advent,
Presseth down each bird upon the waters,
Presseth down the throbbing hearts of mortals.
And it cometh. At its stubborn fury,
Wisely ev’ry sail the seaman striketh;
With the anguish-laden ball are sporting
Wind and water.