The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 01 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 477 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 01.

  The waters rush’d, the waters rose,
    Wetting his naked feet;
  As if his true love’s words were those,
    His heart with longing beat. 
  She sang to him, to him spake she,
    His doom was fix’d, I ween;
  Half drew she him, and half sank he,
    And ne’er again was seen.

[Illustration:  THE FISHERMAN AND THE MERMAID Georg Papperitz]


[Written at night on the Kickelhahn, a hill in the forest of Ilmenau, on the walls of a little hermitage where Goethe composed the last act of his Iphigenie.]

  Hush’d on the hill
  Is the breeze;
  Scarce by the zephyr
  The trees
  Softly are press’d;
  The woodbird’s asleep on the bough. 
  Wait, then, and thou
  Soon wilt find rest.

THE ERL-KING[13] (1782)

  Who rides there so late through the night dark and drear? 
  The father it is, with his infant so dear;
  He holdeth the boy tightly clasp’d in his arm,
  He holdeth him safely, he keepeth him warm.

  “My son, wherefore seek’s thou thy face thus to hide?”
  “Look, father, the Erl-King is close by our side! 
  Dost see not the Erl-King, with crown and with train?”
  “My son, ’tis the mist rising over the plain.”

  “Oh come, thou dear infant! oh come thou with me! 
  Full many a game I will play there with thee;
  On my strand, lovely flowers their blossoms unfold,
  My mother shall grace thee with garments of gold.”

  “My father, my father, and dost thou not hear
  The words that the Erl-King now breathes in mine ear?”
  “Be calm, dearest child, ’tis thy fancy deceives;
  ’Tis the sad wind that sighs through the withering leaves.”

  “Wilt go, then, dear infant, wilt go with me there? 
  My daughters shall tend thee with sisterly care;
  My daughters by night their glad festival keep,
  They’ll dance thee, and rock thee, and sing thee to sleep.”

  “My father, my father, and dost thou not see,
  How the Erl-King his daughters has brought here for me?”
  “My darling, my darling, I see it aright,
  ’Tis the aged gray willows deceiving thy sight.”

  “I love thee, I’m charm’d by thy beauty, dear boy! 
  And if thou’rt unwilling, then force I’ll employ.” 
  “My father, my father, he seizes me fast,
  Full sorely the Erl-King has hurt me at last.”

  The father now gallops, with terror half wild,
  He grasps in his arms the poor shuddering child;
  He reaches his court-yard with toil and with dread,—­
  The child in his arms finds he motionless, dead.

THE GODLIKE[14] (1783)

  Noble be man,
  Helpful and good! 
  For that alone
  Distinguisheth him
  From all the beings
  Unto us known.

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 01 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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